Lawyers blogging to spread word of their expertise often presume the goal is to reach key influencers. The idea being to have A-list bloggers and the traditional media cite you or your blog, the implication being that such key influencers are tacitly endorsing you as an authority to their many followers.

But Guy Kawasaki discovered an article in the December issue of the Journal of Advertising Research (online summary) finding ‘common word-of-mouth advertising by regular folks is more powerful than ‘key influencers.’

The study was co-authored by James Coyle, assistant professor of marketing at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, Elizabeth Lightfoot of CNET Networks, and Ted Smith and Amy Scott of MedTrackAler. They surveyed website visitors, conducted in-depth reviews, and analyzed website usage patterns. Coyle’s conclusion:

‘We find that trying to track down key influencers, people who have extremely large social networks, is typically unnecessary and, more importantly, can actually limit a campaign or advertisement’s viral potential. Instead, marketers need to realize that the majority of their audience, not just the well-connected few, is eager and willing to pass along well-designed and relevant messages.’

Guy was a little more blunt:

I think that most key influencers are pompous, insecure jerks who take themselves way too seriously. And I say this knowing that you can rightfully accuse me of being one of them. The marketing lesson is this: Create something great, sow fields (not window boxes), ‘let a hundred flowers blossom,’ and pray that ‘regular folks’ will spread the word.

I agree. Sowing my message that effective law blogging enhances your image and grows your business has blossomed more as a result of average folks like me spreading the word than via reaching the key influencers. We’ve all grown up with the desire to make the cover of the ‘Rolling Stone,’ but it may not be necessary.