Thursday, July 5, 2007

Simple Blog Launch Plan & Taxonomy

Looking to launch Newco with some blog buzz? Here is a simple taxonomy and plan for reaching out to the group of web/tech/startup bloggers who are 1 degree (but maybe not 2 degrees) removed from the top 100, A-list bloggers. It’s not rocket science, it takes some work, but it’s a good plan - go ahead and execute.

These people fall into 3 categories:
1. A-list blogrollers – people who are listed on the blogrolls of the best-known bloggers.
a. For this group, I would go through the blogrolls of the most applicable 30-40 A-list blogs and make a list with contact information for all the people who were not themselves part of the A-list group. By applicable, I mean blogs that have blogrolls and blogs that are more personally focused around a blogger rather than being more news-media type sites.

2. High frequency commenters on A-list blogs – these people are gold, because they clearly love to talk and promote themselves, and may not have many other vectors than blogging and commenting.
a. For this group, I would go through the most commented posts on the big blogs like Techcrunch and Gigaom, (around 10 of these), perhaps over just the last month or two and again make a list with contact information for the top 20 (good) commenters on these 10 blogs. By good, I mean that they link to their own actual blog when they comment, and not their company site, or other – and that their own blog passes a subjective minimum bar for insight and posting rate.

3. Other 2nd (or so) tier bloggers that I am familiar with and/or have corresponded with in the past who have not been identified in groups 1 or 2.
a. For this group, I would again make a list with contact information
b. A few of these people may include A-list bloggers.
c. I also want to specifically call out an important sub-group here – professional business/tech journalists at newspapers and magazines who have a toe (or foot) in the blogging world definitely important to rope these people in as it is obviously their job to surface interesting information for a wider audience.

So, taking stock, I will now have a very strong list of around (40 x 10) + (10 x 20) + ~30 = ~600 bloggers.

1. I would write a very short and succinct email that simply and straightforwardly says:
2. I have read your blog, and I think it’s insightful
3. Here is an invite to a very limited private beta of only 500 (or 200, or 100) people
4. Please help us improve with any feedback you can offer – and feel free to publish or discuss your opinions anywhere and with anyone.
5. When you activate your beta account, you will have 10 invites to share with friends or other people that you have an interest in sharing with – these 10 invitation accounts must be activated within 7 days of the time you activate your account or they disappear.

• Now you are at a reach of circa 6000 of the right people.
• I think it is critical to give people something concrete to play around with, it’s not worth reaching out to them without it.
• I would also want to email the group of 600 in waves of 25 or so over successive days to test 3-5 email variations for conversion and response (plus, it’s a lot easier to email 25 people at once, than 600!)

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