The word “influence” has become one of the most popular buzzwords across the blogosphere and apparently there’s a right way to garner influence, and a wrong way.
For most tech bloggers, influence is about becoming a thought leader on a specific topic in order to reach a business or personal goal. So whether you’re the world’s foremost Android expert, a hardcore coder or a complete gadget nut, the reason to strive for influence is to establish credibility – and you can’t do that alone. Someone already influential needs to vouch for you.
Last March I wrote an article about CDBaby founder Derek Siver’s TED Talk. In the video, Sivers shows how an influencer/leader is nothing without an influential first follower. As far as I can tell, blogger credibility falls along similar lines with the basis of influence coming from:
- Consistently adding value to readers’ lives; and,
- Having that value publicly recognized by credible first followers.
PUBLICATIONS CAN BE YOUR FIRST FOLLOWER
When you write for an acclaimed web property, it’s as if the site’s editors are ushering your ideas in with their seal of authority. While they may not agree with everything you say, there’s the recognition that what you say matters to their audience – and in many cases, that audience is extremely powerful.
Why do you think I’m writing for BlogWorld? In addition to putting my name on a page next to industry heavy hitters, I also want to encourage more bloggers to contribute to the pool of good tech resources. Below are a few tips on how to pitch tech editors in the hopes that you’ll consider taking a stab at the tech blogging profession.
PITCHING FOR PUBLICATION: THINGS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR QUERY
Prove Your Abilities: There’s always someone that thinks they can write a better post than the one that’s published in front of them. If you’re that person, then quit flapping your gums and prove it. Think about everything that’s missing from a story, list those points, and fire off an email to the editor establishing your expertise on the subject. If you write a tasteful pitch that focuses on how you can help (rather than criticizing someone else’s work) you’re proving both your subject knowledge as well as your ability to write a persuasive argument.
Prove Your Existing Credibility: If you’ve written past articles, uploaded relevant podcasts, spoken at subject-related events or worked at a well-known and relevant company, then those are all points that speak to your credibility. Other establishing bullets include testimonial from industry luminaries and quotes in established online publications.
Prove Your Reach:While this wasn’t always the case, more blogging sites are interested in bringing in writers that extend their reach to new communities. If you’ve got a huge Digg or Reddit following, you’re active on HackerNews and Wikipedia, or you’ve got more than 10,000 Twitter or YouTube followers, then an outlet might choose you over another less social writer. When you’re considered a leader in an online community, editors realize your posts are more likely to gain traction with those audiences.
Prove Your Integrity: Editors want you to write for them because of your expertise, not because of your business interests. You need to establish how you’re going to add value to readers before you can fulfill your own agenda. Outlets don’t want to read a repurposed press release about your company. They want candid news, reviews or tips. If you can cover one of those three bases, then it’s fine to highlight a company case study. You just need to disclose your financial interests openly.
Now that you know how you’re going to pitch your story, here are a few publications you can pitch to get started.
A number of technology blogs take pitches from guest writers:
- Mashable and Business Insider [email@example.com] take technology news and list posts,
- ReadWriteWeb [firstname.lastname@example.org], VentureBeat [email@example.com] and Silicon Valley Watcher [firstname.lastname@example.org] look for longer analytical technology pieces,
- BetaNews [email@example.com] and Enterprise 2.0 blog [firstname.lastname@example.org] focus on IT and enterprise news,
- Icrontic [email@example.com] takes queries on PC hardware, gaming and general tech; and,
- My own network–NetShelter Technology Media [firstname.lastname@example.org]– can also redirect guest writer queries to more than 180 gadget, mobile, IT and developer sites including editors at MacRumors, IntoMobile, Phandroid, PreCentral and ChipChick. Send queries and your top 5 blog choices to [email@example.com].
Dana Oshiro is the Senior Analyst and Publishing Strategist at NetShelter Technology Media. In her spare time she continues to contribute to ReadWriteWeb’s startup channel as well as her personal site Villagers With Pitchforks. You can follow her on Twitter at @suzyperplexus or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.