Editorial Solutions, Inc.
6th annual B2B e-news study final tally confirms key quality stumbling blocks
by Howard Rauch, president, Editorial Solutions, Inc.
Ability to maintain highest editorial quality in the face of ever-mounting workloads is no cinch. Even
top B2B performers clearly feel the pressure, according to final analysis of data gathered for
Editorial Solutions, Inc.'s 6th annual e-news delivery study. Past surveys used a format calling for
evaluations of 50 new sites each year. But this year I decided to take a closer look at quality
consistency among the best of the best. So the current poll applies eight-factor review to sites
that scored at least 60 points during my five previous studies. Thus . . . of 250 sites evaluated,
only 48 achieved 60.0 or higher. Meeting the challenge this year was toughened by my decision to
raise the minimum scoring standard to 80 points.
So how did things go? This final summary is based on analysis applied to 43 sites. None of them
reached the 80-point level. Highest score achieved was 72.9; 21 sites drifted below 60 points. At
the bottom was a score of 48.8. When the initial target of acceptability was 60.0, I knew this was
no big deal. But it was within reach. Surpassing 80.0, while a long shot, is really where we need to
Of the 43 sites assessed, 34 had lower scores than in previous polls. The major hurdle continued
to be absence of editorial enterprise. Most sites selected high-impact topics for coverage, but
depth of analysis was in short supply. An especially notable negative -- carried over from previous
studies -- was inability to connect with end-user sources. For the group of 43 this meant that of
the total of 760 quotes gathered, only 224 -- 29.5% -- reflected end-user engagement.
Another useful calculation -- Embedded Link Visibility (ELV) -- establishes the relationship between
the number of articles and number of embedded links within articles. Consumer publications and
newspapers do a much better job using links than many B2B media. In the case of the 43 sites
reviewed, two used no embedded links. There also is a Fix-It-Alert (FIA) calculation. This is based
on the number of factors tabulated per ten articles (10x8 = 80), divided into the number of factors
that require improvement. An acceptable FIA is 20% or lower. Only 17 of the 43 sites reviewed
passed FIA review.
Last but not least, Phase VI debuted a table devoted to enterprise analysis. The study scores
enterprise in terms of being high, medium, or low. Concluding data confirms that delivery reflects
unacceptable reliance on articles offering either low or no enterprise reporting. Specifically, of 430
articles evaluated, only 61 -- 14.1% -- earned high-enterprise status.