Showing posts with label Fresh Content Providers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fresh Content Providers. Show all posts

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

Sunday, January 16

Ranking Content: Fresh Content Providers, Fourth Quarter

Fresh Content ProvidersThis is the fourth and final quarter that Copywrite, Ink. has published a snapshot of its year-long experiment called the Fresh Content Project, which puts popularity to the test.

We tracked more than 250 blogs, daily, and picked a single standout post per day (with weekend posts spilling into Monday). There is no algorithm. It's a human decision-making process, one that considers content and context.

If you have missed any posts along the way, you can find them in one of two places, with weekly recaps of why the posts stood out on this blog under Fresh Content Project or on Facebook, where the links are provided without commentary.

There were 36 Fresh Content providers in the first quarter; 38 Fresh Content providers in the second quarter; 39 Fresh Content providers in the third quarter; and 38 in the fourth.

If there was any noteworthy trend in the fourth quarter of the Fresh Content Project, it was the number of guest contributors chosen, some even writing a blog post for the first time. This may even be one of the lessons you can take away from the project. On any given day, almost anyone can provide some insights that are better than those at the top of any list.

Following are 38 communication-related professionals who wrote Fresh Content picks. While some are suited for specific tastes, the top of this list (those who were picked more than once) demonstrated unwavering consistency in writing something fresh. The comments are yours.

38 Fresh Content Communicators By Quality Of Content

1. Valeria Maltoni consistently provides topical articles about business and communication, which often translates into useful and applicable information. Recently, her content has taken a more conversational tone, but even with the shift in presentation the conversation opens more doors for consideration.

2. Nowadays Ike Pigott splits his posts between Occam's RazR and Social Media Explorer, which recently adopted a funky home landing page. No matter where you find his analogies and insights, expect crisp writing across a variety of topics.

3. Especially in December, Geoff Livingston excelled at turning popular communication topics on their head, sometimes blowing holes in concepts that are poorly constructed despite nagging popularity. Reading Geoff Livingston is one of a handful of places you can find a foil.

4. After following popular topics for months, Danny Brown broke away from the trappings of sameness to deliver several biting commentaries on the state of social media. Doing so helped us appreciate that reading Danny Brown can be educational and insightful anytime he rubs against the grain.

5. Ian Lurie is an independent thinker when it comes to choosing topics related to Internet marketing in that he doesn't seem to belong to or follow any social media-communication-marketing bubbles that exist. Personally, we found his blog, Conversation Marketing, one of the best discoveries since the Fresh Content project started.

6. Adam Singer blends web markering and public relations at The Future Buzz, including well-thought analysis on topics such as why independent bloggers have better blogs than their corporate blog counterparts. What you'll like best about his blog is his consistent approach to multi-discipline thinking.

7. Shel Holtz has been a mainstay in communication for as long as I can remember. His blog, A Shel Of My Former Self, remains a must-include among the communication offerings out there because he often provides a thoughtful commentary on what could be done better from a strategic standpoint. The only time he raises a cautionary flag is when he leans too heavily on "should" instead of could.

8. Louis Gray, author of LouisGray.com,
leans toward the technological side of communication, frequently infusing hardware along with the software and social networks that everyone else seems to cover. Add him to your reader to round out what communicators need to know to keep pace with change.

9. Jay Baer's Convince & Convert may be running a bit thinner since the release of his book, but there still is value to be found from time to time. Among his best thoughts in the fourth quarter is why Facebook could be hurting company web sites and why public relations firms are still struggling with social media. Conversely, Baer sometimes writes from both sides of the fence.

10. You would see much more from Bob Conrad if he didn't have a day job. But that is also why The Good, The Bad, The Spin is one of the best examples of why not all great communication blogs peak in popularity. He's too busy doing to be overly concerned with the promotion of it all.

11. If you haven't discovered that some understanding of psychology and sociology has become increasingly important in communication, spend more time with Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley. He's tapped one of the least understood aspects of communication and marketing, stuff we only cover occasionally around here.

12. It's great to see Beth Harte adding more content to the communication conversation again. The Harte Of Marketing nearly slipped from the radar for nothing more than time management, but Harte has recently added more worthwhile content, with an emphasis on strategy.

13. Didi Lutz is one of the newer voices we were introduced to in the fourth quarter for a contribution to Spin Sucks. She is one of several people in the fourth quarter who prove you don't necessarily have to have a blog to have great ideas.

14. John Bell works on the public relations side at Ogilvy, but consistently provides public relations pros with a taste of advertising. Digital Influence Mapping Project delivers on the promise of 360-degree thinking, which will likely be one of the lessons learned from this year-long experiment.

15. Heather Rast, writing for Social Media Explorer, seems to have been inspired to write deeper and more meaningful content than when we were first introduced to her in the third quarter. On her own blog, Insights & Ingenuity, there is a greater emphasis on marketing and branding from an operational perspective that we found even richer and more enjoyable.

16. Gini Dietrich and Spin Sucks deserve props for two reasons this quarter. In addition to providing several worthwhile contributions to the field, Spin Sucks introduced more hard-hitting guest authors than any other multi-author site this time around. While it sometimes waffles back and forth between idle and instructional, you can always count on good content.

17. Based in New York, Peter Himler doesn't provide nearly as much content as he used to on The Flack, sharing short content and video embeds instead. However, every few months he writes a post that resonates in helping people understand some of the changes taking place in the profession.

18. Doug Davidoff, CEO of Imagine Business Development, is another Spin Sucks contributor who demonstrates why communicators need to pay attention not only to what their peers say but also their employers. If you are not thinking about business, then you're not really thinking is one bit of advice that could be pulled from his contributions there.

19. Although Ben Decker and Kelly Decker are two people, it was their joint post on the top ten best and worst communicators of the year that earned some well-deserved attention in the fourth quarter. In fact, it is the occasional long-format addition to the Decker blog that will convince you to keep it in the reader.

20. Jason Falls has been hard pressed lately while he tries to balance being an author and an editor/manager on Social Media Explorer, but there is little doubt that he understands social media more than most. The transition probably hasn't been easy, and by now Falls has probably learned that multi-author blogs are harder to manage than writing most posts yourself.

21. Kami Huyse continues to offer up the occasional breakthrough post at Communications Overtones. With sixteen years of experience, it's no surprise that her thoughts on outcome-related measurement are among the best in the business, especially while many focus on counts that don't lead anywhere.

22. Erin Greenfield may be a student, but her contribution to Waxing UnLyrical demonstrates how sometimes the best lessons come not from years of experience but rather the single experience of learning the hard way. Her inclusion also proves that on any given day, someone who writes their first blog post can outshine every other contribution.

23. Adam Vincenzini's writing is sometimes a little rough around the edges, but we still consider COMMSCorner to be one of those blogs that we wish we had been tracking longer as part of the Fresh Content lists. His thinking is fresh, not always overburdened by the challenges other communicators seem to struggle with.

24. Jason Keath, who is the founder of a social media education company, offers up his problem-solving insights that tend to be a blend of applying some of the new tools emerging within the space. He also keeps up on several innovations and interesting campaigns that work hard to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds. You can find his blog here.

25. It's hard not to appreciate social media insights from Jeff Bullas and his blog. Lately, however, there has been a bit of a shift as Bullas has become somewhat more enamored by his success and is starting to offer a lot more "me" content than we've seen previously. No worries. He'll likely get back on track this year.

26. Pamela Wilson is one of several contributors to Copyblogger who has expressed some keen insight into myth-busting, especially as it pertains to online design and search engines. What we like best about Wilson is that she thinks beyond design being pretty and more about it enhancing communication and generating outcomes (usually purchases). She's one to watch. We wish she had her own blog.

27. Dave Fleet has hosted Conversations At The Intersection Of Communications, PR And Social Media for some time. And, like many longtime communication bloggers, he has significantly reduced his postings over time. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does make us miss when he was much more active in the space.

28. Priya Ramesh is the director of social media for CRT-tanaka who helps keep the venerable BuzzBin alive by infusing some common sense into social media. Several times in the fourth quarter, Ramesh has offered reminders that the best place to start with social media is by conducting an audit in order to provide a better benchmark.

29. Christina Arno joins one of several dozen guest bloggers who turned our heads in the fourth quarter. Her post on the Jeff Bullas blog resonated in that if companies hope to grow globally, they really ought to start considering translations that help people all over the world understand content.

30. There may be a bit of sensationalized writing at the Blogging Bookshelf sometimes, but Tristan Higbee is a sharp thinker and a seasoned blogger. Like many communication-related bloggers in the fourth quarter, we were happy to discover him as a guest writer for one of more than 250 blogs we were tracking.

31. While Captains of Industry seems to have lost some steam last year, Ted Page, chief creative director, wrote just enough worthwhile content to hold our interest. Among them was an insightful interview with musician Kevin Connolly that demonstrates why communication can stand to learn from a variety of seemingly unrelated disciplines.

32. It's hard to fathom anyone not including ReadWriteWeb in their reader. In the fourth quarter, the one author there that caught our attention was Audrey Watters, who is a little less known than many of her colleagues but no less prolific. Most often she approaches content like a reporter, which is frequently a refreshing change against the backdrop of opinions.

33. Brian Solis continues to do a solid job at leveraging his presence to provide more in-depth analysis and reporting on various social networks that are emerging in the social media space. Having read Brian Solis for so long, the transition from his early roots in social media is as interesting as his best posts.

34. Taylor Lindstrom is another contributing author (and editor) for the well-known Copyblogger. She doesn't write there all that often, but it's always interesting when she does. Among our favorites in the fourth quarter was her take on why writing doesn't need to be difficult (even if it isn't easy). She reminds people that good writing starts by writing something, anything.

35. Jorden Cooper is a professional stand-up comedian, which made it all the more enjoyable to discover that his thoughts on social media made more sense than many thoughts offered up by "social media experts." He sometimes lends welcome wit to Social Media Explorer.

36. The best reason to follow Jeremiah Owyang is the occasional comprehensive report he provides from the archives and analytics being done at the Alimeter Group. It doesn't happen very often, but you can make sure you capture one or two by subscribing to Web Strategy.

37. Lately, David Armano seems a little less like the David Armano that made many people read his work at Logic + Emotion. Part of the challenge seems to be that, much like Edleman, he is chasing the elusive (and nonexistent) influence metrics grail. He's best to read when he writes from his core: how design contributes to communication.

38. Although Mark Smiciklas has his own blog, it was his cross-posted content on Social Media Explorer that created an introduction of sorts. While we don't agree with every facet of his model, there is something to be said for starting to think about how online and offline communication might work better together.

Saturday, October 23

Ranking Content: Fresh Content Providers, Third Quarter

Fresh Content ProvidersThis is the third quarter that Copywrite, Ink. has published a snapshot of its year-long experiment called the Fresh Content Project, which puts popularity to the test.

We track more than 250 blogs, daily, and pick a single standout post per day (with weekend posts spilling into Monday). There is no algorithm. It's a human decision-making process, one that considers content and context. And sometimes we promote solid posts beyond the pick of the day because this isn't a contest.

If you have missed any posts along the way, you can find them in one of two places, with weekly recaps of why the posts stood out on this blog under Fresh Content Project or on Facebook, where the links are provided without commentary.

There were 36 Fresh Content providers in the first quarter. There were 38 Fresh Content providers in the second quarter. And this time around, July 1 to Sept. 30, we found 39.

Some names are new. Some names appear with surprising frequency. Some names aren't here this time. There isn't much to speculate about. Likewise, if the ranking has changed or if they were included before, it doesn't mean they are any less of an author. Anyone in any quarter deserved to be included (and there are plenty not listed that deserve to be here too).

So, below are 39 communication-related professionals who wrote Fresh Content picks in the third quarter of 2010. While some are suited for specific tastes, the top of this list (those who were picked more than once) ought to be in your reader.

All of them represent some of the freshest, most relevant content related to communication. And, we look forward to reading more of their fresh content in the next quarter along with even more new and fresh faces. The comments are yours.

39 Fresh Content Communicators By Quality Of Content

1. Valeria Maltoni bills herself as someone who brings people together, but she is much more than that. The Conversation Agent continues to blend business and communication, offering up what communicators and marketers need to know as opposed to what they want to hear. More often than not, Maltoni's post make you think.

2. Ike Pigott consistently demonstrates the difference between quality vs. quantity. He's one of the few people who doesn't write for search engines and social juice. He just writes, making Occam's RazR a well-crated experiment in analogies that stick. Read him if you like to think.

3. Since Geoff Livingston started writing his second book, his personal blog has shifted much more toward a topic he understands better than most. While he has a passion for causes, Livingston cuts through the popularity equations with common sense. He takes his arguments to people rather than waiting for them to come around.

4. Ian Lurie has been doing something few people who understand SEO ever do. He pokes holes in prominent theories that more SEO specialists use to fluff themselves up. Seriously, almost every SEO specialist I've ever met practically smirks and winks when they talk about putting people on the first page. On Conversational Marketing, he uses the same SEO tools to prove why they're wrong.

5. When it comes to subjects nobody else wants to touch, Bob Conrad is quick to deliver. You don't always have to agree with every argument at The Good, The Bad, The Spin, but you will find any conversational topic well considered with a fresh perspective. Conrad first appeared on Fresh Content as a rule breaker, and nowadays you might consider him one of the fearless few too.

6. What marketers sometimes forget is that the more you delve into social connections, the more you're really talking about psychology. Roger Dooley continues to dazzle with some of the best studies that consider human behavior on the one-to-one and one-to-many scale. Neuromarketing needs to be on the must-read list of any student.

7. Not every post tossed up on the Social Media Explorer is written by Jason Falls anymore. In fact, many of his contributing writers have been newly added to the Fresh Content Project. However, make no mistake, any time Falls sets out to write something unpopular, it will shed light on black hat tactics that other people want to quietly take advantage of.

8. Leave It To Weaver is an eclectic mix of art, business, common sense, communication, employment, and anything else that happens to strike Andrew Weaver. Such a mixed bag won't always attract the most usual suspects, but that is what makes the reading fresh. You never know what to expect, but it will almost never be what everyone else is talking about.

9. Communications Conversations by Arik Hanson features standout contributions over the last few months that include a case study that recaps what works with proximity online marketing and how not to conduct blogger outreach. He contributes more, much more than that.

10. Social media strategist Mike Schaffer frequently infuses his fascination with pop culture into lessons for social media pros and business communicators alike at The Buzz by Mike Schaffer. He also happens to be one of the shrinking pool of advocates for strategies ahead of tactics. Follow his blog for short, punchy content with a pop culture communication twist and some surprisingly deep insight now and again.

11. Sometimes people cringe when they see picks that include Chris Brogan, especially in that he seems to be opting into a Seth Godin-like approach, with shorter posts spilling out at a higher frequency (sometimes infused with video). However, the flip side of the coin is that he sometimes strikes a chord with simple wisdom on how to do things. Chris Brogan adds value when you look for it.

12. Brian Solis also has a blog I've been told is past prime. And yet, the Brian Solis blog, once or twice every few months, offers up some of the most comprehensive study recaps. He makes it much easier for other people to be able to build upon those results. If there is a downside, it's only that Soils is sometimes caught up in the quantifiable measurement game. Others are welcome to disagree.

13. Rob Reed, the founder of Max Gladwell, doesn't have a personal Twitter account that I know of, but you can follow the agency's stream. Lately, he has been focused mostly on the future of communication as it pertains to mobile. It's smart to read him for this reason alone. One addition to his thinking: While most people think of mobile as phones, it really means the future of all devices.

14. Although John Bell works in public relations, you're likely to find a taste of advertising agency thinking too at his blog, Digital Influence Mapping Project. That stands to reason as Bell is part of the Ogilvy team. But what makes him someone to add to your reader is simpler than that. There are very few people in social media that understand the agency perspective.

15. Beth Harte had temporarily cut back on blogging a few months ago, but has since picked up the pace at The Harte Of Marketing. There you will find someone who shares a belief in the integration of traditional and "modern" communication. Her approach comes from a career of understanding the classical tenets of marketing, which some people still struggle with.

16. Adam Singer continues to expand on his offerings at The Future Buzz, including keen corrections when colleagues offer an analysis that misses the mark. We need more of it. Anything that helps bridge the gap between business and communication is welcome, given tomorrow's communicator will need an increasingly aggressive multi-disciplined approach to everything.

17. You won't find Ann Barcelos writing feverishly at Ten24. But when she does contribute to Spin Sucks, you'll want to take some time to read. The post that caught our eye this cycle touched on behavioral groups. She also co-moderator of #IMCChat on Twitter.

18. Also writing a guest post for Spin Sucks was Len Kendall, who is better known for sharing content from The3Six5's Posterous. There he tends to blend communication with a confessional bent. However, what you might not see is that he is deep in industry insight. Read his guest posts anywhere, and you'll know he's immersed.

19. Heather Rast was another surprise find via the new mutliple-author approach at Social Media Explorer. She also writes her own blog at Insights & Ingenuity. If you follow her blog, expect to find an emphasis on customer service and satisfaction. Given that social media tends to be a one-to-many-to-one conversation, it might make sense to pay attention.

20. Although the new pop-up on the site is a killer, Jeff Bullas continues to infuse plenty of posts with moment-to-moment insights on Internet and social network trends and what they might mean. What makes that work for JeffBullas.com is the insight. While anyone can recap a report, not everyone can make those reports meaningful. Bullas does.

21. The Social Media Scientist Dan Zerrella always presents some fascinating reads, especially because he tests them. Sometimes they might seem routine, such as when is the best time to share a post on Facebook (although I'm not certain about that one). Other times, they are riveting because they prove that the number of "followers" doesn't mean anything in terms of click-through rates.

22. Rachel Kay doesn't write many posts. But when she does, it's fully thought out, casual, and comfortable. We're still talking about her Twitter Earthquake post. Another post worth mentioning is her take on killer cover letters for job applicants. If you follow her, expect the occasional great read because she only publishes now and again.

23. We caught Mike Cassidy in transition, so we are still getting used to his new digs at Leadership … For Good. There is a much heavier emphasis on nonprofit communication and leadership. We caught some of his best work as a guest blogger for Convince & Convert.

24. Jed Hallam is continuing to offer some worthwhile conversations via Rock Star PR. One of the aspects that makes his writing fresh is Hallam tends to ask the right questions, which also seem to be those that nobody else is asking. He can do it because he successfully blends the data with real life interactions.

25. Lee Odden is best known for TopRank and his ability to focus in on trends and then provide some strategic SEO thinking on why the approach might or might not work. Recently, for example, he tackled the irritating concept of duplicate content sites, a tactic that some believe help them achieve better SEO results. They don't. Much like Hallam, Odden recognizes that it's more important to consider the people using search engines than the search engines themselves.

26. I have to be honest. As much as I enjoy Copyblogger, the tried and true format sometimes wears thin. So, perhaps it is that reason why when someone goes a bit deeper like Sean D’Souza did this cycle, it makes the blog all the more worthwhile. If you are going to follow someone at Copyblogger, make sure he makes the cut.

27. Lately, Francois Gossieaux has been posting link roundups at Emergence Marketing, but when he is a little less busy, he'll knock off some fresh content too. Consider his post talking about community and cautioning people against filling it with shills and shells who will never visit again. Smart stuff.

28. Any time someone gives the baseline communication a wake-up call — that companies are putting up content that is not engaging, participatory, or helpful — like Shane Kinkennon did, we take notice. He's right. The only reasons Websites don't feel relevant has nothing to do with the platform and everything to do with what is on it. You'll find more great content on his blog.

29. If I were handing out medals over who might make me smile with a headline, Jeremy Myers is free to move to the front of the line. Even today, when double checking links, I chuckled when I read "Online advertising isn't the problem. Crappy advertising is the problem." You'll find that post, along with several others that have been kept in the Fresh Content Pick reader, at Jeremy Myers.

30. Lisa Barone is another new addition for her Out Spoken. Originally, she caught our eye because of her hard stand against copy mills. It was needed, given that some people are starting to think that luring consumers to a site is more important than giving them anything of value. Since adding her to the list, we've noted several more good ideas. And you will too.

31. Best known as the quieter coauthor of Trust Agents is Julien Smith's In Over Your Head. Interestingly enough, he landed here for advice given to Mitch Joel. While the advice is solid from a formulaic approach, Smith forgets that people read Joel because he is Joel. As long as Joel doesn't succumb to the pressure of popularity, the advice is sound for people who care about such things. Still, Smith's advice cannot be dismissed outright. He has a point, perhaps not for Joel, but for other people struggling to find a voice.

32. Jay Ehret aka The Marketing Guy on Twitter offers up increasingly bite-sized bits of advice that make sense for the small business owner. His favorite subject at The Marketing Spot is branding, but there is enough diversity beyond that. Occasionally, he writes about our least favorite tactics, like tricks to get your posts in top news on people's Facebook pages, but otherwise we love his big picture stuff.

33. Kami Huyse has been contributing to social media with a public relations perspective via Communications Overtones for some time. Lately, she has been focused on various social media measurement models that include our longstanding view that outcomes matter (and so does brand equity). We picked up one her posts as a fresh pick, after she applied her thinking to a case study centered around CitizenGuif.

34. Duct Tape Marketing has seemed a little sparse lately, but most people know to expect some great advice from John Jantsch now and again. The one we caught this cycle centered in on the content of a "thank you" page and how most companies don't consider that this brief bit of communication could add value for the customer and the company. It might seem obvious, but that is the point.

35. The primary posts to look for on the Web Strategy blog by Jeremiah Owyang are any where he shares matrix maps or comprehensive in-house studies. Beyond that, Owyang does a great job keeping tabs on moves within the industry. It might help you to know.

36. Louis Gray, author of LouisGray.com approaches most of his posts more like a reporter. When there is a new study or newsworthy story with a tech/social media focus, you'll likely find some in-depth coverage and commentary. In the last cycle, he picked up on his coverage of real-time states for Blogger. It's no surprise he's already been featured as a Fresh Pick in the fourth quarter.

37. Reading the "final post" on ToughSledding by Bill Sledzik, some people took pause in the realization that Sledzick still has work to do online. The good news is that his final post is a work in progress. What you can expect are plenty of great lessons with long gaps between writings. He brings plenty of common sense to the table, including a healthy reminder that few truths in social media actually originate there.

38. Sometimes, sharing the right information at the right time is enough. And that is how I (heart) SOCIAL MEDIA landed in the Fresh Pick pile this time around, offering up an infographic on how to quick start a social media program for business. It's not perfect, but good enough that I plan to incorporate it in an upcoming class. You can find the blog author, Marta Majewska, on Twitter too. Of course.

39. While her old blog is no more, Amber Naslund is still creating and repurposing on the rebranded Brass Tack Thinking. One of the best of the bunch was in early July, warning people away from the looniness of the Fast Company Influence Project. Brass Tack is still a fine blog, with a little more emphasis on self-development as it pertains to online community managers.

Sunday, July 18

Ranking Content Providers: Fresh Content Project, Second Quarter

For those who don't know (or maybe forgot), Copywrite, Ink. is running a year-long experiment called the Fresh Content Project, which puts popularity to the test. By eliminating the popularity equation from about 250 blogs, we pick a single standout post per day (with weekend posts spilling into Monday). There is no algorithm.

In fact, we don't even tally daily picks until the end of each quarter. And, after kicking it around the office, we decided not to keep year-to-date tallies either. Each quarter can stand on its own. We'll recount it all, every post, at the end of this year.

Last quarter, we published 36 Fresh Content Communicators. This quarter, April 1 to June 30, we found 38. Some names are new. Some of last quarter's names didn't make the cut.

What does that mean? It could mean anything. It might mean their best posts landed on a day when someone wrote something better. It might mean they're on vacation or haven't written in some time. Some have already been fresh picks in the third quarter. So suffice to say, this experiment isn't about winning and losing and there is no possible way to game it.

The way we see it, anyone included last quarter or this quarter has provided some invaluable content. And in our book that makes anyone who reads their blogs the real winners. Also, in terms of ranking, there is no correlation between the first quarter and second quarter. Nobody really rose and nobody really fell. If you think otherwise, wait until the end of the year.

So, below are 38 communication-related professionals who provided Fresh Content picks in the second quarter of 2010. While some are suited for specific tastes, the top of this list (with more than one pick) ought to be in your reader.

The folks below represent some of the freshest, most original content related to communication today. And, we look forward to reading more of their fresh content in the third quarter along with even more new and fresh faces. The comments are yours.

38 Fresh Content Communicators By Quality Of Content

1. Valeria Maltoni continues to blend communication strategy into everything she does at the Conversation Agent. Some regular readers might have noticed Maltoni is favoring tighter posts lately. In this case, tighter might not be better but it doesn't hurt either. Maltoni belongs on your daily read list. Her posts consistently land on the top of the pile.

2. Last time around, we called Ike Pigott an undervalued smart guy who pens Occam's RazR. In the last three months, he has only gotten better, with one of his posts still considered the best we read all year. His ability to simplify subjects by employing analogy and storytelling is a rare treat to read. Even when there isn't room to be the top pick of the day, Pigott always provides something within the top three.

3. We made Adam Singer smile over the idea that The Future Buzz might have been overly bullet heavy last quarter. You won't find it that way anymore, and it makes for memorable reading. Singer is easily someone to put on your watch list, especially if you like your communication conversations sprinkled with business. Memorable.

4. Geoff Livingston doesn't write as much about communication like he once did. However, anyone reading his work at Geoff Livingston will find it still rings loudly in whatever theme he covers. Even when you don't agree with him, his knack for nailing the truth on a great many subjects will dazzle you — especially when they go against the grain. More than that, he has a big heart and his recent efforts to help people in the Gulf are admirable.

5. If you have ever had the pleasure to meet Jason Falls, you already know he can best be described as infectious. And lately, Social Media Explorer has been digging ever deeper into the fine line between perception and reality. His conclusion: Get out of your comfort zone because sometimes the people who aren't talking hold more insights than the people who are. So that's why we read Jason Falls.

6. Louis Gray, author of LouisGray.com has penned his fair share of surprising insights in the last quarter, including his comprehensive list of 50 top startups. So if you want to keep up with the tech business side of social media, he has to be included on your read list.

7. As the dominating voice on TopRank, it's probably no surprise to see Lee Odden on this list. Lately, what we've loved best about Odden's work is his quest to keep pace with the changes occurring within SEO and social media. For the last few months, Odden has also led the charge on putting a more human face on SEO, which is a direction that will only make the industry stronger.

8. Roger Dooley doesn't only care about what people think. He cares about how they think too. Several times a week, he'll show some studies and observations about how they do on Neuromarketing. If you're in communication today, you ought to be interested. Nothing will help you think more strategically than skipping tactical tips and thinking about how people think.

9. You know Ian Lurie must write some good posts on Conversational Marketing. Why? If they weren't good, I'd never pick them just because it's such a hassle to find his Twitter account. That little rant aside, Lurie has a nice blend of SEO, social media, and marketing that become addictive over time. He's especially good when he's grounded. Watch for those moments.

10. Arik Hanson and his Communications Conservations is another under-read communication blog, with an emphasis on social media. Many of his tips are task-oriented, but every now and then Hanson tackles the reality of a deeper issue — like the myth of a viral video. In addition to his blog, make sure you follow him on Twitter.

11. There doesn't seem to be any doubt that Dave Fleet is at his best when he outlays what he thinks in the frankest way possible. The DaveFleet.com blog is a mix of lists with the occasional burst of well-thought-out insights. It's a good mix of anything goes and everything Fleet finds relevant. One of our favorites this quarter was Fleet telling people why their social media campaigns probably suck.

12. It seemed to take some time before the Web Strategy blog by Jeremiah Owyang had as much as passion as it did when we first started reading it. But this time around, Owyang's less frequent posts seem back on track in between the news bites. His tried and true signature matrix maps always bring something new to communication strategy. Watch for those.

13. Mitch Joel isn't going to go anywhere soon. Six Pixels Of Separation always provides a deep look at whatever content Joel happens to be presenting. Some people say that makes his blog too heady to be popular. But on the contrary, that is precisely what makes his blog worth reading daily. You'll find a sort of zen there that other thinkers just don't seem to have.

14. If you are looking for someone to make you smile while you learn some lesson in communication, try This One Time At Brandcamp, penned by Tom Fishburne. Every week or so, Fishburne offers up a lesson or two tucked under an illustration that could stand on its own. You might not always be sure which came first, the cartoon or the post, but they always match just the same.

15. Reading The Brand Builder by Olivier Blanchard won't be everyone's bag. We say that only because his most memorable posts attempt to teach us two things at once. It makes the post much longer, and we think more memorable too (which is our bag). We especially like his lesson wrapped up in history. He's sharp on ROI too, you know, for good measure.

16. Perhaps it's because he hails from South Africa, but Patrick Collings sees things differently at the Brand Architect. What's somewhat refreshing here is that he doesn't always have a need to repurpose other people's ideas. He just shares them straight and allows you to draw your own conclusions. It also makes his thoughts on branding more powerful when he does take the time to share his ideas on how things could be done.

17. Peter Winick is a new face to Fresh Content, but Thought Leadership Leverage has been in our personal reader much longer. What we like best about Winick is his regular procession of asking the right questions at the right time. A few days ago, I mentioned that asking questions is one of the three cornerstones of creativity. Winick gets it.

18. Peter Himler offers up plenty about public relations on The Flack with an emphasis on using YouTube as a conversation starter. Sometimes there are great social media crossover topics too, including his analysis on what BP could have done better in reaching people online. It was smart, bookended by many other smart ideas.

19. Dean Rieck isn't as well known among the social media crowd, but he has made a name for himself in copywriting circles. We met online several months ago, and I've been reading ProCopyTips ever since. If you want to start looking outside your bubble, make sure you add him to your list. I'm not just saying that because of my background as a copywriter. Heck, Rieck didn't even call while he was in Vegas.

20. Maria Reyes McDavis aka WebSuccessDiva is our favorite colossal digital geek brainiac at Digital Peas & Carrots. She's always helpful outlining various SEO tactics for copy and content writers as opposed to the IT teams. And she always tempers her SEO advice with a warning. Being found is great, but you still need great content to keep people around.

21. Anytime you need someone to liven up a party, don't look any further than Bill Sledzik. Before heading out for the summer, he sparked more than his share of conversations at ToughSledding before moving it to a new address. No worries. ToughSledding, when Sledzik has time, is as tough as ever.

22. Jay Ehret aka The Marketing Guy knows a thing or two about branding. The Marketing Spot has been a long-time favorite around here for that exact reason. Any time Ehret tackles a branding issue, it's likely to help you clarify your thoughts on the subject and lead to new insights on old ideas that feel worn.

23. Last quarter, we noted how Jenn Riggle was providing valuable insight into social media with a medical twist, but her content is becoming more expansive on The Buzz Bin. Much like I once said of the person who founded The Buzz Bin, she's somebody to watch. So are some of the other voices over there.

24. Jeff Bullas seems to be on a roll lately, with some well-considered tips on Internet marketing, buried under his always sensationalized headline. Skip the headlines and get into the meat of the content and you might be surprised to find some compelling data and research on trending. Bullus needs more readers. It's that simple.

25. Chris Brogan always has a lot of irons in the fire. He has one of those blogs you almost have to read even if, over time, you come to realize the reading isn't all that deep at Chris Brogan. Don't misunderstand me. There is obviously some solid content there or he wouldn't be here (there is someone as equally popular who isn't here, I might add). Still, I'm only mentioning it now because sooner of later someone might appreciate that deep and read don't always go together. Brogan is read.

26. Kyle Flaherty tends to look upon social media with a skeptical eye. Anytime someone does that, they are likely to see some social media enthusiasts turn off. Maybe that's why we liked a post or two from Dances With Strangers. In fact, we like Flaherty, even if he is wrong about all ROI being mostly about sales. It ain't all direct response. Ha.

27. Ari Herzog, writing AriWriter, frequently finds himself on the lower end of the AdAge Power 150. (No worries. We don't even play.) And yet, his blog — between shorter personal interest posts — frequently brings a perspective to social media that can't be ignored. What you might like best about this blog is his willingness to take a hard look at the finest of details. What do we like? Its crispness.

28. When it comes to visual communication, few people do it better than David Armano. Logic + Emotion has been around for some time. Recent social media rant aside, anytime Armano has time to illustrate his thinking is something not to miss. Sometimes in a single image, you immediately see what he means. Sure, he has a little less time since he joined Edleman, but it's still a treat when he has the time.

29. Sean Williams is one of the nicest guys around online (and one of several that I'd most like to meet). Communication Ammo is also climbing up as one of our favorite reads because it often covers topics that we just don't find anywhere else. It's less popular but more relevant than many other reads out there.

30. When Jed Hallam mapped out an online network theory at Rock Star PR, we immediately knew why we decided to add him to the list. Even if the devil is sometimes in the details, Hallam is on the right track in mapping the connections people make online. Social connections can tell you a lot. Hallam had several second pick posts this quarter too.

31. Anytime someone says online and B2B in the same breath, it's hard not to immediately think of Christina Kerley. The Ck's(B2B)Blog is a longstanding veteran on the topic. And, like many other bloggers, picking this niche was a decision she made to stick close to her core as opposed to making a break for popularity. True, CK doesn't post as often as she used to, but you'll always find passion when she does.

32. Kristen Hines was one of the newer fresh content finds this quarter. She writes the very robust blog at Kikolani.com. We absolutely love her blog, but the drop down banner makes her a better read in the Google feeds. What also makes her stand out is she generously shares what she does and how she does it, ranging from why you need an e-newsletter to the experiment that proves popularity and page rank don't mix.

33. Since Chris Koch approaches marketing from the B2B perspective on Chris Koch's B2B Marketing Blog, he tends to be a little more targeted. To be more targeted, he suggests that copywriters and marketers learn something about the stories that journalists tell. We've grown fond of him because he see marketing as leading in social media, but adds that marketing has to change in order to do it.

34. MarketingProfs, headed by Ann Handley, still cuts through the clutter with the occasional study. This time around, MarketingProfs shared findings from Vision Critical to show how social networks can be influential, but not always trusted. It mirrors our findings that influence is often a collective action attached to an idea and not an individual.

35. Jay Baer likes to bill himself as hype-free social media, but we know better. His posts speak volumes about his enthusiasm for everything social and we wouldn't have it any other way. He sees social media as the final frontier and often uncovers evidence that will have you believe it must be so on Convince&Convert, where you'll find other fine voices too.

36. When Brian Solis isn't writing about his book, he recaps studies and adds insight better than most. It makes us wonder if maybe that's it: We read Brian Solis because he has a nose for news as it relates to social media. And even when we don't agree with his assessment of what that news might mean, we still give him credit for setting the right agenda.

37. Ben Decker is another new addition to the list, writing for the Blog Decker. He tends to contribute less than the co-authors, but he always makes it personal when he does. I like his prose better than his videos because video seems too linear. However, I know plenty of people who will disagree with me. He's very personable, on camera or off.

38. Michelle Bowles hasn't been active on TopRank Online Marketing Blog since April (she left in May), but her contributions are considerable. Her forte tended to be developing clear and concise tip sheets, usually with three to five tips at a time. We'll keep an eye out to see where she lands next.

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Saturday, April 3

Ranking Content Providers: Fresh Content Project, First Quarter

Last year, we launched an online experiment called the Fresh Content Project, which tracked approximately 100 blogs (currently at about 230) to determine how much popularity played a role in what communicators read online. We speculated it played a significant role, and sometimes at a detriment.

So, to put popularity to the test, we removed it from the equation and tracked approximately 100 blogs (currently at about 250) frequently referenced by a capped Twitter list of 300 communication-related professionals (currently at 248).

From those blogs, we narrowed the "Fresh Content" to choosing a single standout post every weekday (with weekend posts spilling into Monday). There is no algorithm. We picked one post per day. You can find out why we picked them here.

So what happened? Thirty-six communication-related professionals were picked at least once, with a handful picked more than once. Popularity, not surprisingly, is no measure for quality content. In fact, we even had to remove three popular blogs; two for plagiarizing the content of lesser known bloggers and one for providing consistently bad advice.

We're NOT including the names of those blogs or the balance of the blogs included in this experiment because it is designed to lift people up and not tear them down. So please don't ask if "so and so" was included in the experiment. They probably were. Besides, there are some people who are already on next quarter's list like Chris Koch, who was picked just yesterday.

Speaking of which, I might mention that we also made note of posts that, on any other day, might have been the pick. Mostly, we added that measure so we would not have to list ties in alphabetical order. Suffice to say that there are some worthwhile authors who haven't been picked yet.

So, here are 36 communication-related professionals who provided Fresh Content Picks in the first quarter of 2010. While some are suited for specific tastes, there is no mistaking that the top of this list (with more than one pick) ought to be in your reader.

The folks below represent some of the freshest, most original content related to communication today. And, we look forward to reading more of their fresh content in the second quarter along with some new faces. The comments are yours.

36 Fresh Content Communicators By Quality Of Content

1. Valeria Maltoni is a passionate brand strategist and author of the Conversation Agent. Her work frequently appears in other places and spaces, but you'll find a consistent stream of strategic communication content on her blog. Hands down, she is the hardest working communicator online with more fresh content picks than anyone. She pens posts you won't want to miss almost daily.

2. Geoff Livingston may have undergone some positive transitions this past year, but he still measures up as someone who not only practices what he preaches but does so with unabashed authenticity. Whether you follow his occasional work on The Buzz Bin or his personal blog, you'll find most posts play along. But then, without any warning, he takes a stand that strikes at the heart of an issue with such clarity, it reminds you that he doesn't embrace the Echo Chamber.

3. Ike Pigott is a smart guy who pens smart content that is generally too far off the beaten path on Occam's RazR for him to become popular. What you'll find, however, are ample amounts of truth that are only occasionally distracted by personal interests. The benefit is that, free from the trappings of being popular, he can call it like he sees it. He's also one of the better writers online. You'll love the prose.

4. Maria Reyes McDavis A.K.A. WebSuccessDiva, is "almost" a surprise find. Her online presence might have been well-known among people looking for SEO, but that isn't what makes Web Success Diva stand out. It's her smart and business savvy approach to strategies and tactics, the kind of skill sets that not enough communicators are working to develop. Reading her blog has become a real benefit since starting this experiment.

5. Lee Odden doesn't need much of an introduction to anyone who follows anything about SEO. He has been penning great content as CEO of Top Rank Online Marketing for what feels like forever. He's a veteran online marketer, but his expert understanding of SEO is what most people remember. There is a reason for that. He wasn't given any gift of popularity. He earns it.

6. Bill Sledzik, public relations professor at Kent State, doesn't provide the volume of content needed to keep up with the more popular people with opinions on public relations and sometimes social media. But what he does do at ToughSledding is provide value. What you'll find are posts that frequently bridge proven practices with tactics that some experts mistake as new ideas.

7. Mitch Joel is an author and digital marketer bent on good design. As he is a new media enthusiast, you're likely to find some posts on Six Degrees of Separation attempting to peer three steps into the possible future. While he sometimes misses, you'll find he hits more than his fair share by practicing a mantra that can best be described as rethinking everything.

8. Jay Ehret A.K.A. "The Marketing Guy" is chief officer of "awesomeness" at The Marketing Spot. Specializing in small business marketing consultation, Ehret has been around for some time. What you'll find is a retooling of social media to meet the needs of small business marketing as learned by big businesses once upon a time. Not everyone will appreciate his roll-up-the-sleeves approach, but you'll find more than a few gems on his blog.

9. Bob Conrad is one of the better but somehow underrated thinkers in the field. You'll find his work on The Good, The Bad, The Spin tends to challenge the status quo with new ideas, but not at the expense of traditional thought that continues to prove itself true. If he wrote more posts, he'd likely be higher on any list.

10. Callan Green is a junior account executive on the BG Creative team who lends her voice to the company's Don't Drink The Kool-Aid Blog. She's also one to watch. Green is already starting to stand out because she has the right background and obviously has the right guidance as a junior account executive. It's easy to say so because when she recaps lessons learned or shares observations, they are always spot on without too much slippage we see from longstanding social media experts.

11. Joel Postman is an internal communications executive for Learning@Cisco. His blog, Socialized, is rough to read in the format in which it is presented. But if you can get past the gray on gray tight columns (or subscribe in a reader), the content speaks for itself. Of late, Postman is making a great case as a well-meant contrarian who turns some readily accepted social media ideas on their heads. You have to love that.

12. Beth Harte wears many hats, which has contributed to a much slower posting pace at The Harte of Marketing. That isn't a bad thing. Since she scaled back on her postings, each post has become more important and much more grounded with her roots as a marketing professional. Apparently, the initial Kool-Aid buzz has worn off and she has become a welcome advocate for integrated communication.

13. Andrew Weaver writes about life, business, and everything in between on Leave It To Weaver. Sometimes it touches on communication and marketing issues, but not enough to operate inside the communication bubble. As a result, it's under-read despite the relevance. One of the most striking series shared by Weaver is The Cult of Mediocrity. It's a good series to follow, especially for any popular bloggers who didn't make the list.

14. Lauren Fernandez is an account executive at Moroch | PR who pulls double duty as a resident specialist in social media. Her work can be found at LAF and the best of it breaks away from what people want to read and centers on real industry need. Specifically, she sees that some social media experts are leading their lemming followers off the edge of a cliff and wants to do something about it. I give her credit. I'm inclined to let them fall.

15. Carl Haggerty is an enterprise architect at the Devon County Council who sometimes shares some heavy-handed and important topics at Carl's Notepad. Frequently, the posts revolve around U.K. government without the polarization of politics experienced in America. But more than government, his content tends to be refreshing because it covers how organizations interact with people. Something many Web developers might consider.

16. Adam Singer is responsible for The Future Buzz, which is a blog about Web marketing combined with public relations strategies. While he frequently makes the case for popularity measures (and why marketers need it), Singer demonstrates enough "why" to remind people he is not advocating popularity over expertise. What you'll also find is a lot of bullet-laced posts that make for easy reading, even if that reading isn't always memorable.

17. Dan Zarrella is a social, search, and self-dubbed viral marketing scientist who has built a solid following on The Social Media Marketing Handbook. While his writing is filled with social media buzz terms, including several he coined himself, you'll still find fresh content with an emphasis on sociology, even if he doesn't always link the two fields. More importantly, Zarrella is persistent in wanting to move social media away from soft-focus fantasies that popular marketing bloggers tend to preach.

18. John Jantsch is another one of those folks who most people know. Duct Tape Marketing rightfully pinned him down as one of the world's most practical marketers. Practicality is important if you hope to make a case for communication to the executives you hope will pay for it. At the same time, Jantsch teaches public relations firms and communicators something most forget. At the end of the day, communication companies are businesses too. Act like it.

19. John Bell, who heads up the global 360-degree influence team for Ogilvy Public Relations, demonstrates that not only can large agencies learn new media, but they can quickly become experts by applying proven strategies to new platforms. Digital Influence Mapping Project provides the focus for his work and the work being done at Ogilvy in this space.

20. Sree Sreenivasan, professor and dean of student affairs at Columbia Journalism School, contributes to places like DNA info and Mashable. While being a contributor makes his work harder to track, it's very clear Sreenivasan has tasked himself with helping journalists evolve at a pace that will help preserve the best of the profession.

21. Kelly Day is an associate creative director at BG Creative, the second team member to be included from its Don't Drink The Kool-Aid Blog. Although her simply stated insights into Facebook tend to be more popular than her tips for better creative, we're likely to attribute that to social media readership more than merit. The content contributions are equally solid and more designers will likely find her over time. (Sure wish she would update her blog-to-Twitter link soon).

22. Gini Dietrich is the CEO of Arment Dietrich. You'll find most of her work on F.A.D.S.. What you'll find is a blend of fresh, friendly commentary and marketing from a business perspective. While it didn't make a pick, read Predictable Success: The Lifecycle of Successful Businesses for a sense of her style.

23. Larry Kim, a search marketing enthusiast and founder of WordStream. You're more likely to find his written work elsewhere, places like the Search Engine Journal, but he always brings a unique perspective as a software engineering and search specialist.

24. Louis Gray is the managing director of new media for Paladin Advisors Group, which provides marketing, public relations, sales processes, and new media services to its clients. He shares observations about technology and innovation from Silicon Valley. What you'll find is exactly that, presented as a conversational diary recapping the news. The only difference is that this diary and scrapbook of sorts is open to the public and includes some interesting insights.

25. Aaron Brazell is author of the WordPress Bible and comes from an I.T. background, and was one of he first tech bloggers to capture a communication audience too. It's hard to pin down precisely why Technosailor lost some of its lift. Mostly, Brazell still provides a good read in between conference buzz and some gut guesses that fall short of the mark.

26. Jeff Bullas is a Web marketing practitioner with plenty of useful information that is usually presented as some sort of list at Jeffbullas's Blog. Almost all of it starts with a number of something, which is often the kind of stuff we avoid. However, what works is that some of these lists are backed by real data and time consuming research. It's not puff, and almost always includes new ideas for using various free tools to do it.

27. Barbara Nixon, Ph.D., teaches at Georgia Southern University online and Southeastern University offline. Her blog, Public Relations Matters, frequently covers public relations basics and entry level ideas on social media. What works is that she often covers what many social media experts don't know enough about to write about.

28. Shel Holtz has always positioned himself on the front end of technology and communication. It has served him well over the years, and will for many more years to come. A Shel of My Former Self is often a testament to that. What you'll find, in between the podcast marketing posts, are social media adoption tests for the sake of adoption and strategic communication applied to social media. Other times, however, you'll find Holtz to be surprisingly stubborn in framing up the world as it "should be."

29. David Meerman Scott saves much of his best work for places other than Web Ink Now, which tends to feature a much lighter sampling of topics than you might find on places like The Huffington Post, where he reminds us he still has the skills of a journalist.

30. Amber Naslund has become best known as director of community for Radian6, but her start with Altitude was a real pleasure to watch. What you'll find is that her content is engaging because it is infused with her infectious personality. Even when she retreads topics, it feels fresh and clearly articulated, especially as someone who learned most of her social media and marketing skills on the fly.

31. MarketingProfs, headed by Ann Handley, provides surprisingly solid content despite the irritating sign-in page. Sure, not all of the content is as fresh as you might find direct from contributors and not all authors are clearly identified. However, MarketingProfs keeps a pulse on public relations and marketing, with the occasional surprise breakthrough the noise moment thanks to objective research.

32. Jennifer Riggle is a public relations professional with CRT/tanaka, which is the firm that inherited The Buzz Bin from Geoff Livingston. She is intensely focused on mobile adoption and medical as it applies to social media. Sure, she writes other stuff, but her interests in these areas shine through with some solid thought, possibly ensuring that The Buzz Bin will eventually retain relevance beyond the originator. Good to see.

33. Chris Brogan is president of New Media Labs and many people in communication fields read his blog. Interestingly enough, though, only one post (though others were close) on the last day of the quarter cut through the clutter. That's not to say the Brogan blog isn't relevant. However, if you have ever heard him speak, you already know that the blog, nowadays, has become Brogan light.

34. Jonathan Fields, at a glance, comes across as one of the growing number of pop marketers that tend to capture some popularity because they are fun. But then the more you read Awake At The Wheel, you begin to realize that pop marketing packaging fuels some bigger ideas if you take the time to look for them, including his tribute to ten dead dudes.

35. Brian Solis truly owns the buzz term PR 2.0. What you'll find in between the self-promotion and his head-in-the-clouds preachiness approach to social media is one of the best comprehensive recappers of other people's research. He takes huge amounts of data and summarizes it without slashing it to sound bites like most people, making those posts well worth wading through the rest of it.

36. Jeremy Meyers is the only social media purist to make this list, but he does so deservedly. He didn't make it for his own content, but rather his uncanny ability to find some of the most important and overlooked content via his feed on posterous. It sets him apart because while many people guess at the future of the net, Meyers tends to find what is already happening.

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