Erick Schonfeld Misses the Point – It’s About Quality, Not Quantity!

blogging.pngLast week Erick Shonfeld, a writer for TechCrunch, posted a rather uninspiring article after Technorati released their “State of the Blogosphere” stating that “The More [bloggers] Post, the Higher [they] Rank”. In it, he argued that because a majority of the Top 100 blogs tracked by Technorati post more than 5 times a day, and 43 percent of those post more than 10 times a day, that the quantity of those posts is the reason for those blogs entering the top 100 of Technorati. While perhaps true for some, I argue it may be the means, but definitely not the reason the top 100 are where they are.

On Technorati, Quality Trumps Quantity

Let’s face it – every site in the top 100 in Technorati is there because they have put time into their posts. Sites like TechCrunch and Mashable and ReadWriteWeb employ bloggers to professionally blog for them, giving those bloggers the time and motivation to put effort into the posts they write. They have editors which look over the posts each author writes and those editors add an additional level of quality to the posts that they write. They all started small and have grown to the level they are, enabling them to keep the spots they are at.

Because more time is spent on each post, and these sites are able to crank out many of those quality posts, yes, they get more links in a short amount of time. More people are interested in them. They get the breaking news first because startups and other PR firms know that they generate traffic and buzz. This keeps them interesting.

Quantity Plays a Very Small Part

However, I argue that quantity is not the reason most of these people are in the top 100. The problem with quantity is people get bored of you. When you’re cranking out so many posts a day that people can’t keep up they begin to tune out. Sure, they may still subscribe to your feeds, but they start to reduce your importance in their minds. You get links only because you’re cranking out so many posts in a short amount of time. In fact, I suggest this isn’t healthy for the blogosphere. The blogosphere thrives on being personal and unique, not robotic.

Therefore these blogs may have gotten to where they are because of quality, but that does not mean they are invincible. Posts like Erick’s seem to imply that they are and that the little guy has no way of getting “into the blogging elite”.

It is Possible to Get in the Top 100 and Not Post Every Day!

I was reminded of this point when Chris Brogan very humbly made mention on his blog that he had broken the top 100 blogs on Technorati. While Chris does post almost every day and sometimes more than once, he also skips days at times, and I can tell you that blogging is by far his top priority! Chris writes quality, well-thought out posts that make you think and teach you things. He’s not a news breaker, unless he thinks you can learn from it. People like this, so they link to him. He has become more than just a “blogger”, but a “thought-leader” and example.

Seth Godin is another example. Currently Seth is number 17 on the top 100 of Technorati. He’ll never let you know that, by the way. Seth posts short, thoughtful posts, once a day, which make you think. You feel inspired after reading just the short paragraph or two that he writes. Seth too is considered a thought leader because of this. He could care less about quantity. His quality is what has made his blog.

Robert Scoble is another example. There are days and even weeks he goes without blogging, but when he speaks, he speaks with passion. He tries to inspire, and show you by his actions what the upcoming technologies are. Because of this, lots of people link to him.

Then there’s Guy Kawasaki. Guy’s last post was 2 days ago. He blogs because it’s fun. He blogs because he has something to share, not because of a duty to blog. Guy got in the top 100 naturally, not because of an army of bloggers working for him.

You Can Do it Too!

I’ll be first to admit that I’m not there. True, it would be cool to be there, but frankly, it’s not important. What’s important is that you stop focusing on the robotic nature of blogging just to blog, and blog because you care. Blog because you have something to say, and blog because it makes sense.

It doesn’t matter if you blog 5 times a day, once a day, or even once a week. If you write quality posts, lead in your thoughts and actions, and show that in your writing, others will link to you. Despite what Erick Shonfeld says, don’t listen to him – quality trumps quantity any day, especially with Technorati.

(Image courtesy http://manonl.edublogs.org/2008/04/22/blogging-away/)

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19 thoughts on “Erick Schonfeld Misses the Point – It’s About Quality, Not Quantity!

  1. Jesse,
    first let me say that I broadly agree with everything here: quality is most definitely the strongest factor. Erick is also clueless on the subject, having never published his own site nor even worked in a startup.

    However, quantity isn't a very small part. It's a significant part. Not the most significant, nor would I rank it at 50% on the importance scale, but it isn't small either. Blogging can and is at times a numbers game. The more posts you have up, the more likely you're going to get some great traffic. Volume does help traffic, and I know for example that when I was at Gnomedex that The Inquisitr dropped to monthly lows as I wasn't posting as much. Likewise, I went on a posting spree last week when one of my writers was away, I didn't mean to, but I did 17 posts in one day (and I'll probably never do that many again), but the flow on affects were clear for me: over the next 4 days, our traffic kept going up not based on new content alone, but based on some of those posts getting some viral love. Some of those posts I may not have written normally only for the case that I was over-compensating on the day.

    Quality should be, and is the first and most important measure of a successful blog. But quantity helps more than a little bit. 🙂

    Like

  2. Very good reasoning though I think I'll agree with Duncan that quantity still matters when it comes to building a blog from scratch. Those people you mentioned as examples are mostly authorities in their niches and people are willing to listen and link to them because they know these people will have something worthy to say. But when you are only in the process of building that very brand, you may need to post much more often – at least to figure out what posts will draw attention from your readers and what posts will be largely ignored.

    Like

  3. Duncan, I see your point, but I think quantity is the easy way to
    getting on the list. I think it brings the least substance though.
    Focusing on quality establishes you as a thought-leader, makes people
    remember the individual and not the blog, and I think people will see
    the most success in their lives this way. They may or may not get in
    the Technorati top 100 but quality I still argue is most important.
    My point in this post is to point out that it is still possible to get
    in the top 100 and not be playing the numbers game. The more people
    respect you, the more they link to you – it's not easy, but possible.
    I think we're pretty much saying the same things here though. I
    thought Erick's post was very discouraging to those that can't afford
    to blog multiple times a day.

    Like

  4. Jesse,

    It's not a simple equation of quantity vs. no quantity. There's probably a sweet spot somewhere in the middle between the “17 posts a day” rate and the “1 post a month” rate.

    Low quantity is bad. If you write the greatest post in the world, it doesn't matter if no one bothers to look at your blog or your feed. I publish three blogs for extremely narrow vertical market, and one of these blogs averages about two posts a week; I'm sure that the low publishing rate is the reason that particular blog has the lowest traffic of any of the three; why would people visit it if there's hardly ever any new content?

    However, for my reading purposes, very high quantity is bad. Some blogs that post many times a day end up migrating to my “Priority-Low” folder of RSS feeds, primarily because if I don't have a lot of time to read at a particular moment, I'll want to concentrate on the more unique feeds.

    Interestingly enough, The Inquisitr isn't in that “Priority-Low” folder, despite its high posting rate. Why not? Perhaps because of the mix of tech and non-tech articles, perhaps because of the international viewpoint, or perhaps because TechCrunch doesn't cover Bigfoot stories. 🙂

    P.S. If you haven't seen it already, check out what the Personal Branding Blog says about the quality vs. quantity topic.

    Like

  5. Ontario, I do agree there's a sweet spot, but I don't think it
    requires posting more than once a day. If you look at the names I
    mentioned, both Chris Brogan and Robert Scoble, and I'm sure several
    others I didn't mention got to that list mostly because of their
    blog. The thing is they learned how to market their posts so that
    people would want to read. Also, let's not forget that it's not all
    about traffic either – it's about readers. What's most important is
    that you can get people to subscribe via RSS – that doesn't bring
    traffic, but typically those that subscribe via RSS don't care about
    frequency of submission. If you can guarantee 500-1,000 or more
    people will read each post you write, there is much greater chance
    they will link to you. There is also a personal branding opportunity
    with RSS – those that subscribe to you are more devoted to you, which
    is very much how Chris and Robert got to be where they are. Again,
    quality trumps quantity. Do you have the link to the personal
    branding article?

    Like

  6. Hi–

    I've received your message, and I'm glad you've taken the time to write.

    If your message is URGENT, and needs IMMEDIATE action, please use the
    contact page link below.

    https://awayfind.com/chrisbrogan

    Otherwise, please note that I'll contact you as soon as possible, and
    I'm grateful for your time and attention.

    Chris Brogan
    [chrisbrogan.com]

    Like

  7. Another thing that Scoble and Brogan (what do you call Chris, by the way?) do well is to keep focused. Even when Robert veers into politics, he approaches it from a technical perspective, and Chris focuses on social media and marketing issues.

    Like

  8. I completely disagree with his viewpoint that people make a first
    impression on the number of friends you have. If they're getting a
    first impression based on that I don't want them to follow me. I want
    them to follow me because they like my content, they like what I have
    to offer, and they find me interesting. It's harder to do it that
    way, but if you want the level of Scoble or Brogan or Louis Gray you
    have to start out focusing on quality, not quantity. Quantity just
    happens to follow. It's also not at all about who follows you, but
    rather who you follow and the information you get from those you
    follow, in addition to the relationships you nourish from that.

    Like

  9. Agreed, especially with the statement “the information you get from those you follow.” FriendFeed and several other services give you the choice of who you follow and who you don't, which allows you to shape your network. Therefore, you can't complain that “FriendFeed has too much noise” or “FriendFeed doesn't have any relevant information for me,” since to some extent you can shape the level of information/noise. (Although filters would be nice, especially if you follow someone like me who shares just about anything, on any topic, that pops into my fool head.)

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  10. Wow Jesse….Well spoken words that I think alot of people needed to hear. I have been blogging for sometime now, and I tell all my subscrbers who have blogs or just write causal articles. Is to just be yourself online and don't write to be perfect. Don't try to be like an herd of cattle following some else foot steps. You should concentrate on making your very own path.

    Write as if you are talking to an mutual friends. If your good at what you do, people will link to you as of what Jesse talked about in this blog.

    Here's the facts…If your content is good,direct,all you and well written, than one day Technorati will find you and make you an top player in Blogging. Then your blog will live happily ever after.

    Antonio Coleman “From TrafficColeman.com Signing Off”

    Thanks Jesse

    Like

  11. Wow Jesse….Well spoken words that I think alot of people needed to hear. I have been blogging for sometime now, and I tell all my subscrbers who have blogs or just write causal articles. Is to just be yourself online and don't write to be perfect. Don't try to be like an herd of cattle following some else foot steps. You should concentrate on making your very own path.

    Write as if you are talking to an mutual friends. If your good at what you do, people will link to you as of what Jesse talked about in this blog.

    Here's the facts…If your content is good,direct,all you and well written, than one day Technorati will find you and make you an top player in Blogging. Then your blog will live happily ever after.

    Antonio Coleman “From TrafficColeman.com Signing Off”

    Thanks Jesse

    Like

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