Editorial Solutions, Inc.

Can you prove your e-news edge exists when it comes to delivering enterprise?
by Howard Rauch, president, Editorial Solutions, Inc.

When executing competitive editorial analysis projects, my usual first step is to seek evidence that
enterprise reporting exists. Even if you can prove enterprise claims, how effective is this
advantage promoted during presentations? "Probably not enough" is a reasonable answer to the
question. Enterprise exists if there is evidence that an article's author gathered exclusive
information beyond what was provided in a press release. Examples of such evidence include
statements that information was gathered from a source either through a telephone interview or
an e-mail exchange.

Such declarations are absent more often than not. So even if enterprise was involved while
acquiring direct quotes, an observer could just as well assume that all comments were extracted
from PR announcements. During my recently-concluded stay as ASBPE Ethics Committee chairman,
I came across wording in
BuzzFeed's editorial guidelines policy that provides wording worth
appearance in your own policy manual. To wit:

"All quotes are to be attributed. Quotes that have been given directly to a
BuzzFeed's News staffer
should be noted as such by using the words,'told
BuzzFeed News' at least once in the story." There
is much more useful advice elsewhere in "
Quotes" section, but I think you get the idea.

In five previous e-news studies conducted by
Editorial Solutions, Inc., a common thread was
absent enterprise in 65% of articles reviewed. In my sixth study, I decided to revisit 47 sites that
earned at least 60 points during any previous study. Data covering B2B e-news delivery by 43
sites shows that 38.1% of articles posted provided no evidence of enterprise. Another 46.7%
earned a "low" ranking (as opposed to "medium" or "high"), usually reflecting single-source effort.
Another way to consider this group is that only 15.1% of articles posted involved better-than-
average investigative technique.

By any measurement, end-user direct presence at B2B e-news sites is lacking
by Howard Rauch, president, Editorial Solutions, Inc.

Editorial staff success in gathering e-news section end-user direct quotes becomes a strong
weapon during competitive analysis presentations. But even the best of the best are at risk,
according to input from my sixth annual B2B e-news delivery study. Research task: determine
whether 47 top-scoring sites previously examined maintained or improved their showing. Data
from 43 sites posting 430 articles found 536 quotes of which 210 -- 37.4% -- were obtained from
end- users.

To better assess whether this ratio was acceptable, I introduced End-User Visibility (EUV) theory.
How does this work? Keep in mind that each site is scored based on ten articles posted on the
review date. It seems reasonable to conclude that those ten articles could collectively post ten
end-user quotes. This allows for the reality that not every article may be end-user sourced. But
other articles involving end-user input could be multiple-sourced. So . . . a ten-article review that
reached the target could post a 1.0 average. But of the 43 sites reviewed, only four managed EUV
of 1.0 or higher. Total sites recording lower than 0.5 = 21. Five sites used no end-user quotes.

By way of reminder, some end-user basics are worth mentioning. Many publications demonstrate
impressive enterprise when it comes to gathering end-user comments. Just as many do a so-so
job. An additional segment pursues reader comment but gathers most of it from advertisers and
other vendors. The end-user group -- the publication's dominant circulation category -- is virtually
ignored. A competitive edge may exist in the direct quote arena once you determine that your
opposition doesn't interview the best sources. Before assessing competitors, determine how well
you are performing in terms of gathering quotes from the most authoritative sources.

Note: The above two discussions initially appeared as part of a five-part series posted on my
Linked-In group site: Editorial Solutions Performance Insider. Other e-news management
advisories can be found in this Web site's editing tips section.  Statistical summaries of past e-
news studies are available to members of my LinkedIn group site: Editorial Solutions Performance
Insider. The members-only site is open to experienced B2B editorial managers.)