The Politics of Blogging

Guy Kawasaki has a post today that talks about the best ways to attract the A-Listers towards your product so they’ll write about it.

Mike Arrington and Om Malik respond by saying all that’s not necessary.

I’m going to defend Guy in a minute, but first I have to make a point.

I think it’s interesting that Guy talks in terms of the A-Listers. Does anyone think that if Guy wasn’t Guy (upper case) but was some equally smart but unknown guy (lower case) who’d been blogging for a whopping month and a half, Mike and Om would have seen his post and, even if they had seen it, bothered to read it much less respond to it? Guy, what do you think?

Om suggests simply saying:

“I got this story/idea I am pitching. Any interest?” Two lines – and absolutely no need to suck-up.

That approach works with me. I’m beta testing and preparing to write about several products right now that I wouldn’t have known about and certainly wouldn’t have access to if the developers hadn’t emailed me.

I don’t know, though, how well that approach would work with a card carrying A-Lister. I suspect it would work with Om, but I also suspect it would not work with some of the others.

Mike says two things of interest:

Some of the suggestions, like linking back to bloggers, are good ones.

Well, that’s never worked for me as far as Mike’s concerned. I’ve linked to him a ton. I’ve tried content and depth; I’ve tried humor. I can’t help but think he’s seen links to my posts via Technorati or on one of the memetrackers or even on a fellow A-Lister’s blog, but my attempt to reach out has so far fallen on deaf hands. Of course, I haven’t emailed him because I don’t want to violate the rule implied in the other interesting thing he said:

I don’t want people to be friends with me because they are planning ahead to the day when they need something from me. I want them to be friends with me because they like me.

Even though every single marketing person in the entire universe knows that one of the first things you need to do is become friends with your target audience, be it customers, readers or linkers, I agree with Mike on this point. It is a little creepy, and I don’t and won’t do it.

I have managed to become friends with a good number of other bloggers, some A-List, some not, simply by talking about the same topics and earning my way into the conversation. But a lot of people don’t respond to that, perhaps for a good reason (they don’t see your posts) and perhaps not.

But here’s the thing. If you’re Mike Arrington (who granted has earned his lofty perch in the blogosphere) or Guy Kawasaki (who got a free pass because of prior accomplishments and relationships), it’s pretty easy to make A-List friends. But all of us aren’t Mikes and Guys.

And even though he does it in a strange, roundabout way, Guy seems to realize that and offers advice for the rest of us.

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