Commenting on analyst blogs to build relationships with analysts on the cheap [Startup Saturday]

rocket-for-startups.jpgOne of the challenges for startups is how to build relationships with analysts when they do not have a services contract. Because many analyst firms put the analysts behind a paywall, startups cannot call up the analyst for an ad hoc conversation. Yes, one can do some relationship building via briefings and informal interactions at events, but not having client inquiry takes an important tool out of the AR tool box. Luckily, there is a new avenue for building relationships without requiring client status and that is commenting on the analysts’ blogs.

More and more analysts are writing blogs, either directly tied to their firm or as a personal branding tool. In addition, savvy analysts are using their blogs as idea development platforms to incorporate a broader community into their research work. This increased usage provides a huge opportunity for startups – and any AR team – to develop top-of-mind presence and a relationship. All bloggers appreciate good comments so a startup can leverage some of its unique market insights (see here and here) to contribute interesting content to their analysts’ blogs. The more the startup comments, the more aware the analyst will be and an online conversation can start that will spill out into the analog world without the need for a contract.  Don’t forget to mention if you have a blog as well.

Don’t stop with blogs, startups can also use other social media as well. Check to see if the analyst is on Twitter (see SageCircle’s Analyst Twitter Directory), Facebook and LinkedIn. If they are, then you can use each of those particular media in the appropriate manner to interact and deepen relationships with your analysts. However, do be careful that you do not step over the line and appear to be stalking.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Determine which of your top analyst have blogs (use a blog search tool, Tekrati’s Analyst Blog Directory or simply ask the analyst)
  • Add the analyst blog to your RSS
  • Review daily for opportunities to comment
  • Link to analyst blog entries from your own blog where appropriate
  • Interview your executives and domain experts for comment fodder even they will not comment directly
  • Check back to see if the analyst has commented on your comment to see if a response is appropriate

Bottom Line: Traditional analyst firms want to put their analysts in a walled garden. However, social media is starting to crumble the paywalls and smart startups can use this change in the market to build relationships with analysts until the startup can afford the services contracts that permit client inquiry.

Question:

Startups – Have you confirmed which of your tier 1 and tier 2 analysts have blogs? Do you regularly comment on relevant posts?

Analysts – At what point does a vendor step over the line from contributor to stalker? What advice would you offer startups on how to communicate with you via social media?

How SageCircle can Help: If you need advice about how to leverage social media to build awareness and relationships with analysts, check out SageCircle’s two-hour and five-hour advisory paks or Annual Advisory Service. The advisory paks are easy to setup and pay for via credit card. We can help you by:

  • Analyzing your analysts’ blogs and suggest content you could contribute via comment
  • Critiquing your comments before you post them
  • Suggesting tactics and providing best practices for using other forms of social media

For more information, visit our website or contact us at sales [at] sagecircle dot com or 650-274-8309.

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3 Responses

  1. Carter – this is a very interesting topic – glad you brought it up.

    Blogs are great for open discussion forums. However, I would warn startups against using blogs for free sale-pitches. They are a forum for inputting intelligent commentary and insight. Blog-masters will quickly block comments on their blogs that are entirely self-serving, or add no value.

  2. Hi Phi, Thanks for the great comment. I tried to emphasize that startups or other AR teams contribute value-added content, but I did not say what they should not do — sometimes the most important part. >>grin<< Other topics not appropriate are:

    * Try to persuade the analyst to do a briefing outside of the normal process for the firm (if the analyst is impressed with the comments, she will ask for a briefing)

    * Leave non-value added comments like “Great post!”

    * Leave too many comments where it feels like stalking

    Other no-no’s within the context of analyst-specific blogs?

  3. I get literally hundreds of comments from people in places like China, Eastern Europe and India… and I have to spend time either editing the English (because it makes little sense) or deleting them because they simply make no sense at all. And these are often from vendor execs in top tier companies. AR should train their clients on how to post effectively. Bloggers LOVE plenty of comments, so please do not see this advice as a discouragement… more of a “please comment MORE, but ensure it is of value add”. Moreover, don’t be scared to disagree with the blogger if you think he/she is talking garbage… that’s part of blogging culture… intelligent debate.

    Phil

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