Word of mouth marketing case study – the Blogger beta

Those who read this blog know that I typically blog about three general topics: magazine publishing, social media (a broad topic that covers a wide swath of online self-expression and community-building media developments) and Nashville. (However, at least one person has requested that I devote more posts to my dogs and kids.) For those of you who subscribe or visit this weblog for the social media stuff and skip all the Nashville or magazine posts, be sure to click over to a post on Nashville is Talking with the subject title, “Blogger Beta Can So Bite Me.”

Background: Brittney (and this will be a surprise to those who don’t think people who work for ‘traditional’ media companies can write such expressive subject titles) is an employee of Nashville’s ABC affiliate, WKRN. She is, without a doubt, the ubber-connector of several hundred weblogs and the people who maintain them in this region. The blogroll she maintains is the definitive directory of Middle Tennessee blogs. Nashville is Talking, the site she lives on, is an early and still pioneering role-model of how a local media company can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with a local blogosphere.

For example, check out the “Local Aggregator” section on the right column of the front page of Nashville is Talking. Even before the word “widget” was used for such things, Nashville is Talking was parsing the RSS feeds from local bloggers and displaying headlines on the front of Nashville is Talking, doing something akin to what I described earlier as the magic formula of MyBlogLog. I can say with a certain degree of confidence that the “Local Aggregator” feature on Nashville is Talking is one of the key reasons that an offline blogging community has flourished in Nashville.

Here is the part of the RSS/widget/Web 2.0-based would-be viral marketers should note. Don’t suck. If you are doing something that you want others to incorporate on their sites, then make sure it works — especially if you are Google and have billions.

If not, someone like Brittney will use her significant platform (at least to a sizable posse of engaged and active bloggers) to encourage them to turn a key component of their blog’s infrastructure over to your competitor.

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