Being a blogger who regularly reviews social software/hardware (e.g. gadgets, web services), I found Guy Kawasaki’s latest article on “sucking up to bloggers” quite dear to my heart (was Guy sucking up to us?). Currently, I have a research experiment going on which touches on this, but from the reverse perspective: How blogs influence purchasing decisions.
Kawasaki talks about the role reversal in media entities, specifically he sees journalists cluing into the blogosphere for their latest buzz. To be fair, I’d say that both journalists and bloggers may differ in their approach to publishing, but are similar in how to turn to their immediate environment for social cues/news. Still, I do see that companies now have the option of approaching bloggers to create buzz, a space once dominated by mainstream media.
Adding credit to this, Technorati’s Dave Sifry recently released his “State of the Blogosphere” for February 2006 in which he showed how there is an attention shift from Mainstream Media (MSM) to the Blogosphere. I have one slight issue with Technorati’s chart though… the blogs featured were all equivalent to the CNN of the blogosphere, one-way giant blogs which don’t exactly reflect the 90% of the intimate blogs out there (OK, I’ll cut some slack, until I figure out a way to measure the long tail’s marketing power).
With that Mr. Kawasaki launched into a no-nonsense guide for “sucking up” to a blogger for anyone thinking of marketing their company on the blogosphere. For the whole deal, read his blog post. If you’re in a hurry, here is the tasteless condensed version mostly for my own reference:
1. Create a great product
Bloggers don’t like B.S., so if they feel something is worth writing about, they’ll know.
2. Cite and link
“Linking is the sincerest form of flattery”
3. Stroke them
Instead of telling him/her how awesome a blogger is, let them know how often you read their blogs. If you keep it real, that’s the best compliment.
4. Give schwag
Dollar for dollar, schwag for bloggers is one of the best marketing investments.
5. Make connections before you need them
Know the today’s self-indulgent blogger (with five page views per day) before they become tomorrow’s Technorati 100 stud.
6. Be responsive
Respect bloggers enough to return the phone calls and emails of bloggers
7. Use a rifle, not a shotgun
Any company that carpet bombs bloggers should be shot. Find and directly communicate with relevant bloggers.
8. Be a foul weather friend
Deal with negative publicity on blogs with positive attitude.
9. Be a source
When your company has nothing worth covering, you could still get cited or linked if you are able to provide expert analysis. Anything that is insightful is linkworthy.
And to support any company’s venture into the blogosphere, here are the results of Technorati’s Blogger Survey 2005 whichs has pretty charts showing what bloggers think and want from companies thinking of working with them.