By DJ Edgerton
Welcome to the search for the Holy Grail, Digital-Age Edition. How do you find the blogs that really matter to you? (For details on exactly how many blogs there are, and how dizzying the statistics around them can be, check out the most recent State of the Blogosphere report.)
Here’s a how-to to help you:
1. Refine your search terms and pull together a list. Use Google, Technorati and Alexa, but also use the blogrolls of the blogs you find to see who your finds are pointing you to.
2. Turn your list into a table and collect all the metrics you can on each blog. Use Technorati, Alexa and Compete. Even if you don’t understand precisely what each data point is, the more you can collect, the more you can begin to see patterns emerging from the data.
3. Once you have the numbers, really get to know the people in front of them. Take a few weeks to read the most likely blogs before you do anything. You’ll begin to see some rising to the top. Some will be active and some won’t, and a few bloggers will get quoted most by the other ones. It will become increasingly apparent which ones are the most influential.
4. Check out their policies to make sure that they follow appropriate procedures for dealing with companies. Many bloggers, especially in the last year, have these posted openly. Essentially, a good blogger will operate similarly to a media professional, at least in terms of their transparency regarding funding and, if not in their unbiased reporting.
5. See how others have done it, too. Check out this post from whydotpharma with some additional advice.
6. Just start to talk to them. Once you’ve done your homework and you know who you should be talking to – and once you have the necessary legal conversation with your organization – truly, it is not complicated. It’s a conversation about the disease that you’re both concerned about.
7. Keep talking. The same way that blogging requires both sincerity and commitment, so does building a rapport with blog authors.
8. Keep looking. You can’t expect to go through this process only one time. Some bloggers will stop writing, others will join the scene, and there will probably be new tools developed to help us make more sense of the blogosphere. (For instance, at the recent BlogHer in Chicago, two PR’s launched the Blogger Black Book database with a proprietary ranking system. Currently, that database is a collection of nearly a thousand mommybloggers, but the folks behind it say that they hope to expand the genres covered in the months ahead.)
9. Don’t forget about podcasters, video podcasters, and video bloggers. Check iTunes and YouTube.
10. Seriously, keep talking. Developing an honest, open, interesting, engaged conversation doesn’t get done in an easy top-ten list fashion – even if starting it might.