Influencing the influencers

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!


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This post was written by who has written 358 posts on BeyondVC.

10 Responses to “Influencing the influencers”

  1. Jill Jul 16, 2004 at 6:18 am #

    For consumer downloadable apps, sure, that works. Maybe even for consumer products. But for anything else — software sold into corporations, for example, I don’t think this is relevant.

  2. Rick Klau Jul 16, 2004 at 11:50 am #

    Jill – I disagree. Downloads may not be the goal; PR may be. We know that major tech journalists read blogs (and many maintain their own) – increasingly, those avenues are the quickest and most effective way to get information into the hands of tech-savvy buyers. From a corporate perspective, if you’re trying to reach early adopters (which, presumably, any early-stage corporate software play would be) then blogs (and by extension, those whom blogs influence) are a sure way to get their attention.

  3. Greg Jul 16, 2004 at 2:25 pm #

    I just recently joined the blogging community and my blog is about creating buzz about anything. Mine is not aimed at early adopters but mid-adopters.

  4. Jill Jul 16, 2004 at 5:26 pm #

    Rick — I am a senior manager at a mid sized services company ($250mm+ revenues). We’re always evaluating technology to make us more efficient in our delivery. Blogs to us (and the trade press) are irrelevant to our process. Maybe that’s not typical (though this is not the first time I have done this), but the actual product and company matters, I could care less about blogs, pr and marketing.

  5. Brian H Jul 16, 2004 at 9:03 pm #

    Jill;
    You seem almost deliberately to be missing the point. It’s about peer-to-peer idea sharing, twigging people to things they’d not otherwise have know of or thought about, etc. Acting as direct conduits to information and product is NOT the point. Opinion leading and “buzz” is about influence and interests; the investigation and follow-up is by individual initiative following that.

    Believe it or not, EVERY human action is initiated by emotional factors and personal interests. These may or may not be observable or controllable by company management, etc., but they are necessarily there anyway.

  6. Greg Jul 21, 2004 at 5:34 pm #

    Jill I also have to disagree. Maybe you individually shouldn’t worry about blogs but getting your product or service mentioned on well traveled blog can increase interest leading to an increase in sales.
    Forgot to mention my Buzz blog before
    create-buzz.blogspot.com (read my first post and it relates to this post)

  7. Evelyn Rodriguez Aug 13, 2004 at 6:03 pm #

    I respectfully disagree with Jill as well. We have a fairly new corporate blog and the company is a later-stage enterprise software start-up. We sell via a direct sales force to the global 2000 (see http://blog.pivia.com).

    This blog is intended to reach press, analysts, investors, industry peers, target market executives and influencers. Sure, many of our customers and prospects don’t read blogs (yet) but the intent of PR is leverage – influencing the influencers and early-adopters.

    Our blog is meant to be educational – there is a lot of confusion in our space – and thus is a core component of a overall technical and business I.T. evangelism effort.

    Blogs are perfect vehicles for smaller companies that aren’t already on the press radar screen.

    Collaxa (recently acquired by Oracle) is another example of a blog used effectively by a start-up for evangelism and thought leadership – and they sold to enterprise I.T. as well.

    I’ll probably share more strategies for B2B blogging on my personal blog – I agree that much of the focus thus far on corporate blogs has been around B2C.

    See also my post on Collaxa entitled “David and Goliath Corporate Blogs”:
    link to evelynrodriguez.typepad.com

  8. Beef Jezos Aug 20, 2004 at 2:28 am #

    Anyone here read The Tipping Point? I am just finishing it off. The book’s ideas could have easily been distilled down to about 30 pages from its current 280+ pages, so I am a bit unclear still as to how much practical information is contained in it.

    Beef Jezos
    http://www.startupjunkies.org

  9. Chris Scofield Dec 14, 2005 at 12:54 pm #

    I agree that this community is very influential, but your entry doesn’t address the ‘seed’ question: How does a startup get an influential blogger to notice them and write on their work? How did Om Malik come to write about Blinkx?

    – Chris Scofield
    http://www.pheromonetrail.com

  10. Mike Myatt Sep 13, 2006 at 5:58 pm #

    Those that dismiss the corporate value of blogs are only showing their personal bias which happens to be different than the empirical data in support of blogging as a legitimate corporate channel.

    I author our corporate blog (link to n2growth.com) which has been nothing short of remarkable in all that it has done for our business. Aside from furthering our brand, improving communications with stakeholders and driving new revenue creation it also provides us with a new channel of business intelligence which has proved most useful.

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