Getting an idea, product or blog noticed can be quite difficult, and things like Digg, Del.icio.us, and others might help you get some attention, but one of the sources I have found to be the best way to launch something is good old fashioned word of mouth.
I keep a pretty extensive friends list on my various e-mail accounts, and instant messaging clients. I also try to keep a few lists of people that I think will like what I am working on, or cover a similar niche.
How you can say things, and the methods you can use to contact various people depend on how developed your relationship is, but from my experience, people respond better to personal messages, than mass e-mailing or putting together a professional sounding press release. Don’t get me wrong, a press release works great if you have little to no relationship with someone you want to inform, but don’t expect a response from those people, no matter how great your release is in your mind.
The first people I talk to are family and friends. These are people I see here and there who might know someone that would be interested in the product, service or blog I am working on. I try not to make it the focus of a conversation, but I do bring it up for as long as possible near the end of the conversation. People seem to remember the last few things talked about much better than the first things talked about. I guess we all have pretty spotty memories.
For my second round, I like to tell people via an instant message client. I don’t pressure them into going right that second to check out what I am releasing, but instead I only explain the concept and ask them for feedback. People love to give their opinion on things, even if it is something they know nothing about, and they will be more likely to really look at what you have put out if you ask for their feedback.
After I have done that with as many people as possible, I move onto e-mailing various people. I write about three different e-mails, each with their own level of formality and tone. I want to make sure I am sending e-mails that have a business tone to people I don’t know well, and e-mails that are friendlier to my friends. I then try to personalize each e-mail with a sentence or two. This takes a fair bit of time, but much less than writing a custom e-mail for every person, but will most likely garner a much better response than mass e-mailing them all.
The fourth and final step is writing about it on my blog. This is really the least personal step of the whole process as I am just broadcasting. Any feedback I get, I try to respond to, and create a dialog, anything to spread the word of what I am doing farther and faster. This step usually brings back the least feedback, but sometimes the most traffic to whatever I am doing. This step also requires that your blog be a platform for your projects. If you skip this step, try to make sure someone else blogs about what you are doing. A broadcast like this can really help spread your idea, product or blog.