David King is writing a series of posts called Inviting Participation. King talks about Passive and Active Invitations and later posts will go into more detail and present ways to use these ideas.
I found my way to his blog in a typical fashion - by following links.
I had been looking at my 'Links Page' at Firemind and thinking about cleaning out the dead blogs. One of the dead blogs (Bacon and Eh's) had a vibrant community of readers who sometimes turned the comments into a mini forum. I visited the blog often and ended up in the blog's blogroll. I still get the occasional referral from there.
I visited the blog and wasn't surprised that nothing had changed. I decided to browse the blogroll and found myself reading posts in a blog called Bloghorrea. Nothing really caught my attention until I saw this video:
I followed the links from the video to King's blog and saw a new post (the one mentioned above) talking about the video. I went "whoa" because I realized I had been seeing and accepting passive invitations.
Let's look at the invitations:
- The link to Bacon and Eh's on my links page worked and was easy to find.
- Bacon and Eh's hasn't been deleted and the blogroll still works.
- Bloghorrea is browse-able and it provided an interesting video (content).
- David King provided an interesting video with links to his blog.
Each step provided easy access or interesting content or both. By being accessible they weren't difficult to check out. By being interesting they encouraged further exploration.
I have been reading and thinking a lot about ways to attract readers. People often think blog promotion is all active and consists of linking, commenting, and listing a blog with as many services as possible. Active promotion is fine but it needs to be mixed with writing good content and making the blog accessible. No one wants to read trash or put up with bad design.
Passive invitations are subtle but they can be effective. I'll write this post and submit it to an aggregator. I'll post King's music video on 2 Lazy 4 Video with a link to this post. I'll leave active invitations alone for a while... at least until I read King's post on the subject.