Blog readers are influencers of your target audience is the subject of an excellent article from Beltway Blogroll.
Jerry Lawson, publisher of Netlawblog and my source for this post, was drawn to a few paragraphs in particular.
In a February 2004 study, George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet found that 69 percent of blog readers are ‘influentials, or opinion leaders and trendsetters with their friends and neighbors.’ Institute Director Carol Darr said in a recent interview that the news and political junkies who frequent blogs are like ‘honeybees, kind of feeding the culture’ with the information they gather and with their comments and diaries at the sites……One milestone came during the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, acknowledged having read blogs the night before and then asked Roberts a question based on a post at The Volokh Conspiracy.
A bigger breakthrough for the blogosphere came with the nomination of Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The nomination sparked a ‘blog swarm’ against Miers for her purported lack of credentials. The Bush administration hosted its first-ever conference calls with conservative bloggers to try to gain support for Miers, but she eventually withdrew her name from consideration.
A couple takeaways for law firms and professional services firms from this. One, even if RSS feeds of your blog reach a small percentage of your audience, the people the feeds reach will influence others in your target audience. Two, blogs have a huge viral marketing effect. People spread your message for you, something that does not happen with Websites and email newsletters.