Enterprise Reporting Outlook: Ample Opportunities for Leadership
Should B2B editors rush to establish a strong competitive lead in enterprise reporting? And do they have sufficient resources to get there? These are just two of the questions suggested by results of the 8th annual B2B e-news study now being conducted by Editorial Solutions, Inc. (ESI). At the half-way point in this 50-site review, at least one conclusion is easily drawn: leadership in enterprise reporting is up for grabs.
ESI’s 50-site study effort launched in 2009. As the survey was repeated over subsequent years, two key patterns remained constant: Nearly two-thirds of the articles studied were rewrites of secondary sources, and efforts to gather input from end-users were minimal. In other words, the B2B press has been falling woefully short in enterprising reporting.
To reflect these and other challenges, I have substantially revised the methodology for the 8th annual study. If you’re interested, you can read about the various changes in a previous blog post on this site.
As for enterprise reporting presence (ERP) analysis in particular, each article is assigned an enterprise level of low (33%), medium (67%), or high (100%). For a site to earn a passing grade in ERP, at least 60% of the total online content in the 10 articles studied must reflect enterprising effort.
A pilot study I conducted last year on 47 B2B sites found 17 of them unable to meet this 60% target. Only two sites reached 100%. It’s significant that media in industry sectors like technology were star performers, benefiting from a constant high level of newsworthy activity. Sites burdened with similar requirements for daily posting of e-news but serving fields with less news activity often failed to maintain peak enterprise levels.
Obtaining a Good ERP Score Is No Cinch
On the surface, you’d think that achieving the 60% target for ERP is a cinch. But reality suggests otherwise. Of the 25 sites reviewed so far, 19 could score no higher than 39%. Equally startling perhaps is that 201 of the 250 articles examined could rank no higher than the lowest of the three enterprise-reporting levels.
A factor influencing ERP is the end-user visibility (EUV) score. The target for EUV is an average of one end-user quoted per article. If each site is evaluated at the usual rate of ten articles per site, an acceptable EUV would be 1.0. Of the 25 sites reviewed so far, only two managed to eke out a 1.0 achievement. To make a long story short, anyone seeking higher ERP must begin by at least reaching the 1.0 EUV level.
If further evidence that higher EUV is needed, consider the following study statistics pertaining to end-user quotes: The 25 sites covered so far in ESI’s study collectively accounted for 116 end-user quotes. That gives us an average number of 4.6 end users quoted per 10 articles reviewed. However, if we subtract a total of 62 quotes accounted for by five most active sites, the average number of end users quoted per site falls to 2.7. Of still greater concern, nine sites in the pack in each of their 10-article sets used a grand total of either one end-user quote or none at all.
Boosting Enterprise Reporting
So what does it take to achieve a higher enterprise score? Start by considering three key elements in ESI’s analysis of ERP:
- The article author must clearly have obtained exclusive comment beyond material provided in PR announcements.
- The number of sources is important. For scoring purposes, articles with exclusive quotes from one or two sources are categorized as low enterprise. To be designated high-enterprise, an article must quote four or more sources.
- All news stories based on PR announcements must include additional comment from an authoritative source. No article should be posted until this follow-up procedure takes place.
An inadequate level of enterprise reporting is not the only item of concern turned up so far in this year’s ongoing study. Also of concern are basic editing skills. In three editing basics—story-telling headlines, fast-paced ledes, and reading grade levels—B2B publications are not generally up to speed. These issues will be the subject of an upcoming article here.
In the meantime, consider your own e-news efforts. Are you mustering all the resources you can to ensure that your news articles reflect exclusive enterprise reporting? Admittedly, editorial resources in the current environment are often constrained. But given that most B2B publications are falling far short of the desired level of ERP, consider this: you may already have the resources you need to win a leadership role in enterprise reporting. Are you up for the challenge?
Interim ERP Analysis Results
For those readers who want to dig deeper into the ERP data at the half-way point of ESI’s study, the relevant numbers are provided here. By clicking on the up/down arrows in the headers for each column, you can sort the data accordingly.
|B2B Site||ERP Score (%)||Vendor Quotes||End-User Quotes|