Editorial Solutions, Inc.

6th annual B2B e-news study early analysis reflects possible quality slippage

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 are feeling the pressure, according to initial 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. How many at least maintained a quality standard demonstrated
in previous poll? How many showed progress? How many faltered? 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 initial summary is based on analysis applied to 15 sites. None of them
reached the 80-point level. Highest score achieved was 68.7. Seven sites drifted below 60 points.
At the bottom so far 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 be.

Of the 15 sites assessed, 12 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 15, this meant that of
the total of 150 articles reviewed (ten per site), 106 -- a tad over 70% -- did not reflect end-user
engagement. Another way to evaluate this performance is via an End-User Visibilty (EUV)
calculation. EUV tests the relationship between total number of articles vs. total end-user quotes.

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 15 sites
reviewed, five used no embedded links. Last but not least, there 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 six of the 15
sites reviewed passed FIA review.

A half-time report of survey progress will be posted mid-June on my LinkedIn group site: Editorial
Solutions Performance Insider. Meanwhile, even the small number of sites tabulated so far reflect
possible improvements you might find have been overlooked in your current e-news delivery.