If I were a startup, one great and cheap way to build buzz and excitement is through the blog community. I call this "influencing the influencers." Think about it - many of the more well known bloggers are also well known tech journalists, industry pundits, VCs, and technology executives. Forget about using the traditional PR route - if you can get these influencers to write about you on their highly targeted blogs, others will hear about it, write about it, and generate links to it. There has been much discussion about measuring the value of blogs but at the end of the day it is all about being influenced by a trusted source. Each blogger has his own unique audience that trusts his/her opinion. Many of us try and buy products and services based on trust and recommendations. This is no different in the blog community. A number of web 2.0 companies have already leveraged the blogosphere to generate buzz. Not that I am a big influencer by any stretch of the imagination but some of the new companies I have written about recently include Pluck, Bloglines, and Onfolio. And yes, there are many more influential people than I who wrote about these companies as well. I am quite sure all of these posts delivered significant name recognition, brand value, and traffic for the companies mentioned above. Once again, it is not about how many posts, but who posted that really counts because the word and links can spread quickly.
Along those lines, Om Malik is certainly a guy you want on your side. Here is a great post by Om where he writes about getting quantifiable evidence for the first time on his influence regarding a post on a new startup, Blinkx:
The blog was posted on a Friday, and by the Monday there were 5,000 links to it and people were discussing it all over the world. Since then, there have been 130,000 direct downloads, and many more through users swapping files. This week, the site - which is only launched today - has been recording 6m links or hits a day solely from word-of-mouth publicity.
That is pretty damn cool! Let me repeat - 5,000 links, lots of discussion, 130,000 downloads, and 6m links/hits all generated for $0 - yes, no money!