Part of our strategy for IT clients is to pitch to bloggers. Of course, we want to identify those bloggers who are ideal for our client's stories. Say we've got a client who makes software for funeral managers and morticians (we don't). While it would be great to get mentioned on Dave Winer or Robert Scoble's blog, we'd probably prefer to get referenced in the top ten blogs that funeral managers and morticians are reading. That is, the top ten funeral industry blogs. [more]
Here's the problem--how do you identify those? It's not easy:
- Technorati will show you the absolute popularity of a blog, if you already know its URL. It won't tell you if what you've found is the first or twenty-first most popular funeral blog. It will also help you identify blogs using keywords, but that's tricky and very time-intensive. For example, check out the useless results for 'funeral blog' or 'funeral industry'
- Google will point you to some blogs (though it ain't great), and can help you with popularity, but it's far from ideal.
- Other tools like PubSub, del.icio.us or Blogpulse can be of limited assistance.
In short, there's no easy way to find the top ten funeral industry blogs. The only way is to use these tools to identify a few possible blogs, and then through careful blogroll analysis and ongoing reading, make some educated guesses about who the movers and shakers are. That's easy but time-consuming for somebody like me, who regularly steeps in the blogosphere. For an outsider, though, it involves a pretty steep learning curve.
It's important, of course, to spend plenty of time examining your target blogs before you go sending them stories. But at the same time, we need a decent tool that rapidly gets us from 'need 20 blogs about foo' to 'reading 20 blogs about foo'.
What's the answer? I'm not sure. Maybe we need to do some fancy Technorati + Delicious magic. We identify all of the bookmarks which are blogs, then organize those by their tags, and encourage people to add more tags to the mix. Then we display the blogs associated with a given tag in descending order of popularity. That'd be a start, at least. The alternative, I fear, is some human-generated directory, which doesn't seem very practical.