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How To Get An Instalanche

Many have pondered how one receives the blogging equivalent of "manna from heaven"; the Instalanche. For the most part the answers are available to you just need to know where to look and the right questions to ask. I've attempted to gather the collective wisdom of those who track the mystical inner workings of InstaPundit. Use this knowledge wisely and for the good of humanity and may you one day know the glory of the Instalanche.

So You Want A Instalanche?

Many a fine blogger has managed to thrive without a link from InstaPundit. This is something to keep in mind. Keep your expectations low and you can't be disappointed, but you can be pleasantly surprised.

But I Really Want A Instalanche?

OK, you asked for it. Here is the state of the collective wisdom.

  • Don't bother sending an announcement that your blog exists - The exception to this rule would be if you are already famous in some other field and are new to blogging, like Greg Esterbrook, Ann Coulter, Bill Maher, etc. or you are an already established blogger who is moving.
  • Read InstaPundit for a while before submitting anything - I've seen plenty of self pity about how various sites have yet to be noticed when their content by and large does not cover topics frequently addressed at InstaPundit or that are in the news.
  • Be short and to the point - Length does not necessarily equal quality.
  • Submit judiciously - Resist the urge to send daily updates on your blog progress.
  • Hit a home run your first time up to the plate - Think before sending your first link (more on the mechanics of this later). Contrary to what you may have been lead to believe InstaPundit actually links to more new bloggers than any of the other major sites. If you are going to the trouble of highlighting one of your posts make sure it is well written and would be of interest to Glenn and his readers.
  • Don't get discouraged - The "hit it out of the park the first time" approach seems to work pretty well based on my extremely limited research, but it's not the only way. If you've been haphazardly firing off links consider taking a more serious and methodical approach. Don't increase the frequency of your submissions. Make your second (or whatever number you are up to) submission even better than the first. Establish a reputation for quality right out of the gate.
  • Consider the possibility that you will be "found" - If you participate in well read link listings or get mentions occasionally on sites that get linked fairly regularly at InstaPundit consider using the "minor league" approach. The idea is that you concentrate on getting linked on sites that are regular stops for Glenn and get noticed by him in his blog surfing. This strategy works very well as many surprised recipients of Instalanches can attest.
  • Don't take it personally if you don't get a reply or a link - Imagine the volume of mail that Glenn receives. If something grabs his attention he will probably link it, otherwise it's on the next message.

What Is An Instalanche Worthy Topic?

Some things you will have to figure out for yourself.

The Mechanics Of Submission

E-mail is the only option available for directly submitting a post for consideration at InstaPundit. I've gathered a compendium of ideas on the etiquette of how best to contact the top bloggers via e-mail. Everyone has different preferences, but the format detailed below is the closest to a universally acceptable e-mail format I could come up with.

  1. Send your message in Plain Text
  2. Send the post title
  3. Send the permalink - If you do not know what a permalink is - find out. BlogSpot users do an Archive rebuild and test the permalink yourself prior to submitting it to anyone.
  4. Sign the message - Include your blogging name in a signature line - Don't expect the world to know you blog under a pseudonym if you don't sign messages that way.
  5. Include the text of the post below your signature - Some big time bloggers prefer this, others do not.

Here's an example of how you could send a notice about this post:

I've got an article on how to get linked at InstaPundit that you may be interested in.

Title: How To Get An Instalanche
Permalink: http://wizbangblog.com/archives/000787.php

Kevin Aylward

Many have pondered how one receives the blogging equivalent of "manna from heaven"; the Instalanche. For the most part the answers are available to you just need to know where to look and the right questions to ask [...]

Notice that the post excerpt is nicely set off from the short message. This allows those who want to read the post via e-mail to do so, and those who value short messages (with permalinks only) to not have to wade through the full text of the post.

Is That The Only Way To Get An Instalanche?

No. I'm just presenting you with an approach gleaned from many sources.

Aren't There Any Shortcuts?

Here are some of the less serious tips:

  • Get a cool last name like Kaus, Postrel, Drezner, or Chafetz
  • Bash Frank J. - Sounds easy, but everyone's doing it so you may have a lot of competition here.
  • The riskier strategy is to bash Glenn, but the market is pretty crowded there as well.
  • Talk about nanotechnology or any of the things mentioned here.
  • Did I mention that is doesn't hurt to have a cool last name like Volokh, Doctorow, Yourish, or Lessig?
  • But my last name is Smith, what should I do? - Get a nickname.

Update: Don't forget to say thanks if you get a link via an e-mail.

Update 2:: This applies to getting noticed by any of the "big time bloggers" as Glenn notes. He also comments on the stickiness of the Instalanche traffic, as others in the trackbacks here have done. Kathy's comment is especially noteworthy in regards to the "on topic" concept at InstaPundit, which Glenn addresses as well.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How To Get An Instalanche:

» Technically Speaking linked with Curious about Instalanche-shun?

» resurrectionsong linked with Getting the Instalanche

» Practical Penumbra linked with Wednesday Wanderings

» The SmarterCop linked with Are You Ready For an Instalanche?

» Amish Tech Support linked with How to get an Instalanche


» The World Around You linked with How To Get Noticed By Glenn Reynolds

» Electric Venom linked with The Letter Of The Day Is G

» Mind of Mog linked with Beware The Instalanche

» Velociworld linked with INSTALANCHE

» Modulator linked with It May Make Your Day

» Freedom Lives linked with Sucking up

» Daniel W. Drezner linked with More blogging advice

» The American Mind linked with Instalanche Advice

» blogoSFERICS linked with The Kevin Collective

» Andrew Olmsted linked with On Instalanches

» resurrectionsong linked with Even Better Advice for Blogs

» The Everlasting Phelps linked with Surviving the Instalanche

» Say Uncle linked with heh™ indeed™ read the whole thing™

» Gut Rumbles linked with the instalanche

» Peaktalk linked with INSTANT TRAFFIC

» Backcountry Conservative linked with Stir the Blog Pot

» Calblog linked with The Instalanche, cont.

» dawnolsen.com linked with Instalanches and Discarded Douches

» Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet) linked with Negative Instalanche

» The Blog Herald linked with The power of few

» The SmarterCop linked with THURSDAY'S COMPENDIUM

» The SmarterCop linked with ARE YOU READY FOR AN INSTALANCHE?

» MarketingWonk linked with Good Advice for Getting Blog Links

» » LittleThinkTank Elsewhere « linked with Get Linked

» Navigating Business with Technology linked with Instalanche

» Backcountry Conservative linked with My First Instalanche

» The Politburo Diktat linked with Revolution - Beyond Instalanche

» The Politburo Diktat linked with Revolution - Beyond Instalanche

» GS-7 linked with Link badge

» GS-7 linked with Link badge

» The Trommetter Times linked with Instalanche

» Thief's Den linked with Not Quite Clear On The Concept

» TacJammer linked with You Know...

» Giant's Randomness linked with Instalanche

» Agile Business Navigator linked with Instalanche

» Michelle Malkin linked with END-OF-THE-YEAR LISTMANIA!

» You'll Always Find a Fifth linked with NYC & Guns (2)

» rexblog linked with Alanched

» The Raving Atheist linked with Carnival Time at TRA

» MadMan's LinksMatic linked with How to get an instalanche

» Attaboy linked with Getting Buried in Links

» Soccer Dad linked with The washington post gets it.

» Resurgemus dot com linked with The end of the Line

Comments (31)

How the heck do you submit ... (Below threshold)

How the heck do you submit something? Other than posting something on your own site and asking for the almighty himself to find your post?

Duh...found the email on hi... (Below threshold)

Duh...found the email on his site.

If you have the timing luck... (Below threshold)

If you have the timing luck to have done something that goes off in a slightly different direction or provides extra detail on a subject he's just blogged, sending him a mail on it will often get you a link.

I've never had the nerve to... (Below threshold)

I've never had the nerve to submit a link to anyone, let alone Instapundit. My shy wallflower personality infects even my internet persona! :)

But such is life....

See Ith, I have told you no... (Below threshold)

See Ith, I have told you not to be so shy about it.

Jay, that's like telling th... (Below threshold)

Jay, that's like telling the rain not to fall down :)

If you truly are a high pri... (Below threshold)

If you truly are a high priest of the Axis of Naughty, I demand you send down Instalanches rto all your loyal followers.

Perhaps you are a fraud? This post has not been Instalanched, not even once! What type of weak magic are you trying to peddle here, Kevin?

Heh.Indeed.... (Below threshold)



Uh oh. I don't read Instap... (Below threshold)

Uh oh. I don't read Instapundit. Does that make me a bad blogger?

Folks, he's giving good adv... (Below threshold)

Folks, he's giving good advice. I was blogging for less than a month when Glenn linked to one of my Frank J insults. From 50 a day to over 600, and it keeps up for awhile too.

Plain ol' unexpected and unlooked for luck.

Beware bandwidth limitation... (Below threshold)

Beware bandwidth limitations when you get linked by a high traffic blog. I had something of a photo essay (on my now defunct blog) that was linked to by Atrios one day. The hits blew past my 100Mb per day limit in no time. If all you deal in is text then you probably have no worries but if you have lots of graphics and/or photos then consider yourself forewarned.

But Jay, Hehs and Indeeds ... (Below threshold)

But Jay, Hehs and Indeeds are few and far between on Mr Pundit's site these days. Hmm. Interesting.

Congrads on the an Instalan... (Below threshold)
The Agnostic:

Congrads on the an Instalanche. Without it the advice seemed so...

Yeti,Glenn posted to... (Below threshold)

Glenn posted to this today, I guess Kevin know what he is talking about.

Sorry about the extra trackbacks. I didn't think they were working.

I've gotten a few In... (Below threshold)

I've gotten a few Instalanches in my day -- I even got a flood (3,000+/day) from The Corner, once, but those users really aren't very sticky.

Recently, with the new job, I finally got around to sending Glenn a few bucks -- something I'd been meaning to do for a while -- and a day or so later, I sent along a link I thought he might be interested in and I figured since I'd just sent him some scratch, it might help... but no joy. So bribery (at least in two-digit amounts) doesn't seem to help.

I didn't know that was the ... (Below threshold)

I didn't know that was the place to be noticed. Or that I was suppose to try to be noticed by him. I think, I am alright being virtual unknown.

And never fail to mention y... (Below threshold)

And never fail to mention your blog when you write to a "name" with a comment. I've already failed miserably after Lileks wrote me back once, Sullivan quoted me on his site, and the Weekly Standard site printed a couple letters. Each time I failed to note where I wrote.

Also, Carnival of the Vanities will work, too, as I received a three-day surge after rightweare.com hosted the event. Some stickiness seems apparent but it is too soon to tell.

But mostly, write for yourself. Been blogging on foreign affairs (mostly) for 14 months and the (I'm estimating here) average of maybe 200 hits per month are a bonus to the ability to just comment freely.

One warning, blogging has totally messed up my time for writing for dead trees and that has to stop! Or at least moderate a bit. I may need an intervention.

Did I mention that I write The Dignified Rant at www.geocities.com/brianjamesdunn/TDRhome.html ?

Everything Kevin said is de... (Below threshold)

Everything Kevin said is dead-on - and Kathy K's advice (be germane to something Glenn's just posted) may be the most important one of all.

I've had 14 Instalanches on my site - most of them from noticing Glenn was posting on something I was also writing about, and emailing and telling him I had a slightly different take on it. (Gratifyingly, I've also had three completely unprompted ones, which is pretty rewarding).

By the way - while Instalanches aren't in and of themselves sticky, every one gets you linked, and blogrolled, everywhere else. I built my traffic from 30 visitors a day last year to about ten times that now, most of it from links I've gotten from other sites that first noticed me via either Glenn or Lileks.


It helps to be timely. I go... (Below threshold)

It helps to be timely. I got my Instalanche when I read something Glenn had posted just 20 minutes prior, and I sent him a message to a blog entry I had written on the same subject the previous month. You can see the results at http://www.analogmouse.com/blog/archives/000203.html

A drop in his tip bucket do... (Below threshold)

A drop in his tip bucket doesn't guarantee you a link and may not even help but geez, he does so much for the blogosphere, drop something anyway. Now only do I like that he links to me but I appreciate all the sites I learn about because he's linked to them.

Kevin - Impressive. But th... (Below threshold)

Kevin - Impressive. But that was an easy task for the lackey of the Puppy Blender.

For your next task, I demand you seen three nubile maidens to my apartment. Have them bring good wine and cheese.

And send their boyfriends t... (Below threshold)

And send their boyfriends to mine ;)

Thanks for the advice.... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the advice.

As for me, I'm happy in my anonymity (assuming I have any-- I never bother to check my traffic).

I blog for catharsis-- largely because I write better than I speak, and as a consequence I lose a lot of arguments that I wouldn't lose if I had the time to compose an essay about a given topic.

Oh puke! I'm sounding like one of those NEA artists that balks at doing anything that people will actually like to see. ("I do not paint for them! I paint for me! If the inbred troglodytes of this town cannot appreciate my art, then I what good are they?")

Oh well, at least I'm not asking for federal funding. (National Endowment for the Blogs?)

Now if you'll pardon me, I must go practice my affectations for tommorrow's opening. (pop)

Can't get an Instalanche? O... (Below threshold)

Can't get an Instalanche? Okay, here's what you do. Link to my blog in your blogroll. Link to new posts on my blog every day. Send your traffic to my blog. And after my traffic builds to something approaching Instapundian levels, I'll start linking to your blog. It's a fair trade. ;=)


Just write great content ev... (Below threshold)

Just write great content everyday and link to relevant information. Humans have an amazing ability to weed the information garden out there to allow those productive plants to shine.

AND choose a niche and go deep!


Bah! Instalanches are rewa... (Below threshold)

Bah! Instalanches are rewards from the devil. You can build up your traffic with no help from the blender of puppies.

I have been linked by Glenn... (Below threshold)

I have been linked by Glenn, Kaus, Hit and Run, Virginia, NRO, etc. Sometime with massive effect sometimes less. I say this not to brag but to explain my perspective and expereience. If you want lots of traffic you will have to have either prior name recognition/area of expertise or you will have to do the following: regular posting, topics directly related to hot topics or topics the big blogs care about, and intelligent and/or novel things to say. If you don't have the first thing, the second list will require hard work and dedication. If you slack off or take time off the hits tend to go away. My expereince is that without volume the stickieness is minimal. I went from my lowest monthly total to my highest monthly total back to my lowest in the course of three months. In the political blogosphere if you stop talking about the subject de jure (the war, dem primary, civil liberties, etc.) the hits will fade. Just like a journalist, if you really want to get the major hits you will have to write what people want to read. If you want to write for your self forget about the hits (if you can).

I have a suggestion:<... (Below threshold)

I have a suggestion:

Pretend you're a soldier just resturned from Iraq who is sick and tired of the "negative war coverage" the biased media are giving us.

Call yourself "Sgt. Rock," or "Captain America."

You can insert which ever media whipping boy Glenn is exercised about at the monent [The BBC or CNN usually works. Not so much the New York Times now that Raines has left].

Then write a heart-warming post about all the soccer games you organized for local Iraqi children, etc.

If you thrown in something about how people are free to complain about electricity and water problems...when they'd have been imprisoned, or worse, for saying such things under saddam. All the better.

Basically, if you write a dead-on post that confirms his worldview, you are much more likely to get linked.

Good luck folks!

You mean I need more than t... (Below threshold)

You mean I need more than the 40 hits a day I get now?
Glenn Reynolds posted an e-mail I wrote him, does that count?

After reading this post I s... (Below threshold)

After reading this post I sent Glenn an email asking for an instalanche of the China blog mother list available at one of our major blogs, noting that he regularly linked to African, Indian, and Korean blogs regularly but not nearly as much to that other Asian country. The result was this: http://www.instapundit.com/archives/011582.php.

Thanks for the advice. I wouldn't have even bothered trying if I hadn't read this. I've tried doing much the same months ago with my own blog but had no luck. It seems this time I was lucky because he found another blog that was posting from another "exotic" region. Luck of the draw I guess.

Try link-slutting with some... (Below threshold)

Try link-slutting with some photoshop work, too.

Like this.






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