Monday, March 7

Closing The Count: Popularity Vs. Quality

Fresh ContentThis is an imperfect accounting of the Fresh Content Project, but the case is made. There is no correlation between popularity and content quality. None at all. Not a stitch.

When comparing fresh pick authors against Alexa traffic measures*, the scale is neither right side up nor upside down. The better call is semi-random. It seems to be semi-random because marketing makes up the difference. The more people market their content, the more popular their blogs. Nothing more or less.

Ergo, the people in the top spots make it their business to be there. The people who do not have a different business.

The following is a list of 84 of 250 Fresh Content providers. There might have beeen an oversight. If there is, it isn't intentional. Visit the link for each quarterly list.

Likewise, some positions may change in the final report or ebook. And, there are many ways to consider the count. For example, combining multi-author blog picks would elevate several. For the purposes of this round up, we concentrated on authors.

There is also no distinction drawn for frequency. Looking at the percentage of posts published vs. the percentage of those picked could suggest some very different conclusions. So can looking at this list in such a raw form. Because it is not a rank.

beansThis list is nothing more than a count — determined by picking a single post per weekday. We then compared this count to Alexa global traffic (*hardly a perfect measure) but against those that are listed. In some cases, we identified non-principal authors as contributors, showing the rank of the blog they contributed to as opposed to their personal blogs.

Please keep in mind that the list is not an endorsement per se and we may have a different outlook on some blogs today. But specific to the experiment, there were many days when five fresh pick posts might be published (and we only picked one) as well as days when a post that would have never been picked suddenly soared to the top.

But all that aside, taking a look at the list shows how 'semi-random' popularity can be. The complete list of fresh pick authors is below.

84 Fresh Content Authors From A Field Of 250.

1. Valeria Maltoni. Communication, Traffic Rank 23.

2. Geoff Livingston. Communication, Traffic Rank 35.

3. Ike Piggot. Communication, Traffic Rank 55.

4. Ian Lurie. Internet Marketing, Traffic Rank 12.

5. Jason Falls. Social Media, Traffic Rank 13.

6. Roger Dooley. Neuromarketing, Traffic Rank 24.

7. Adam Singer. Digital Marketing, Traffic Rank 18.

8. Brian Solis. Social Media, Traffic Rank 8.

9. Bob Conrad. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 66.

10. Louis Gray. Technology, Traffic Rank 31.

11. Bill Sledzik. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 69.

12. Jay Ehret. Marketing, Traffic Rank 33.

13. Chris Brogan. Social Media, Traffic Rank 3.

14. Danny Brown. Social Media, Traffic Rank 14.

15. Lee Odden. SEO, Traffic Rank 5.

16. Beth Harte. Marketing, Traffic Rank 45.

17. John Bell. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 41.

18. Dave Fleet. Digital Media, Traffic Rank 34.

19. Shel Holtz. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 42.

20. Mitch Joel. Digital Marketing, Traffic Rank 20.

21. Andrew Weaver. Traffic Rank 70.*

22. Jay Baer. Social Media, Traffic Rank 15.

23. Jeff Bullas. Social Media, Traffic Rank 16.

24. Jeremiah Owyang. Web Strategy, Trafic Rank 11.

25. Arik Hason. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 39.

26. Jed Hallam. Social Media, Traffic Rank 61.

27. Kami Watson Huyse. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 49.

28. Jennifer Riggle. Marketing, Traffic Rank 36.

29. Maria Reyes-McDavis. SEO, Traffic Rank 33.

30. Dan Zarrella. Social Media, Traffic Rank 21.

31. Gini Dietrich. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 22.

32. Heather Rast. Branding, Contributor Rank 13.

33. Jeremy Myers. Internet Marketing, Traffic Rank 59.

34. Ben Decker. Communication, Traffic Rank 48.

35. Jon Jantsch. Marketing, Traffic Rank 6.

36. Mike Schaffer. Social Media, Traffic Rank 62.

37. David Armano. Digital Marketing, Traffic Rank 26.

38. Marketing Profs. Marketing, Traffic Rank 4.

39. Amber Nusland Social Media, Traffic Rank 27.

40. Olivier Blanchard. Social Media, Traffic Rank 28.

41. Priya Ramesh. Marketing, Traffic Rank 36.

42. Doug Davidoff. Public Relations, Contributor Rank 22.

43. Didi Lutz Public Relations, Contributor Rank 22.

44. Len Kendell. Marketing, Contributor Rank 22.

45. Patrick Collins. Branding, Traffic Rank 55.

46. Francois Gossieaux. Marketing, Traffic Rank 52

47. Shane Kinkennon. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 63.

48. Anna Barcelos. Marketing, Contributor Rank 22.

49. Pamela Wilson Writing, Contributor Rank 2.

50. Adam Vincenzini Social Media, Traffic Rank 44.

51. Carl Haggerty. Communication, Traffic Rank 66.

52. Kyle Flaherty. Communication, Traffic Rank 68.

53. Mike Cassidy Social Media, Contributor Rank 15.

54. Rachel Kay. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 64.

55. Sean Williams. Social Media, Traffic Rank 67.

56. Sree Sreenivasan. Journalism, Contributor Rank 1.

57. Lauren Fernandez. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 54.

58. Lisa Barone. Branding, Traffic Rank: 7.

59. Sean D'Souza. Writing, Contributor Rank 2.

60. Jordan Cooper. Branding, Contributor Rank 13.

61. Taylor Lindstrom. Writing, Contributor Rank 2.

62. Rob Reed. Mobile, Traffic Rank 46.

63. Peter Himler Public Relations, Traffic Rank 57.

64. Christina Kerley. B2B Marketing, Traffic Rank 47.

65. Michelle Bowles. SEO, Contributor Rank 5.

66. Audrey Watters. SEO, Contributor Rank 5.

67. Larry Kim. Social Media, Contributor Rank 2.

68. Jonathan Fields. Social Media, Traffic Rank 17.

69. Kristi Hines. Blog Marketing, Traffic Rank 10

70. Barbara Nixon. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 56.

71. Aaron Brazell. Social Media, Traffic Rank 31.

72. Mark Smiciklas. Social Media, Contributor Rank: 13.

73. Joel Postman. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 51.

74. Callan Paola. Advertising, Contributor Rank 40

75. Jason Keith. Social Media, Traffic Rank: Social Media, Traffic Rank 38

76. Erin Greenfield. Public Relations, Contributor Rank 43.

77. David Meerman Scott. Public Relations, Traffic Rank 25.

78. Ted Page. Advertising, Traffic Rank 58.

79. Christian Arno Social Media, Contributor Rank 16.

80. Julien Smith. Internet Marketing, Traffic Rank 19.

81. Kelly Day. Advertising, Traffic Rank 40

82. Chris Koch. Marketing, Traffic Rank 50.

83. Ari Herzog. Social Media, Traffic Rank 29.

84. Marta Majewska. Social Media, Traffic Rank 60.

85-250. It Doesn't Matter. Traffic Rank: 1-250.

There is nothing to be gained from listing the 160+ blogs that never saw a post picked. While it is true that several land at the top of some lists, this experiment always aimed to celebrate authors rather than disparage them. Being picked even once ought to be an achievement given the caliber of the people writing content on a daily basis.

If quality doesn't equal popular than why do some blogs become popular?

Fresh ContentIf popularity is your objective, it all comes down to common sense. Market your product heavily. Investing time in social networks and money (design, search engine optimization, and traditional marketing) will accelerate readership until hitting a proverbial tipping point where popularity can propel the project forward alongside marketing.

It's much more difficult to publish quality. In fact, quality seems to make little difference at all, with grocery vanilla, not flavored content drawing more interest. No, processed content is not better for your readers. It's only better for you.

You can see it traffic numbers across the board — 2007 was a defining year for communication bloggers. Social networks provided an opportunity for blast marketing. Never mind what some people advise. Those who poured on between 50,000 to 100,000 tweets saw traffic spikes (50-60 per day).

And that was only Twitter. There were dozens of others too (some now long forgotten). And, there was a surge in opportunities for grassroots marketing, everything from business card books to speaker droughts. Some even called for businesses to be more human while stripping away any human element from their home pages and replacing it with hard cold sales messages.

There is nothing wrong with any of it. But there most certainly is a difference. Anyone who worked hard to position themselves at the top deserves some admiration in that anyone could have but did not. However, don't think for a minute that heavy marketing (time or money) is any indication of someone being better than someone else. On any given day, number 32, 84, 156, or 245 could have been number one.

"Is a single leaf any more or any less part of a tree because of the length of the branch it grows or the proximity of other leaves around it or its current condition without regard to the potential it will achieve? Well then, there is your answer." — Rich Becker
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