Sunday, February 7

Experimenting With Social: Fresh Content Project

Toward the end of last year, I became increasingly interested in the affect of popularity on the content people choose to read. Specifically, I began to wonder what would happen if popularity was removed from the equation.

Would it change our perspective?

So, I set up an experiment of sorts. I began building a capped Twitter list of 300 communication-related professionals (currently at 230) and then worked with our communication manager to establish a baseline of blogs either authored by or referred to by members of the list. Today, it consists of more than 100. More will be added. There may or may not be a cap.

From those blogs, we narrow all the "Fresh Content" to choosing a single standout every weekday (with weekend posts spilling into Monday). There is no algorithm. And our approach is objective, though some might feel it is subjective. Whatever.

The pick process is simple enough. If we could only refer one post a day, what would it be? And, over time, will our list match some of those supported by popularity-based algorithms? Or would we find the best content really is the primary driver?

Originally, we were considering building another blog to support the "Fresh Content Project," but settled on a simpler approach. New picks appear in the footer of this blog; old picks will be summed up in a weekend recap as they fall off. At some point, we'll do something with the data. Worse case, we only end up cataloging a few good ideas from great people.

Best Fresh Content In Review, January 24-31

What PR Writers Really Need To Know About AP Style, Revisited.
Barbara Nixon makes a great case for public relations specialists to use the Associated Press Stylebook. She pinpointed five critical components that every student might start with before digging deeper into the one book most journalists and editors turn to when they have questions about writing.

No More Websites. Only Publishers.
Some people might think that Mitch Joel is only stating the obvious when he wrote that Websites are not Websites anymore, but his presentation of the facts cuts through the clutter. Producing online content makes your company a publisher, and consumers are much more interested in reading content that engages and evolves rather than traditional sites designed to be not much more than online brochures.

There's No Money In Content Creation.
The always insightful Valeria Maltoni wrote a post that provides insight on why great content matters. One of several gems that really stand out in the post is how she reminds writers that readers can tell when you aren't passionate about a post. She's right. More than that, she also shares how great content can help the writer as much as the audience they hope to reach.

Why Customers Will Fan Your Facebook Page.
Jay Ehret pinpointed an observation (with data) that we have been kicking around the office for some time — online consumers do not represent a single public. For evidence, take a look at the research, which suggests different Facebook fans become fans for very different reasons. It begs the question: Are you delivering enough to meet all their needs?

Social Media Boundaries.
The topic has been covered in posts and workshops before, but Gini Dietrich shared her personal approach to setting boundaries online, which serves as a great example for people who are new to social networks and might feel overwhelmed. I have boundaries too. Most people who are engaged do, for one reason or another. That is how we find more time.

Scott Brown Tops Coakley in Massachusetts Election.
Larry Kim provides insight on why social media polling matters in the political arena. The post includes some compelling data that reveals Scott Brown was gaining as much momentum online as he was on the ground. For additional insight, the post breaks down search volume by each city using Google trends.

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