Good answers so far... the key really is quality.
You can have a thousand backlinks made for you (and most sites do... and now most of those sites are dropping in page ranks and google catches on), but if they don't mean anything, they'll do you no favours.
High quality content is the most important thing for your blog... referals from your readers will help. People talk about good blogs. SEO is really important to, but just make sure your content is relevant to your niche... a cheeky keyword inclusion here and there never hurts :-)
Don't worry about backlinks... of course if you can contant a .gov agency and get a link from there, you're golden :-D