The Heyday of the "Enthusiast Site"
Remember the old days – say, the early to mid-2000’s – when most online news consisted of straightforward stories centered around facts? These stories were typically pretty cut-and-dried, providing information on new products, corporate earnings, the latest executive scandal, etc. All done with minimal to no commentary and, most certainly, no trace of any particular passion either way. For the most part, the online world was still reporting news from the perspective of the newspaper that used to be called the Old Gray Lady.
At some point over the past few years, however, that all started to change. It began with the rise in popularity of blogs, which allowed people to expound on any number of subjects and articulate their own opinions. Eventually, many of these sites morphed into something that sort of resembles a news site, but more accurately can be termed “enthusiast sites.”
Enthusiast sites are designed to provide information to fans -- sometimes of the rabid variety -- of a particular line of products or specific topic. They’re different from blogs in that they’re typically maintained by more than a single person and report news just as much as opinion. In fact, they often have editorial mastheads, much like a traditional news outlet, and much of their content consists of company and product news, reviews, forum discussions, editorial commentary and more. The big difference is that enthusiast sites tend to slant their information much more positively toward the products or services they focus on.
They’re also a PR manager’s dream because they cater to a very vocal, active, targeted and engaged audience. Visitors to enthusiast sites typically have a very high interest in a specific product or service. They also spend a lot of time on these sites looking for the latest and greatest news. A site like iMore, which caters to the iPhone and iPad crowds, is a perfect example. There’s a ton of information there, much of it being shared amongst the very active forum members. If you have an iOS app that you’re trying to get reviewed, or a new iPad accessory you’ve just rolled out, this site should be at the top of your hit list.
iMore is just one of many. What’s great is that there are literally hundreds of these types of sites devoted to various aspects of the tech world, with more popping up every day. Sure, some have more readership than others, but even the smallest ones offer a great opportunity to get in front of the people you want to know about what you have to offer.
As we’ve discussed in this space before, the media landscape has changed a lot over the past few years. News is now being reported differently – and thousands of people who share similar interests and a passion about products (imagine that!) are visiting enthusiast sites every day to get their fix. They should definitely be on your PR radar.
- Pete Larmey
Image courtesy Nadham/HP Blog Hub