The cetnral issue addressed in this session is creating blogs that sell. It’s given by Buzz Bruggeman (from ActiveWords (which is a favorite of our own Slacker Manager)) and DL Byron (of Clip-n-Seal fame).
Buzz Bruggeman opens the first afternoon session promising to dispense with all the technical talk that characterized the morning sessions. Buzz believes that just as markets are conversations (referencing the Cluetrain again), he believes that products themeselves are conversations. In discussing ActiveWords he notes that about 50% of the ActiveWords downloads came as a result of someone blogging about them. He cites Scoble, 43 Folders, Ernie the Attorney, Slacker Manager and Make Magazine. What’s also come from this experience is that many companies have found them through these blogs.
The lessons Buzz has learned from his blog are:
- You don’t need to post all the time
- You must try to show that there is a real person behind the product
- Focus on the people you want to be your customers
- Focus also on the people/companies you want to be your partners
- Every 3-4 posts or so, talk about your product
- The more you write, the better you write. (not sure is this contradicts lesson 1)
Some other lessons from the ActiveWords story involves 3 nearly fatal errors:
- They let the inventor of the product inventor be the CEO
- The CEO would give presentation and be mortally wounded by negative feedback
- They didn’t raise “smart money”
- By this he meant that they didn’t go out and find money from VCs that were already interested in their type of product.
- They didnt’ engage a professional writer to talk about their product.
In preparing this talk, Buzz went through the Technorati 100 and couldn’t find a single blog actually selling a product. He called and asked Shel Israel, about this. Shel noted the reason for that is that all the people making money from their blogs are blogging about small market issues. Gives specific example of Treonauts.
People who are succesful bloggers are very detailed, very empassioned, very focused about their topices.
One of Buzz’s habits is to read a lot of traditional media outlets to find out what blogs they’re reading. Buzz then tries to get himself in front of those blogs. Specific example of Jeremy Wagstaff of the Wall Street Journal. Jim Fallows and the NYTimes. Your blog needs to be a part of an integrated, thoughtful strategy for marketing your product.
ActiveWords has thus far spent $600 on advertising.
In developing the Outlook product, Buzz posted about the issues he was facing. He got 22 comments on that post, but several of the commenters work on Outlook for Microsoft.
Buzz’s concept about blogging for succesful products:
Discipline, focus, intelligence, creativity, the fundamental things
And Buzz is done. Definitely the best presentation thus far. Part of this is definitely the great story behind ActiveWords, but it also helped that Buzz moved very rapidly and his presentation was all the things he says one needs to be in a blog. Disciplined, focused, empassioned and creative.