Home > blogging, PR and social media > Lists and Daily Newspapers – A Case Study

Lists and Daily Newspapers – A Case Study

January 19, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

While this blog is usually about public relations and communications, from time-to-time blogging about – well, blogging and my ongoing social media experiment seems appropriate.

In the past few weeks, I’ve published a list of top communications bloggers – PR33 and stopped ‘publishing’ the automated newspaper based on my Twitter stream.

Here is a quick case study based on my experience.

The list: I’ve heard all the criticism and felt the eye rolls of people who said publishing a list of top PR / communications blogs is lame, a cheap stunt for traffic, overdone, unoriginal, and my favorite criticism being that creating a list of people with similar interest is limiting because you can learn more from reading blogs outside your own industry.

The PR33 list was created as a resource for others looking for some quality blogs; to provide some acknowledgement for some of my favorite bloggers; and to expose some lesser known bloggers to a larger audience.

What I tried to do differently:

  • PR33 included, you guessed it, 33 blogs. This number was chosen in part because I agree that the top 10 lists often provide little value. It isn’t difficult to find the top 10, but I expanded it to 33 to be sure to go beyond the usual suspects.
  • Focused on value over popularity. At one point, I considered not including anyone that was listed on the usual top bloggers lists, but at the end of the day it seemed like excluding the best – because they are the best and most popular sort of invalidated my list. So, I focused on the blogs that (in my opinion) provided the most value to someone like me – a 10+ year PR veteran that is still interested in learning.
  • Provide an easily digestible commentary to let the reader quickly see why that person is on the list. I’ve read too many top 10 or top 25 lists that are just that – lists with links which isn’t much more useful than simply conducting a Google search for Top PR bloggers.


  • PR33 list has been far and away my most popular post. My unscientific research says that it had over 2,000 more views than any other post.
  • Introduced new blogs to lots of people
  • Discovered lots of new blogs
  • Connected with hundreds of new PR folks via Twitter
  • Made new connections via LinkedIN
  • Have multiple invites to meet new friends for a beer – not a virtual beer, but we’re talking IRL

Daily newspapers: The situation analysis on this one is pretty simple. I kept seeing Tweets promoting Insert Name Here’s Daily Newspapers, so I checked it out and signed up for one. No more research than that.

Early returns: Immediately saw returns on my 55 seconds of time invested. Started connecting with people thanking me for including them in my Paul Roberts Daily. Some of these introductions led to real conversations. Success.

Decision: But, after a couple of months I decided that this once a day Tweet and large pile of digital newspapers that I didn’t even care to read was just unnecessary noise. the idea is solid, but not right for me and for my current goals and situation.

Lesson learned: To clarify, the fact that I canceled my daily newspaper doesn’t mean that I don’t think it is a useful outlet. Just the opposite, I found the experience very educational and clearly there is a good use of the technology – which is brilliant in its simplicity.

So, while I would build another list – and there are a lot of things I’d do differently next time – but, have discontinued my automated daily newspaper, I’d say that both experiments were successful. In both cases, I was able to learn a lot, connect with some really smart people that I didn’t previously know and had some additional conversations with current friends. Isn’t that kind of what social media should be about?

Image by jscreationzs

  1. January 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I’m with you.

    Seems like a vote for quality over quantity.

    I do want to throw one additional point into the mix.

    It’s not just about social media.

    The other key to success comes down to old fashion relationship building; i.e.,:

    * Showing a warm front.

    * Making yourself accessible.

    * Being genuinely interested in others.

    * Pacing the relationship

    * Treating the person like you’d like to be treated

    Not exactly scintillating copy, but the fundamentals of relationship building still count.

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