- What is the best way to get noticed?
- How can you get your message into people’s heads?
- What is the most effective strategy to deploy your blogging resources?
These are popular questions when you first need to budget and plan blogging. They are also useful in social media sites like Facebook. Simply put, there are too many competing voices on the Internet. Just when you thought you had the most unique service in the world, you find tens or hundreds of similar products. With a little bit of positioning you limit the scope of your work to a geographical area and maybe then you are somewhat unique. The only problem is using old style “positioning”. What we have been doing for traditional advertising media does not work exactly the same way. The differences between printed, electronic and direct marketing channels and blogs are crucial to understand. Blog popularity is driven through viral communication. Interesting blogs with focused writing attract a few readers. Once they like the writing, or find it useful (good investment tips, nice fashion pictures, travel and current event stories from a distant vacation spot) the readers spread the word about the blog. With e-Mail and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) viral communication is amazingly fast and large. If you have ten or twenty people who exchange messages with you, this makes for a link in the viral communication chain. Out of the ten people who read your message, you only need two who have ten people connections as well. Notice that it’s not the hundreds of people who are connected to you on Facebook that count. It’s the few who re-transmit your recommendation for the blog that count. The way viral communication works depends on the habits of the people in the network. If you are a “connector”, than you understand this behavior. Connectors (this term was popularized by Gladwell in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference ) are people who connect between ideas and people. They usually see new trends and ideas and spread them quickly. They usually know who will further spread the message and who will not. If you need to learn how viral communication works, look for a someone who is a big connector. In each field there are connectors who pass messages back and forth and people “follow” them. Malcolm Gladwell developed a simple theory that everyone can follow. His theory is basically the idea of a trend or a community. He describes how fads come and go and the behavioral process including the different structure elements (like connectors.)
Now let’s harness this idea of a “Tipping Point” or “Connectors” or “Viral Seed”. What you can do with a blog or a social media group is to become the “seed” of an idea or a “connector” of trends? In every field there is a need for different components in spreading a message to a large number of people. As a “seed” you can create a new message that will appeal to many people. To do this take a look at people who are doing it. From Lady Gaga and Madonna with their slick music videos and dance performances all the way to Seth Godin (Linchpin) and Malcolm Gladwell, you can find great examples. In the political world take a look at The Huffington Post and how Ariana Huffington and others are using the Internet, from simple blogs like Godin and Gladwell to videos on YouTube by performers, all are using viral communication to deliver a message. None of these people have large advertising budgets. Actually, the viral messages are what they do best, even better than traditional marketing and advertising. THIS IS THE REVOLUTION IN COMMUNICATION, MARKETING AND POLITICS! It may not seem obvious to you at first, but this is what the big deal about blogging. Writing and designing a nice looking blog is great, but the real change in how we communicate using the Internet. How the messages become viruses just like biological vectors multiplying exponentially. There are lots of examples in many fields, so go find one of your own. If you don’t find one in your field use a blog example from another field. Look for popular blogs that are strong in creating viral messages. These can be in any format: articles, videos, MP3 audio clips or pictures. See what you can create in “seeds” or “connections” or even “community”. Seed messages are your own creation. They are unique and are attractive (fun) to pass along, read, listen or view. Seeders like Lady Gaga and Madonna are just one example. In the music world there are many who are not great at creative videos but their music is downloaded and even used as ring tones. As a “connector” you can use any of the blogs like The Huffington Post which reports on American political news. Most of the articles on the blog are gathered from outside sources. Community blogs are ones where the participants actually do more of the writing and editing. An old site that realized the power of community is Photo.NET. Phil Greenspun, the site’s founder, created a sophisticated community system with membership that gives lots of features. The core features are based on rating other member’s photos, but there are also features which give members “authority”. These features are unique to blogs and social media sites and are not yet popular. The big social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great examples of communities. They give each user an ability to connect with people and discuss topics in a group. There are many aspects of using a cause or a trend to get your blog noticed. This is an introduction to get you thinking. Next topics will go into the different roles you can play as a blogger in getting your message heard. Good luck and get going, there are endless opportunities out there!