Yesterday, Michael Martine of Remarkablogger posted the concept of using a 'blog pack' to enhance the promotion of your site. A blog pack is a group of bloggers who set up an 'alliance' to cross promote each others sites by way of comments, links, stumbles, etc. in order to:
- Get established
- Build personal networks
- Increase traffic
- Increase RSS subscribers
- Get organic backlinks
At the time I commented that as bloggers we tend to do this anyway; we gravitate towards those with similar interests and, as we leave comments or hook up on social networking sites, develop a relationship and a mutual respect which invariably leads to interlinking and cross promotion. The blog pack is a way of formalising this relationship.
There is the possibility that some people might take offence at the suggestion of being 'obliged' to promote others and, as such, we would have to be careful when suggesting the idea in case we undo any good that our existing online relationships provide.
Chris Garrett has set up a blog pack over at the Authority Bloggers forum which has attracted some considerable interest. Each member should follow the others on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feeds of each blog involved and the interact by way of comments and cross promotion. While this is great idea in principle I can see some potential pitfalls:
- the pack may be too large and unwieldy
- being an unfocused group it may lead to disinterest
- the risk of being accused of gaming the system
Michael argues that a group of like minded bloggers creating a pack is just a "sped-up version of what happens naturally" and so is networked growth rather than gaming but, what about a group created especially for this purpose such as that at Authority Bloggers? Is such a group at risk of being banned by StumbleUpon for gaming the system as they continue to crack down on abuse of the system, for example?
If a blog pack gets too unweildy then maybe - as Chris suggested to me - it could be sub-divided. This may also help with the issue of the members being an unfocused group. Dividing members into smaller, related sections based on blog topics etc. would help to restore some relevance.
I had originally opted in but the concerns listed above have made me rethink and withdraw (if you are an AB Blog Pack member feel free to unsubscribe) especially as I have been making an effort to streamline my RSS feeds and connections.
If nothing else this is an interesting social experiment and it will be interesting to see where it leads.
Do groups of bloggers need to formalise their cross promotion strategies or is the natural development of relationships enough? Would you be offended by being asked to participate by a contact? Is creating an artificial blog pack gaming the system?
UPDATE: Chris has updated the pack instructions with what I consider to be a far more sensible, and workable set of guidelines including: "Audition, do not think everyone expects permanent residency in your feed reader! Same with Twitter, keep those who gel, lose those who do not".
Image by 'skirkybaby'.