I want expand here on something that I started over on AdJab. I end this post by reminding advertisers that small sites should not be overlooked when they’re drawing up ad plans. But there’s more than that which needs to go on. Don’t just leave it at advertising. Find new and interesting ways to engage the people pounding away on those blogs, many of whom do it for no other reason than that they’ve found a topic they’re passionate about. These people might not always pass on the exact messaging that’s been approved by half the company – that’s just a reality. But what they will do, if you’ve established a relationship with them, is listen to your side of a story and pay more attention to the stuff you might send them.
Building relationships in the community that’s already talking about your industry/company/product is the best way to harness the power of that community. Walk with them. Talk with them. Reach out and see what kind of feedback you can give to them and what they can give to you. I sometimes think there’s a treasure trove of consumer pattern behavior just sitting there, barely tapped (if at all) in the blog and forum chatter online. Learn how to jump into that and I think marketers will have a great amount of success with future endeavors.