The Long Tail of Open Source Marketing

Almost done with reading Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail. Although the book mainly focuses on the CD, DVD, books market, the principles can be applied to Open Source marketing, i.e. marketing an Open Source product. (Read the book anyway, because you’ll learn about fundamental changes in today’s economics!)

Most notably, I like the distinction between traditional media as pre-filters and social media as post-filters:

As such, in Long Tail markets, the role of filter then shifts from gatekeeper to advisor. Rather than predicting taste, post-filters such as Google measure it. […] In general, blogs are shaping up to be a powerful source of influential recommendations.

What we do at Mindquarry, is a mix of both, traditional (pre-filter) and social (post-filter) marketing. Something like a beta release of our software will be pushed via blogs, while a PR about a stable release will be send out to traditional media.

The interesting thing about social media is that a e.g. a blog entry need not come out latest 1 day after the beta release. Because blogs are a lot about the blogger’s individual authority, it’s still worth writing about a beta release even 2 weeks after it has been released.

Post-filters have a longer span of attention compared to pre-filters. This allows you to plan the PR for a stable release in a way that you first finish the work for traditional media (e.g. writing the respective press release) and after the release announcement you have 1 or 2 days to prepare the bloggers pitch or review guide.

There is one important exception to this rule: If you plan to “leak” exclusive information to a blogger or traditional media, you of course provide that info to them in advance of all others.

4 thoughts on “The Long Tail of Open Source Marketing

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