And you can hear your colleagues’ voices echoing in the back of your head:
“Oh, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could [your choice of A-List blogger here] to cover our new line of products?”
“Yeah, totally,” everyone agrees.
And your boss says, “Yeah, we should definitely make that happen!”
As in we meaning … you. And here you are, trying to come up with a way for your company to get featured on mega-popular blog.
But maybe you shouldn’t have to? Maybe your company shouldn’t be going for the major A-list blogger in the first place?
Actually, that could be very true.
The Prettiest Blonde Paradox
Some of you might have seen A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe from a few years back. In that movie, if you saw it, you probably remember the scene in the bar.
In either case, it’s worth a watch (scroll to 1:20):
When it comes to corporate blogger outreach, everyone goes for the big game, “the prettiest blonde in the room”. But this violates the Nash Equilibrium (fancy word alert!) by not taking into account the actions of others.
(I would’ve inserted a pic of my wife Lisah above by the way, but she’s a brunette, so I went with Amber Heard. Now, back to the blog post.)
In most cases, the top blogger in any niche gets ten times the attention compared to the number two. And from there, it trickles down.
So of course, it does make sense to go big if you think blogger outreach is all about reach — but we’ll get back to that in just a second.
First, let’s discuss the “Magic Middle”.
The Magic Middle And Their Influence
David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, coined the term “Magic Middle” for bloggers with 20 – 1,000 active inbound links. Like yours truly, for example.
The term was made popular largely by Brian Solis, who discusses it in his book “Putting The Public Back Into Public Relations”. The idea is, that these Magic Middle Bloggers actually carry a lot more influence than one might think.
Because if you think about it for a second:
These days, many top bloggers are pro bloggers, meaning that they actually can make a living of of their blogging. The same can of course not be said for the Magic Middle bloggers.
So why do they do it?
Two words — passion and ambition.
This is not to say that A-list bloggers don’t have passion or ambition, but the Magic Middle bloggers keep at it without the incentives. And that counts for something.
Now, their audiences might not be all that large. Especially not compared with the A-list bloggers and their online entourage.
But how many endorsers does it really take for your company to do better on the bottom line?
A Funny Thing About Numbers
I look at web analytics A LOT. You know, it’s part of my job.
And let me tell you this:
Referral traffic volume has very little to do with conversion rates.
Let’s say you get tons of traffic from Facebook and Twitter, but very little from LinkedIn.
Now, many companies then decides that they need to do more stuff on … Facebook and Twitter. Based on the same numbers, others in the same situation might want to strengthen their LinkedIn strategy to get it up to par at least.
But in reality, it could be that Twitter is outperforming everything else when it comes to onsite conversions. But most never sees it that way.
This Copyblogger post Wait, Was That A Click Or Conversion makes this point very eloquently.
So, what does this have to do with Magic Middle bloggers?
Traffic from passionate and relevant bloggers usually converts extremely well. Their community trusts them and when they send traffic your way, they do it out of passion, not for money or fame.
And I bet, that these people, those who are passionate about their niche subjects, sharing and learning from each other in a circle based on trust and dialogue — these are the tastemakers of society.
And yes, it’s said that one in ten people tells the other nine how to vote, where to eat and what to buy.
Building Blogger Relationships That Lasts
Getting top blogger publicity isn’t by any means impossible. And these days, “bloggers” include sites that started up as blogs, but turned into fully staffed online magazines.
Lots of times, it makes complete sense to go BIG.
But you can’t reasonably expect the biggest names to be loyal to you. But if your company appreciated and acknowledged a Magic Middle blogger, you might just earn a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
And who knows, with YOUR help, they might make into the big leagues themselves and your emails will be amongst the few that actually reaches them?