How should startups approach bloggers?

Recently, I was invited by the OCC community to discuss how should startups approach bloggers.

Here are a few points we discussed:


First and foremost, set your expectations right.  Bloggers can get you initial visibility and help you attract the initial adopters, but they can never be an alternative to marketing (same holds for media as well).

Most of the blogs cater to niche audience/their readers are techies who might not be your mass user base (i.e. if you are building a consumer product).

How should I approach a Blogger?

Very simple. Email works, but avoid bragging about your product (I get many ‘Orkut/MySpace’ killer mails). Be precise and provide relevant information (product idea/founders/funding details/differentiating features/login invite etc).

Few points to ponder

  • Whom shall I approach?
    Select the right blogger(s) based on your product and blog’s value proposition. Select the ones that provides insights related to your space  – remember, you need to get access to the community.
  • Track
    If any blogger covers your startup, always go back and check the post for recent comments as people may have put questions, clarifications and feedback – respond to them.

Few Don’ts

  • Say no to spam : Leave the spamming part to others – if you are a serious startup, come via the normal channel.
  • Name change : I have sometimes witnessed startups writing under different names (saying ‘hey! I guess this product is damn cool‘) – Avoid that. You need to market your baby yourself, under your own name. Adds lot more credibility.
    [thanks Sumeet for the notes]

As I mentioned earlier, bloggers can get you access to initial adopters, but will never ever substitute that for your marketing needs (case in point – widely read, TC failed to resurrect it’s own investment, edgio) – so use this channel effectively.

From experience, we have seen few interesting instances when couple of VCs jumped in for intros to some startups we profiled, or when founders wrote guest posts and VCs immediate sent mails stating ‘this guy knows his stuff. do connect!’.

So, my humble advice to startups is to use this channel effectively and build relationship with the community (helps create that buzz)- goes a long way in your lifecycle.

What’s your opinion? Do you agree/disagree?

Next: Should startups blog? Yes and No?