I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was going to tone my blog posting down for the rest of the year, as I usually do around the last week of each year. But I came across a blogger that had written a couple of recent blog posts, one about how he had recently added hundreds of blog subscribers, and another about how he had added hundreds of Twitter followers. The main thrust of his advice was to get more subscribers by commenting on highly-trafficked blogs. And he says you get more Twitter followers by following Twitter users with a lot of followers, and replying to them.
Is he wrong? I would say his methods would work, at least in the short-term. But the idea that you 'have to target the influencers' is SO 2005.
Here is what I did; Instead of targeting 'influencers', I targeted smart people. I could care less if they had 2 readers, or 20 when I found their blog. I started reading them because they were smart, and made me smarter for having read them. They are people that write compelling content, that create value for others, and that are motivated by being part of a larger community than themselves, not in drawing attention to themselves. And then I tell you to go read them as well.
This is how you gain subscribers and Twitter followers; you follow people smarter than you are, and you point other people toward these smart people. That is it. These people make YOU smarter, which means you create more VALUABLE content for your blog's subscribers. When you point to the smart work that these people create, that creates value for your Twitter followers.
And here's how my blog's subscribers have grown by following this method:
And this is how my Twitter followers have grown over the past 3 months:
Why? I think because in both cases, I am creating valuable content and pointing readers/followers toward valuable content that others have created. And as I take in more of this smart content, it improves the quality of the content *I* create. I don't care if the content I find is coming from an 'A-Lister', if I think it's smart, I share it.
Case in point, I first discovered Beth Harte and Amber Naslund (AmberCadabra) way back in I think May. Both had just launched their blogs around this time, and what struck me in both cases was how polished their writing was. I remember thinking that both Amber and Beth 'looked' like they had been blogging for years, not days. They literally hit the ground running. I immediately started linking to their content here, and tweeting it on Twitter. At the time, they were both very new to the blogosphere. But I *knew* that as smart as their writing was, that it was only a matter of time before they both were well known. Case in point, check out how many Twitter followers Amber and Beth have, and note that Amber already has more followers than I do, and Beth could pass me soon as well.
This is why I would advise you to please not get too caught up in following people on Twitter or reading their blogs simply based on their traffic/followers. The smartest ideas often come from the edges, while the spotlight is often in the middle. The A-List does indeed provide great value, and you should definitely pay attention to the 'experts' in this space. But at best that should be your STARTING point, not the finish line.
The next Jason Falls or Shannon Paul or even Chris Brogan just launched their blog, and just joined Twitter. The quicker you find them, the smarter you will be.
PS: If we don't talk again before Christmas (or New Year's even), please have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!