Don’t Write For the A-List

One of the topics of conversation that pops up every so often is the “A-List”. There are people who want to be in this exclusive club, people who envy them, people who love or hate them (without knowing them). I have seen many complaints this week alleging that the A-List only link to each other. Why this obsession?

Who are the A-List anyway? I am not even sure what the strict definition is. Is it the Technorati Top 100? Or is there some hidden committee somewhere with secret handshakes and rituals that decides?

Whoever they are, it seems these are the people who get a lot of traffic to their blogs. I’m convinced though it is not the traffic per se that people get all worked up about. I think it is the need for “fame” that gets bloggers panties in a bunch.

I am not knocking bloggers for wanting to be famous. Personally I would rather have a popular blog and be personally relatively unknown, but hey whatever floats your boat. What I do take objection to is when people write posts specifically and only to get an A-List bloggers attention. (This is why in this post I will not mention any bloggers by name, heh). This says to me that they would rather ignore their real audience to achieve an audience of one.

It might well be a technique that works, I expect it does to an extent. Once you have that bloggers attention though, then what? They might comment or link, yes. Great stuff if they do. But what will your main audience think of you? And if you have put all your effort into building a pitch to one A-Lister, will your archives have enough meat that your new found friend will want to subscribe?

Here’s a better idea. Get attention by doing good work. Attract A-Listers to link to you as a side-effect of having a great blog and something interesting to say. Remember todays A-Lister could be tomorrows “remember him?”, and they all started out somewhere. The audience you are ignoring could be tomorrows A-List.

If you want to be famous online then it is no different to getting famous offline, do something to get noticed. You just have to be a big enough self publicist and eventually you will get there. Be prepared though if all you have to offer is attention-seeking then you will soon drop out of the spotlight. A lot of the top blogs maintain their position because they offer something real and valuable every day. Attention whoring would only get you so far.

For me, success in this game isn’t so much about making some list but having the best blog or blogs you possibly can and really serving the audience you identified very well. I don’t know for a fact but I have to believe it is so much more satisfying than chasing after attention. And wouldn’t it be so much nicer if you did get that attention for doing something worthwhile?

9 thoughts on “Don’t Write For the A-List

  1. Though I can’t really verify that this is the “original” source of the term, they’ve done nothing but comfirm the c-list bloggers fear and loathing by posting their very own version of the list at Blogebrity (please note I am on the c-list, but I do not care a whit):

  2. Attention whore? That’s something to think about. Could that be why I have 7 kids? It usually does make people do a double take? Hhmm? It could be the reason why I have soooo many blogs? Then again, it may just be that after 14 years of Barney the Dinosaur and Sesame Street, my brain was on hiatus and it needs some exercise.

    Give me some time to mull this over, I’ll get back to you…

  3. doh!

    oh god yes, cant help myself… though only online, offline im pretty normal..

  4. AW?

    Sounds likea friend of mines initials?

    I think you can read all the tips in the world and still suck, it’s a personality thing i think…

    If you do suck, suck less by mimicking those that dont – thats how i do it with a whole bunch of things (web design, presentations, personal hygeine hehe…. kidding! kidding!)

  5. My name is Ahmed, I’m an attention whore and I suck…

    hmmmm. didnt turn out like i thought it would. but i really am bad at this whole link-baiting and attention-seeking thing. Nick, any pointers? I hear that you’re one of the best AW’s around (hey, it’s your reputation, don’t blame for it)

  6. Hah, Nick, tell us something we don’t know.

    As Ahmed says, it’s not the attention grabbing I object to, it’s doing that at the exclusion of all else that I don’t like. After a while “me me look at me over here me me me” just gets annoying!

  7. this would be so much more fun if we could call out the names of attention-whores and make fun of them.

    (hmmm…must be the coffee getting to my head…)

    While in the long run substance wins over flash (attention-seeking), you would still need to attract attention to your work in the first place. And going after A-listers isn’t necessarily a bad strategy – it only falls flat if that is all that you do.

    Provide something valuable to your main audience everyday, but until you’re on the A-list yourself (i.e. until you’re famous enough that people want your attention), don’t feel ashamed about being an attention-whore.

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