In a saturated blogosphere (most have few hits) how does marketing by blogs reach out to people? [Question #5 in So How Does It Feel to Be a Global Microbrand?]
My answer: No one reads THE "blogosphere" - that just the umbrella term that encompasses every single blog - we actually read this blog or that blog.
You start by realizing this is a social media. It's not a broadcast bulletin.
You start with connecting to affinity communities with common interests. Maybe parenting sites and blogs, offline clubs, parenting press, etc. for Stonyfield Yogurt's baby blog. Talk and link and communicate consistently with those communities.
Any old large audience most likely won't do - you want the right audience.
Figure out your unique "White Hot Center" (see pages 6-13 in What Clients Love, by Harry Beckwith; summary that doesn't do it justice here).
It's funny that Nike is lauded as a company that was built on identifying their white hot center early in running and basketball. Things change. They launched this basketball blog.
But is their own design team the WHC? I'd rather see a community-authored blog with community-rich features where basketfall fans can talk with each other and with rising athletes. Throw in the design team's riffs if you want, but that's secondary.
Social engagement is the next big thing for the entire marketplace. In this age of consumer resistance, people are avoiding brands while seeking one another. Brands must shift away from the single-minded focus on engaging consumers and instead become adept at enabling people to engage with each other. - "Productivity: Meet, Greet, Then Market", MediaPost, February 2006
Bonus: Chris Coulter actually does add value here, see comment 41: He disagrees with the blanket statement: Guy said…“If you take two companies with equally good products, and one knows how to suck up to bloggers and the other one doesn’t, I believe that the former will win.”
So do I. Courting the A-List bloggers only makes sense if and only if that is your WHC. Right now, as Coulter points out that is limited to particular set of products and services.
Bonus: In Copyblogger's Viral Copy report (good read, go download), Brian says:
Back when it broke, posting the Numa Numa dance on your law firm blog would have brought in traffic, but I'm not sure it would have translated into a spike in retainer agreements. (p. 5)
Amen. But then on page 7, Brian says: "You want to write things that truly connect with people, and that also result in a direct, specific and quantifiable action - a link, a Delicious tag, a vote on Digg."
But depending on your WHC, a Del.icio.us tag or vote on Digg may be perfect for your law firm or it could signal a shift to your client base that you're now edgier, tech-savvy, and you're more interested in the next Google as a client than the next Harrod's. (No they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, but trying to be all things to all people doesn't work either.)
From biz book summary: WHC = "This is the key area where influencers who will endorse your product to followers are located. [Which may include but aren't limited to:] These are the editors whose reviews dictate the trends of the industry. [In other words, who are the folks that sway others and where do they hang out? Can you offer a compelling enough experience so they will hang out on your affinity group blog too?]
Nike found the white-hot center of running and later on, in basketball. [Everyday players look up to rising athletes especially ones that came from similar backgrounds as they. Nike recognized potential when they saw it.] They chose Michael Jordan, who wasn't even first choice in that year's pro draft of college players. Nike's earliest contact with Tiger Woods was when he was playing golf as a freshman in high school."