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11 Steps to Building a Favorite Blogs List - 11/15/2010 -

Blogs can be a great source of information, connections, research, and trends. Here’s how to determine if a blogger is worth adding to your own list of favorites.

 By Arik Hanson

Looking to identify which blogs you, your association’s communications team, or even your members should be following? Because the tools just don’t exist yet to put these lists together in a timely, efficient fashion, it’s a plodding process. And everyone seems to have a little different way of doing it (some better than others).

Here is an 11-step process to create a legitimate list of bloggers worth following:

1. Cast the net. First, try to identify a wide swath of bloggers in the industry niche or area you are targeting. Try tools like Alltop, PostRank, blogrolls, and even Google Blog Search to work up a list initially. Once you have this large list, you are ready to winnow it.

2. Check the blogger’s Technorati authority ranking. You won’t find every blogger listed here, but it gives you a nice idea of where they stand in the bigger online picture. Although it may not be the perfect measure of influence, it helps to have to have some measure of influence.

3. Check their other social platforms. Is the blogger active on Twitter, Facebook, or Friendfeed? If so, they’re probably more apt to share content than bloggers who aren’t. But do more than check whether they’re on Twitter. Dig a little to see how they behave online. Do they share other bloggers’ content, or are they just out for themselves?

4. Check how often they post. Another indicator of whether to include folks on your blogger list is their post frequency. If they haven’t posted in a month, that’s usually a red flag—though sometimes it’s just a hiccup. Most times it’s indicative of a larger trend of posting once in a blue moon, and that means you may want to nix them from the list. A good general rule: If they don’t post at least once a week, they’re not making the cut.

5. Check their "About” page. You’ll learn oodles about the blogger from this page.

6. Check their blogroll. You can tell a lot from someone’s blogroll. A big part of blogging is community and building relationships with other bloggers. If a blogger doesn’t have people on their blogroll that they know personally, that may be a reason to take them off your list.

7. Check what kinds of media the blogger uses. This one can be key, depending on your association’s media interests and goals. For instance, if your association is getting into video and the blogger doesn’t use video in his/her posts that may be a reason to keep them off your "favorites” list.

8. Check their Twitter lists. Another ad-hoc sign of influence, Twitter is a measure you can use to compare and rank. If the blogger is on more than 1,000 Twitter lists, that’s a good indication he or she has built a solid community.

9. Check their blog badges. This doesn’t necessarily mean the AdAge 150 list badge (although that one can be nice for ranking/comparing). Instead, check the next tier of badges—the more personal badges—because they will tell you a lot about the blogger. By looking at the person’s blog badges, you can gather quick information such as whether the blogger cares about helping others, attends local digital events, or mentors younger pros, for example.

10. Check their LinkedIn profile. Don’t forget to research the blogger’s LinkedIn profile, a veritable treasure-trove of information. You can also learn a lot about someone by scanning what groups the blogger has joined on Linkedin. If you’re by chance a part of those groups, you can find out how often they engage/contribute, what they’re saying, and with whom they’re interacting—all valuable content as you decide whether or not to keep them on your list.

11. Check Google. By Googling the blogger’s name, you can see where they live online, what blogs they’re commenting on, and more.

Arik Hanson is principal of  ACH Communications. 


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