‘Universality of interest’ is missing ingredient at many B2B e-news sites
When identifying objectives for B2B e-news packages, “universality of interest” should be at the top of your list. The goal involved is obvious: deliver as many articles as possible that will impact most or all of your site’s readership.
In fact, many editors are well aware of what developments fulfill the universality requirement. Being able to gather a continuous flow that qualifies is another story. True, there are times when mounting workloads or rigid staffing get in the way. On the other hand, there are cases when incoming material is treated routinely. Instead, somewhere beyond the first few paragraphs lies the real story waiting to be told.
The possibility that perhaps we miss the boat all too often is reflected in early results of the Editorial Solutions Inc. (ESI) 7th Annual B2B E-News Delivery study. Previous studies have lamented about lack of editorial enterprise—a consistent finding reported that 65 percent of e-news posted probably was either rewritten PR announcements or unedited releases.
So far this year, of 200 articles collectively posted by 20 sites, 67 (33.5%) reflected no enterprise. That may seem like an improvement, but there’s really no cause for celebration. Because looking further, another 96 articles (48.0%) were graded as low-enterprise efforts. So if you do the math, hardly any space was devoted to high-impact reporting. Competitively speaking, this kind of effort is subject to attack—from opposition not necessarily from other traditional B2B media.
Another sobering set of figures addresses our ongoing inability to reach out to end-user sources. You may recall from previous studies that ESI’s analysis includes an End-User Visibility (EUV) evaluation. The way this works is that each site’s scoring is based on ten articles posted on the review date. The assumption is made that those ten articles should somehow include quotes from at least ten users. Thus, an acceptable EUV = 1.0. So far, only two sites have made the grade. A different way to look at this item is that the 200 articles collectively included 244 quotes; 92 of those were end-user sourced.
In terms of basic editing execution, we continue to have our problems. Of the 200 articles examined to date, 82 have Fog Index grade levels of 13.0 or higher. Recommended grade level range is 10-12. And 75 articles have average sentence lengths of 25 words or beyond. Preferred average ASL target is 20.
On the bright side, to date this year’s group of 20 sites made much better use of embedded links than in the past. Evaluation involves an Embedded Link Visibility (ELV) ratio of 1.0—calculated similarly to EUV above. As of now, the 1.0 target has been achieved by nine sites where articles posted a range of 19–28 links.
The next survey update will occur about a month from now. After that, a final in-depth report will be made available to Editorial Solutions Performance Insider, ESI’s LinkedIn group site.