CNET released an awesome study in 2007. It is one of the best ones I’ve seen on the impact of your network and networking. The human kind.
Let me cut to the chase and summarize this report in a sentence. This report debunks that only the people with the largest networks, the largest databases are the ones to focus on. If you believe your online marketing has to target only the well known “A list” of bloggers or newscasters or city leaders, you can take a step back, save some money and effort and reach out to the middle.
Here’s a brief snippet from the report:
“The Dynamics of Influence
Along with insights into the structure of networks, the study reveals some surprising
discoveries about what powers them. Conventional wisdom holds that the highly influential few are topic experts, and share their deep expertise with the masses in part to demonstrate their knowledge. However, our research finds that influencers are primarily motivated by a desire to help others. People like to be needed and valued, and influencers derive a sense of self-worth and validation from giving good advice. They aren’t simply blasting e-mails to their entire address book – these influencers are taking the time to seek out and customize information they believe will be relevant to specific individuals within their network. And when their advice is well received, it gives them the confidence to continue and expand their efforts.
“The study finds that there is a relationship between the growth of a person’s network and the frequency with which they are asked for advice (see Figure 6). When people are rewarded for their good advice, they are motivated to become more skillful at seeking out relevant information – and as they become increasingly well-known as the person to go to for answers, their network grows. This notion of influence brokering as a dynamic process helps explain how networks develop and expand.”
I want you to read the study. It maps out some surprising items that can help you in your online marketing. And when you’re done, email me here or call or post a comment. Tell me how this report has changed your thinking, or if it hasn’t.
The best way to find this report is to use a search engine and right click to download it. Put the exact title into your favorite engine, in quotes, like this: “Understanding Influence, and Making It Work For You: A CNET Networks Study”