If you are a business blogger, chances are you have heard the idea of using a blog to make your customers into ‘evangelists’ for your products or services. While the term ‘customer evangelist’ just rubs me the wrong way, the idea is to get your customers so excited and passionate about what your company or organization is doing, that they sell you themselves. If that does indeed occur, essentially you now have an extended salesforce at no additional cost to your business.
Of course, in the traditional approach to ‘customer evangelism’ strength comes in numbers. The more people (and bloggers in particular), who are ‘talking’ about you and your product or service, the better. In the online world, this means more links, trackbacks, comments, etc.
I have noticed a trend, however, that puts a giant twist in the whole equation – the power of the gatekeepers. Today, there are a handful of uber bloggers that in and of themselves have such influential blogs that just getting them to blog about something is nearly as good (or better) as making an investment in a more traditional online advertising effort.
Getting a link from one of these guys is like money in the bank, at least in terms of the traffic they direct your way. Each have extremely large and established audiences, which is one of the reasons they get tipped off about new products or are able to land book deals. People want to read what they have to say – bloggers also often blog about what the gatekeepers are writing about.
I’m not sure what we will see with the gatekeepers of the blogosphere in the future. Right now, they in many ways are the most effective means to successful online marketing or advertising there is – and with all the noise both on the traditional web and in the blogosphere, I doubt their influence will subside going forward.