Early B2B e-news findings reflect editorial basics bungling
Lack of enterprise, endless sentences and misdirected introductory paragraphs should appear rarely if not ever in B2B online posts. But such is not the case reflected in early findings from Editorial Solutions Inc.’s 7th annual e-news delivery study. Alerts conveyed via my previous six studies clearly have not registered. Either that . . . or I am reacting prematurely based on data provided by the first 12 sites the current study evaluated. As is customary, 50 sites will be evaluated. But here is what the first 12 reflect:
- Target score this year was raised to 80 points (out of a possible 100). None of the sites reviewed made the grade. In fact, only one managed more than 60 points (the previous target).
- Fix-It Alert achievement of 20 percent or below was achieved by only two sites. FIA describes the percentage of total factors assessed that require improvement. If you evaluate this result, consider that each site reviewed is exposed to an eight-factor exam. Best site among the ten = 16.3%. Worst performance = 38.8%.
- Of the 120 articles examined, 54 (45.0%) reflect no evidence of enterprise. That’s slightly better than in past years when this statistic usually exceeded 60%.
- Fog Index grade level of 10 to 12 was missed by 47 articles (39%) with scores that ranged between 13 and 18.
- 35 of the 120 articles carried end-user quotes. But most of those were plucked from PR announcements as opposed to being obtained via personal interview.
- 35 articles failed to reach a key story point within the first ten words. Several bogged down due to following a source first/news second format. Things were worse if the writer clearly missed an article’s actual key point. In one case, the most promising angle was buried in the last paragraph.
A common shortfall is one many sites have self-inflicted by running entire news sections consisting of unedited press announcements. Another practice that bothers me — and maybe nobody else — is wording about something a quoted party “said in a statement.” That wording is a giveaway that perhaps the entire article is a PR rewrite. Why convey that impression if it’s unnecessary?
So that concludes this early report. The next one will appear in April. Key point of the above discussion is to remind everyone that editorial vulnerability exists. It’s there waiting to be exploited by alert competitors. If you’d like your e-news site included in the current study, message me: firstname.lastname@example.org.