Welcome to Part 7 of #NewBloggers 101, and this time we will be talking about that thing we are all curious about… Linkups. And we have an incredibly experienced blogger today to help us get our footing – welcome Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction! So one more thing before I relinquish the stage today – if you want to find the other #NewBloggers 101 posts, just expand this list:
- 09.03. Bookstagram Myth: Props Are Expensive? Pamela @ Reverie Society Educates! (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 02.03. What Are Linkups All About? Nicole @ FYFA To The Rescue! (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 23.02. So you want to move from Blogger to (free) WordPress? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 16.02. What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Social Media And Networking (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 09.02. What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Writing And Scheduling Posts (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 02.02. What Tools Can Help Me Be An Organized Blogger? Blogging Calendars (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 25.01. How Do I Write A Proper Review Policy? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 19.01. Book Blogger Etiquette: How To Get Comments? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion)
- 10.01. How Do I Make A Good Edelweiss Or NetGalley Profile? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion, Edelweiss, NetGalley)
- 05.01. When Should I Start Requesting ARCs? (#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion, Edelweiss, NetGalley)
First of all, thanks to Evelina for inviting me to help out with the #NewBloggers 101 series. I think these posts have all been incredibly informative (and fun!) and I hope mine is too.
So, you’ve found a link-up that you think sounds fantastic, but you’re not sure what’s expected of you once you link up. Should you just post a link and run? (Short answer: No!) Do you have to participate every week? (Short answer: No!) Can you switch the topic up a little? (Short answer: Yes! Well, usually) How can you get the most out of this link-up deal? How can you make your posts stand out?
Over on my blog I run the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up and co-host the Book Blog Discussion Challenge. I created both of these as fun ways for book bloggers to share our posts with each other and to help build up a blogging community, and they’ve been a huge success. (Especially the Discussion Challenge—the bloggers who participate in it regularly all know each other well and interact a lot outside of the challenge, which has been one of my goals!)
Here are a few of my tips on how to make the experience of participating in memes or other linkups a positive one.
Tip #1: Really Participate!
If there’s one piece of advice I’d give about a link-up or meme, it’s that you shouldn’t just post your link and walk away. I mean sure, you’ve gotten your post out there, but you’re not being an active participant, and you won’t really get much out of the experience.
Instead, post your link and then interact. Visit and comment on as many other posts in the link-up as you can. Don’t worry, I’m not saying that you have to visit every single one. I’m not expecting you to pull all-nighters so you can read and comment on every one of the over 100 discussions listed in the January Discussion Challenge link-up. (I actually >do comment on them all, but I host the challenge, and it’s a personal goal for me.) But give yourself a reasonable goal and visit as many as you possibly can. One thing I try to do is visit familiar blogs each time I link up, but then also throw in a few blogs that I’ve never (or rarely) interacted with. Try to broaden your blogging circle a bit—nothing but good can come of it!
Especially try to visit (and comment on) the host’s post, if at all possible. Every week, when I link up my Sunday Post, I make sure to read and comment on Kimberly’s post (on Caffeinated Book Reviewer – here is the meme) as well. After all, she puts work into creating great linkups for us—she deserves at least a comment in return.
Will any comment do? Anything’s better than nothing, but try your best to leave meaningful comments on the post. If all you say is “Great post!” and then leave a link to your blog, more often than not, the blogger is just going to ignore you. Surely you can find something specific to say about the post, even if it’s just, “I haven’t heard of any of the books you mentioned here, but I love the cover for such-and-such.” It shows you didn’t just hop from blog to blog and copy and paste your standard “Great post!” everywhere. (If you were tempted to do that, don’t. No, really. Don’t.)
Tip #2: Comment Back
If someone comments on your link-up post, it’s common courtesy to return the favor. If you have time, consider even commenting on a different post on that commenter’s blog as well. Not only will this show the other blogger that you paid attention and you care, it will help you build relationships within the blogging community that go beyond that one post.
Again, I know time is a factor here, and we can’t always be perfect about commenting back, but if your goal in linking up is getting more involved in the blogging community, this is the #1 way to do it. Go on, make friends. You know you want to!
Tip #3: Make Your Post Unique
Now let’s get a little more into the nitty-gritty of actually writing that meme, challenge or link-up post. One common complaint (especially for memes) is that there are a hundred blog posts that are all practically the same. Let’s take Top Ten Tuesday as an example: If the topic is Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018, you might find the same books featured over and over again. And if every post is just a list of books or a picture of ten covers, it might get a little boring. How can you make yours stand out?
Here are a couple of ideas for linkups:
Come up with a twist on the topic. Most of the time, the host of a meme or challenge is totally fine with you coming up with your own clever twist on the original topic. (If they specifically ask you not to in their rules, of course you should respect their wishes.) Some of my favorite TTT posts to read have been a fun twist on the original topic to make it more unique. AJ @ Read All the Things does this sometimes. Here’s an example of one that I particularly loved: Foods I’d Eat If I Was Fictional.
Create interesting graphics. This is usually my go-to for my TTT posts. I still include pics of those ten books, but I put them into a more interesting format. If you take a quick glance at my list of TTT posts, you’ll see that I usually use a collage-type format for displaying the books (and use that pic as my featured image). If it’s not a list of books, I often still try to include some type of graphics to spice it up a little.
Let your personality shine through! Sure, it’s a meme post, but if your unique voice comes through when you describe your top ten list (or whatever else it is), people will want to read on!
Other Miscellaneous Tips:
- Do you have to participate every week (or month)? Nope! Most memes are pretty flexible. If there’s a topic you’re not that interested in, skip that week. Schedule too full? Skip that week. If you’re concerned about losing blogger connections you’ve made by skipping too often, then feel free to still participate by visiting the link-up and commenting on other people’s posts!
- You’ve got a great idea for a meme/challenge/link-up. How can you create your own? I considered writing some advice on that here, but I already wrote a whole guest post on Running a Successful Meme or Challenge over at 125 Pages in 2016, and honestly, I don’t think much of my advice has changed since I wrote it. If you guys are interested in a more in-depth post on the technicalities and mechanics of creating linkups (link-up tools, etc.), let us know in the comments!
Looking for Linkups to Join?
Bookshelf Fantasies has a handy dandy Book Blog Meme Directory that lists just about every meme under the sun!
That about sums it up! Have you been participating in memes or other linkups? Has the experience been a positive one? Any other questions you really wish we’d addressed here? Let us know!