Targeting blogs is a great channel for creating traction.
It’s especially good for Phase I, when you’re still building a product. In this phase, you need to identify the holes in your product by gaining a steady stream of “cold” customers who will give you honest feedback.
Both Mint and AppSumo identified targeting blogs as their core channel in their early days.
Mint gained initial traction by targeting mid-sized blogs in their niche. They chose blogs whose followers would likely be interested in their product.
They gave bloggers VIP access to their service in exchange for a badge posted to the blogger’s web page. The badge linked to Mint’s service, which gained the startup even more customers.
Mint also sponsored blog posts to gain influence with readers, and formed content partnerships with major sites like The Motley Fool to provide unique content for their readers while promoting their product.
AppSumo, on the other hand, created a special app bundle and offered it to the popular website Lifehacker, which couldn’t resist such a good deal. Lifehacker offered the bundle to their readers, which raised awareness about AppSumo. The startup also offered free app bundles for other blogs and conferences like SXSW to build traction.
These blog-targeting strategies helped propel Mint and AppSumo to the widespread success they enjoy today.
The first step is to find blogs that focus on your target genre. These blogs must have enough followers to actually generate traction for your startup.
The easiest way to find these is to a Google search for “best blogs for x” or “top x blogs.”
Search Facebook or Twitter for top keywords in your field to find influential bloggers on those platforms.
You can also search YouTube for popular channels related to your field. These channels are often made by influencers who also have a blog.
Finally, you can do it the old-fashioned way: talk to people who are interested in your field and ask them what blogs they follow.
Once you’ve found some blogs to target, find a unique product, service, special offer, or content that you can offer its readership. You can also offer special or early access to your product or service to smaller bloggers. This is key to having a blog feature your product or service.
The playing field is not limited to blogs. Link-sharing communities such as Reddit are also great places to build traction.
There are lots of forums on the internet that might share or promote your product or service to its members.
Other popular link-sharing communities include Product Hunt, Hacker News, and Inbound.org.