Summary: Let bloggers focus on getting the content right. Delivering that content to a large readership is another business altogether and one which media companies are best suited to provide.
My previous post was a rumination on whether the future for Web content creators is getting brighter, with the increased interest in bloggers by media companies such as Salon and MSN - not to mention niche companies such as Jason Calacanis' Weblogs, Inc, whose business model is to harness blog writing talent.
Along these same lines, Peter Lindberg discovered recently that a Swedish media agency had included him on a top ten list of the most important/influential bloggers in Sweden. Peter was ranked number 10. The Swedish Blogosphere has apparently been abuzz with this and people are wondering why some bloggers were included and others weren't. Media Culpa had some great comments on all this, firstly about the big picture:
"Does this mean that my blog now is officially considered a proper medium and that all sorts of PR people will start pitching me now (that has already started but not by anyone from Sweden)?"
My take is that yes, this is another sign that bloggers are gaining some respectability in the media world and that it's an opportunity for unknown writers to gain a foothold in the media via their blogs. It's still early days, but the signs are there (especially if you're actively looking for them!).
Media Culpa went on to make the following observations, regarding why readership numbers (aka The A-List phenomenon) doesn't seem to have been a major factor in the top 10 selections:
"Some criticism to the list today has been around the fact that there are other Swedish blogs with possibly more readers than these ten. So why have Chadie for example been excluded? I think that Observer have ranked the blogs not only on number of readers but also considered:
1. Focus - are they trying to influence readers with a clear agenda?
2. Platform - are they writers that already have influence? If Göran Persson started blogging tomorrow morning he would be the most influential blogger before lunch, simply because of his position. Many of the names on the top ten list already are influential people in media and/or politics.
3. Topic - these blogs are all focused on media and politics and other blogs that comment on a broader variation of topics may lose out in terms of impact.
And because of that, my guess is that Observer thinks that some Swedish blogs may reach a lot of readers, but in regards of their influence over public opinion, they are not influential enough to be on the list."
My take: I find that criteria very refreshing! It shows that good focused content is just as valuable (if not more so) than number of readers or hits. Of course, I would say that... being a C-Lister ;-) But the Observer has it right I think: influence is all about targeted and focused content; and writing it in a compelling manner. Once a blogger has that bit right, then the likes of Jason Calacanis or Salon can take them to the next level by adding marketing and mass eyeballs to the mix.
What I'm saying is: let bloggers focus on getting the content right. Delivering that content to a large readership is another business altogether and one which media companies are best suited to provide. Unless of course you're already an A-Lister, in which case you can do both. But most of us just want to focus on writing great content - we need those media companies to take us to the next level.