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A new study by NYU has revealed that blog chatter about upcoming CD releases does more to increase CD sales than how many "friends" an artist adds on MySpace. But the findings also tap into the potential of embracing customer evangelists in industries other than music.

Researchers at New York University's Stern Business School charted the number of blog posts about a new CD release for a month before and a month after its release to see if blog posts about a new CD release had any impact on sales.
The report, entitled "Does Chatter Matter?", tracked the sales of 108 CDs and discovered that there was a positive correlation between number of blog posts, and sales. Not earth-shattering, but here's more precise findings.
According to HypeBot, a new CD release that had at least 40 blog posts about it in the month leading up to release, enjoyed sales that were 400% higher than those for the average release.
A new CD release that had 250 or more blog posts about it in the month leading up to its release enjoyed sales that were 600% higher than those for the average release.
The researchers also discovered that while a higher number of 'friends' that an artist had on MySpace increased sales, the increase wasn't as great as those gained from blog posts.
The researchers attempt to explain why blogs mattered more than friends on MySpace:

Our hypothesis is that blogs and social networks matter independently for the following reasons. First, we believe that a considerable amount of effort goes into writing good blogs, and their authors feel passionate enough about the topic to spend the time writing and sharing them with others. Readers recognize good blogs and pay attention to them. Secondly, while blogs are largely unfiltered, some blog sites tend to have more authority than others. In other words, reputation helps them attract traffic that is in turn influenced by their content.

While I have been saying that blogging music fans help increase music sales for years, there's much more happening here. This is a validation that online evangelists drive sales. Think about it, isn't 'fan' just another word for 'evangelist'?
Thanks to social media, fans now have more tools than ever to promote their favorite products and brands online. And with new search tools popping up every day, companies have more ways than ever to find these fans.
But they still have to be smart enough to embrace them and empower them to market for them. Now that they have the research to prove that evangelists drive sales online, they have no more excuses.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier