At LockerGnome.net, TechnoKid7 writes:
I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I have a website about tech news and wold love to know how you capture such a big audience! I have tried all the social networking sites but it just doesn’t seem to be working. I hope you can give me some advice! Also, could you tell me the best way to get into doing tech reviews and unboxings without having to spend lots of money? Are there are any techniques that allow you to get the latest products and then review them without spending much money?
These are good questions, TechnoKid7. The problem here is that without an audience, OEMs are cautious about handing out review units. Review units are very helpful in giving you resources with which to base your content, but not entirely necessary in all cases. In fact, the best way to grow your audience doesn’t require any money at all.
Social media is quickly becoming the basis on which search engines base their page rankings. Your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) is one important step to help you gain some extra attention from folks searching for answers to questions they may have, but your ability to leverage social media will probably do a lot more to give you the boost in traffic and attention you need to begin to build your community.
Make no mistake: community is key to success in a modern blog. If you don’t have a community, then you have no expectation of regular traffic. This puts you in a very tough spot, especially in such a crowded niche.
Speaking of niches, have you considered narrowing your specific field down a bit? There are potentially millions of tech blogs on the Web today. Just about everyone that frequently reads tech blogs has probably at least thought about starting their own. This makes life harder for you, especially if you don’t have the financial backing of some big fish. By narrowing your niche a bit, you can better position yourself to be counted among the experts in your specific field. Instead of reporting on everything tech, try being the best source for news about one particular genre of products.
For example, a site that focuses specifically on DSLR cameras may have an advantage over one that focuses on all types of technology. You could narrow your field down to smartphones that appeal specifically to a certain group. Do reviews from the perspective of someone just like you, and your growing community will quickly relate.
The era of being able to create a popular general blog with little to no financial resources is quickly coming to a close. The best chance for you to make a name for yourself will probably be found in becoming the authority in a niche category. You don’t have to be the next Verge or Engadget to make lots of money doing what you love. Even a site specific to camera bags has plenty of room to grow.
While receiving review units shouldn’t be the focus of a new technology blog, the process for applying for them isn’t that complex. Do some legwork and establish relationships with OEMs and their respective PR groups. Reach out to them via email (you can usually find their contact information in the press area of the OEM’s main site) and let them know who you are and what your blog is about. More important, explain what demographic your blog targets. Even if you target 13-18 year old males, there is a possibility that the PR agency is looking to fill a gap in that particular area. At the very least, it never hurts to be put on their press mailing list.
You can also join a group of like-minded individuals that have gone through the steps of building a successful blog and/or business online. Gnomies was set up for this very reason, and is still available. Alternatively, you can seek out groups on Google+ or Facebook that share the same basic common interests. It never hurts to get advice from someone who has been there and done that.
Teenager Typing by Petr Kratochvil