Identifying the right blog

computer-screenOne of the things I was always asked to do in agency life was to find “the top ten blogs” in any given niche. I often responded by saying they didn’t want the top ten blogs, they wanted the right three.

That in and of itself was a daunting enough task as it was.

This came to mind reading Marshall Kirkpatrick’s how-to guide for identifying the top blogs in any niche. Marshall has plenty of good perspective on the available tools that includes the short-comings most all of them have. So, to build off what Marshall has laid out I thought I’d add some thoughts on my experience.

Not an Intern’s Job: Finding blogs to build relationships with (notice I very specifically didn’t use “pitch”) is a time-consuming process that should, ideally, be done by someone with an intimate understanding of the product or service that is the center of the publicity effort.

Be Specific: Don’t ask for tech blogs if you have a mobile digital assistant or Facebook application you’re publicizing. Ask for mobile-focused site or one on social networking innovation. Remember that generalized blogs have big audiences but focused blogs have a passionate core readership.

Blogrolls Are Your Friend: It usually took me a while to find the “right” blog for a specific project. Most of that was spent not searching but drilling down through blogrolls. The best part is that this is a great source of new blogs. There’s usually one or two that *everyon* in a niche links to that might not be the biggest but they are apparently the most influential.

Read It: Find a blog you think is worth your time? Spend an hour going back through its archives. Then subscribe to its RSS feed. Do this two weeks before you contact the writer to work with them. This will tell you if the project you have in mind is right for that site. Don’t make a move without doing this.

The right three blogs – ones written by people who are willing and anxious to work with you, are the right audience for your project and have a great deal of influence within their niche – can make or break your social media efforts. You don’t need to be on the front page of Digg to be a success. Just get the right people enthused and you’ll find it.