#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion

What Are Linkups All About? Nicole @ FYFA To The Rescue! #NewBloggers 101, Post number 6: What You Have To Know Before Linking Up

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:

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2018 (16)

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!

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Aimee (Aimee, Always)
Guest

Gah, another awesome post, and I adore Nicole! I totally agree with #3. With linkups, there are so many lovely participants, so there are bound to be a handful of similar posts, especially if the topic for that month/week/etc is pretty narrowed down. It’s hard to stand out! I love seeing TTTs with twists to the topics, and it’s 100% important to let your personality shine through–there’s nothing more unique than being yourself. <3

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I agree that those posts with twists are super fun! I love it when I go into a TTT and get a surprise! 🙂

JJ @ This Dark Material
Guest

Thank you Nicole and Evelina! I also love Kimberly’s Sunday Post link-up and I’ve discovered a lot of great, new-to-me bloggers that way. And there are a few other link-ups it would be fun to participate in but I’d hate to get overwhelmed with memes. Your suggestion of visiting and commenting without linking up is a great one: I think I’ll try it the next time I see a meme I’m interested in before I start posting myself 🙂

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

Yeah, you definitely don’t want to get yourself overwhelmed with memes, but a great way to see if you’d be interested in participating is by checking out posts that are linked up. 🙂

Wendy @ Falconer's Library
Guest

Terrific advice, as I’d expect considering the source! Yes, linkups are definitely a good way to find your people. Especially if, like me, you’re not super organized about following blogs. Regularly linking up and/or visiting blogs that regularly link up is a great way to stay connected. I also like visiting a bunch of new-to-me blogs and seeing what’s out there. Sometimes it’s immediately obvious that a blog is not for me, but other times you will really connect with someone new.

Sophie Eloy
Guest

Another very interesting topic! First time I saw linkup I was WTH??? Now I’m participating in Kimberly’s Sunday post Shana’s top 5 Tuesday, First line Friday and WWW!!! All your advices are spot on!

Rosie Amber
Guest

I’ve joined the discussion challenge for the first time this year. I’ve had fun visiting lots of the bloggers on the link ups. It is a great way to meet new people. I can’t commit to visit all the link-ups but I make time for some each week.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

That’s totally the way to do it. If you visit a few each week, you’ll be expanding your blogging circle, and there’s never anything bad about that!

Atheinne
Guest

Thank you for these tips! To be honest, I hadn’t realised that I was supposed to visit the link ups post of other bloggers (now i feel foolish!). But my eyes now see the light and I’d gladly visit them! I make use of the email notifications for reading blog posts since i still get access to them even when offline.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

That’s why we came up with the idea for this post—a lot of people just don’t realize what they should do. Now, remember, there are never any hard and fast “rules.” You aren’t REQUIRED to comment on other people’s posts, but it’s generally a polite thing to do, and it will help you get the most out of those link-ups!

Claire
Guest

Thank you for sharing these tips! When I first started blogging, I remember seeing some Top Ten Tuesdays, wondering what they were, finally clicking a link one day, and being confused by the list of links! I think this could be a great help, especially for new bloggers. I found the section on how to make your post stand out particularly insightful. I’ve always tried to make my blog graphics the best I can, but I’ve never thought about creating a collage for a header.

claire @ clairefy

Charvi
Guest

Thank you for this post! I was only vaguely aware of linkups and a huge thanks for the list of memes! I’ll have fun looking through them and joining a couple!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

There are certainly lots to choose from!! Glad this post was helpful!

Aj @ Read All The Things!
Guest

I love this post! Linkups are one of my favorite things about blogging. I’ve discovered amazing blogs through linkups. I always try to click on as many links as I can. My favorites are The Sunday Post, Stacking the Shelves, Top Ten Tuesday, and Nicole’s Discussion Challenge and Wrap-up Round-Up.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I agree that it’s great to find new bloggers through link-ups!

Laura Thomas
Guest

Thanks for having Nicole share on your blog today, Evelina. And thanks for a tips and fun post, Nicole. I enjoy doing link ups and try to visit as many as I can when participating. I also always comment back. I love meeting new fellow bloggers and book lovers!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I think that really participating and getting involved in a link-up is what makes it fun!

Bee @ Quite The Novel Idea
Guest

I’m trying to participate more in link-ups these days. I just started with the Discussion challenge last month and i occasionally do Top Ten Tuesday as well as Waiting on Wednesday regularly. I’m not really aware of more challenges this year so I should look those up!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

There are LOTS of memes out there. It can be fun to participate in a bunch, but sometimes you have to pick and choose so you don’t get overwhelmed!

Jenn
Guest

Another great resource! Thanks Nicole for providing such great information about link-ups! Also, thanks for the link to the Book Blogger Meme Directory. It will definitely be useful when I’m looking for content! 🙂

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

I’m really glad this was helpful for you!

Stephanie Jane
Guest

Linkups are a great way for me to discover new-to-me blogs. There’s often a whole page full to start visiting – and then that’s the whole day gone!!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

Yeah, you could easily spend hours on one link-up! It can be fun—but overwhelming sometimes too, so it’s great to just make yourself a goal of visiting a certain number of posts.

Andreea
Guest

Yaay, another post in this series! And it’s a great one!
I always try to comment on everyone who linked up before me, but also return the next day and comment some more on people who got there after me. ☺

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

That’s a great way to do it, if you have the time! The more you participate, the more you’ll get out of a link-up.

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[…] I’m featured as a guest poster over at Avalinah’s Books this week for her #NewBloggers101 series. Make sure you head over there to read my advice: What Are Linkups All About? […]

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

Thanks so much for hosting me, Avalinah!!!

Jen
Guest
This is such a fabulous post! And I love that it features common courtesy. I always try my hardest to go and comment on as many other posts, after I link up. And I love when other people do that too. For me, that’s such a huge part of participating in link ups, and it’s a great way to make new friends! And YES to visiting the hosts post. I feel that that gets forgotten sometimes, but we wouldn’t get to do these fun Link-ups without them, so again, common courtesy for the win! Wonderful post Nicole and thank you… Read more »
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

Yeah, I think a lot of people just link-up and leave. I know sometimes people are busy and that’s all you can manage, but if that’s your strategy EVERY time, you’re not getting much out of that link-up.

Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books
Guest
This is such a brilliant post, I love it. I used to participate in Link-Ups I don’t anymore but I really love how these things work. They’re fun to do, there are so many interesting themes and it’s always amazin to meet so many people this way. <3 I love that you mentioned here how it's important to not just leave your link there and leave. This is just not fun, the best part of it all is to stop by other blogs and see what they did with the theme, read their blog posts, comment, comment back and have… Read more »
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Guest

Exactly! If you want to actually make the link-up an enjoyable experience, you need to truly participate. Otherwise, it’s just a place to stick a link and leave. Why bother?

Dani Eide
Guest

I love link ups! It’s such a great way to meet new bloggers and if you can come up with a relatable twist it makes posting even more fun! Sometimes I have to post and run but what I like is the list is still there and I can go back and blog hop when I have more time later in the week… ♥️

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity
Guest
Love this post because link up ettitquette is hard. There was definitely no guidance for getting started it’s all just muddling through and thinking about what would be nice. I try and comment on a couple of posts in every link up (when I can) but sometimes you can’t at the time. If that’s the case I’ll try and got back another day and comment on the posts around my link (or any which sound cool). I think it’s easy to think you have to link up weekly but doing what you want when you want works better. Especially for… Read more »
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
Guest

So many great tips here. I know I need to get better about coming back to the linkups I participate in after my initial visit and looking at posts that were added after I visited the first time.

Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest
That’s such a great post!!! I think linkups can be a great opportunity to check out other blogs and interact with other participants of a meme 🙂 I always try to visit and comment on as many blogs as I can when I participate in T5W, because it’s great to see what everyone else has done with the topic AND it makes people more likely to check out your post as well 🙂 I do try to make a spin on the topic or write a bit more about it e.g. if the topic is ‘favorite villains’ I’d maybe include… Read more »
Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest
Nice post Evelina and Nicole 🙂 I love doing memes and currently, I am doing two – TTT and STS. While I try to write a post every week for TTT, for STS I am now posting on alternate Saturdays. I agree with all of your above points, Nicole. It is so important to participate. Though I agree it is quite overwhelming at times especially TTT which mostly has over 200 entries. It is quite impossible for me to go and comment on each of the posts. But I try to comment on as much as possible and always return… Read more »
Fanna
Guest
This post is super helpful and amazing! Nicole is such an inspiration with the challenges she hosts and manages to be super interactive as well. I think I’m only part of the discussion challenge and though I don’t post a lot of discussions myself, I TRY to kinda be active around the blogosphere and what better way than spreading some love through the linked discussions. Commenting back is something I try my best to do but sometimes I kinda lag there and ugh, I get annoyed with myself. BUT I tell myself it’s a new day and I’ll try to… Read more »
Janine
Guest

I love a link up – especially when commenting back happens and real conversations happen!

Great tips!

Cee Arr
Guest
Awesome-sauce advice Nicole! *waves to Evelina to avoid her feeling left out* XD I try to visit as many posts as I can on link-ups, but some months/weeks (depending on the link-up) are just waaaay too hectic to be able to do that much! I usually make sure to go by the rules (y’know, some will say ‘comment on at least two posts plus the host’s’) and then if I’ve got a little more time I’ll check out some of the others! 🙂 I think it’s important to remember not to sign up to too many memes or link-ups as… Read more »
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[…] If you are unfamiliar with “linking up,” be sure to check out Nicole’s post over at Feed Your Fiction Addiction! She wrote a guest post for AvalinahsBooks about linking up, what they are, and how great they can be for becoming participated with other bloggers. Be sure to check out the post a What Are Linkups All About? […]

Gayathri
Guest

I love participating in a linkup these days because they save me a lot of time thinking on what to post. They act as prompts and a great place to meet new blog friends.

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[…] book smugglers| What are linkups all about (Evelina @ […]

Karla Strand
Guest

Really helpful! I used to have a travel blog and we had similar communities, so I am happy to find something similar for book blogging. Thanks!