How Bloggers Can Solicit Scoops From Their Email Newsletter Subscribers
It’s been a slow news week in your tech field; the next big buzz-triggering product launch in your industry has been delayed for another three months because the engineers are raising incompetence to a high art.
Your “Deep Throat” inside executive contact at Engulf & Devour Corp. is not returning your calls because your last blog gave a clue to their identity; and all you can think of to write in your blog is how cheesed off you are at the inconsistency the scripts on Fox’s New Girl and why on Earth did they trade out Damon Wayans Jr. with that new weird little guy?
Before you inadvertently change your blogging identity from Anand Lal Shimpi to Michael Ausiello and lose all your technogeek followers along the way, there are effective ways to keep from resorting to blogging your reflections on Hollywood pap… and they can all be found residing on your email newsletter subscriber list!
6 degrees of separation from Sergey Brin
If everybody in the world is just six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, then it follows that the same is true for Intel’s Paul Otellini, Google’s Sergey Brin, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison. You’ll never know who your email subscribers have access to unless you ask them, so recruit your readers into providing the inside skinny on who they might know through a friend of a friend of a friend.
Make absolutely sure that you separate the verifiable wheat from the illusory chaff, so confirm every single word independently so that you don’t become the Semi-Accurate of your industry. In other words, make sure that your initials aren’t FUD.
Solicit pre-release information
Perhaps your email newsletter subscribers may not have access to any top executive but they may still be privy to pre-release information on products that are going to make an impact in your industry.
In high tech it is customary to provide alpha and beta hardware and software to a wide variety of testers and although all of the recipients of this wizardry are all bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements, most of those documents have more holes than a colander and details invariably seep out.
There is an overwhelming advantage to having your blog be the first one to break the next big product news. Imagine if you had been the first to provide hard benchmarks proving that the Apple iPhone 4S sucked batteries dry faster than a desert wanderer with a canteen; AMD’s Bulldozer microprocessor family was both a shocking performance bust and a power hog; or that some Intel Solid State Drives would brick up leaving only 8MB accessible.
Instead of watching your hit counter grow slower than blue fescue on a cold day you could be fending off armadas of Slashdotters while your Adsense revenue spyked to the Spyker C8 Aileron class!
Explore the wonders of payola
“Nobody does sumptin’ for nuthin’” so it is imperative to provide incentives to your email newsletter subscribers to provide inside information. The most obvious motivation is hard cold cash. If you stand to boost your readership and drive another hundred clicks to your $11.47 per-click banner ad, it’s well worth you offering a C-note to the subscriber who tips you off that RIM’s next product is codenamed BankruptcyBerry.
Should you want to steer away from the payola provision, you can offer free downloads of e-books or software, discount vouchers at a friendly etailer, or access to an Insider’s Group Forum which is open by invitation only.
Spilling the technobeans
Anonymity is a primary consideration in the vast majority of cases as your subscribers won’t necessarily want to trumpet all over the internet that they were the ones who spilled the technobeans. Even if they didn’t have direct access to the information, they likely want to protect their sources. You must make very clear that if so requested you will implement completely iron-clad procedures that will prevent revelation of the source anywhere outside of a court of law.
You may find that your blog’s email newsletter subscribers are invaluable sources of world-scoop information… but you’ll never know until you ask them. If you can get great intel from your email subscriber list, you’ll have plenty of material for high-traffic, groundbreaking blog posts.
Hal Licino is a successful author, award-winning freelance writer, and frequent contributor to a blog hosted by Benchmark Email, an email marketing service for small businesses. He also writes a weekly column for Daily Blog Tips.
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