Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blogger Networking: A Second Look

After cogitating and hashing things out with my wife and my boss, my picture of networking is starting to clarify, somewhat. If you haven't yet read it, read my previous post on blogging and networking for background.

First off, I kind of understand the question now. It's "How would you feel if someone did this to you?"

This question is a more straightforward question than "Is this ethical?", "Is this going to work?", or even "Do I feel right about this?". The essence of it is that if your target feels good about it, you will feel good about it, and if your target feels good about it, it will work.

It could be that some things work even when your target doesn't feel good about it, such as pop-up advertising. But that's no way to make a living.

So, back to networking.

1. Networking is building relationships, not selling. Therefore, the appropriate time to sell to someone with whom you are building a relationship is when they ask you to. You can't send a few emails about other subjects and then, while you have their attention, send them a pitch, regardless of how beneficial it is to both of you.

That's not relationship building, that's deception. Relationship building is for the long-term, and will benefit you in the long-term.

2. Pitches can be sent to people who expect to receive pitches. E.g. marketers, business directors, conference attendees, and so on, and should clearly be addressed as such. You should not try to two-email or two-week relationship building with someone with the intention of following it up with a pitch and then dropping the relationship if the pitch isn't accepted. It will probably not be responded to, anyway, and you likely will have made someone unhappy, which is worse than where you were before you started.

3. One thing you can do with simple networking is to include your landing page URL and your company's tagline at the bottom of your comments and emails. As you build relationships, it is only natural that people will click on these. Furthermore, when they see your company's name in some other location, such as a news blurb or conference proceeding, the name recognition factor will come into play.

4. Hiring people to leave comments so that name recognition can occur in these places, or to send pitches to those expecting them, doesn't strike me as unethical or even problematic.

Having clarified these issues, though not with any sort of finality, I'm able to separate out what types of things I can and can't do as a hired corporate blogger for my new company.


No comments: