Top 50, 100 – who cares?

What are the point of top this-that-and-the-other lists?  Today we have the list.   Apart from the headline dominance of Oprah Winfrey, it indicates that actors and old rockers are increasing in influence, whilst sports stars are declining (except for 2nd place Tiger Woods and new boy, David Beckham). 

Media relations is a key factor in getting listed, with press, television and radio mentions all taken into account, along with the number of front covers obtained in 32 major consumer magazines.  But being scandalous isn’t delivering the right coverage though with the likes of Paris Hilton not making the list (although Kate Moss does).

Public relations profile may also be a factor in securing a place on the The 50 best business blogs list published yesterday by The Times.  There seems to be no real scientific analysis, so I presume these were blogs familiar to the journalist tasked with this pointless activity.

Bizarrely he lists from GM under the Engineering category (there was a transport option) along with , an anti-LandRover blog, which has been inactive in 2007 after the company gave the creator a refund. 

Similarly stagnant is the listed corporate blog from Charles Dunstone at Carphone Warehouse, which has had one entry in 2007 (celebrating the 1st birthday of its badly managed free broadband offer) and does not allow comments.

The has an equally idiosyncratic approach in creating a PowerPR index – seemingly deriving it from a personal blogroll.  I have to agree with who suggests a wider reading list is required here. [How else do you explain greenbanana’s omission?]

Regardless of its methodology, lists seem to generate debate.  They are an easy way of filling a gap in a publication, creating cheap television or “inspiring” a blog post.  

According to , they also generate online traffic for those who are listed.  Which means in the case of blog lists, the cited bloggers then write about the list, creating a hit circle.

Does this mean lists provide useful endorsement; third party credibility for those included?  Does it matter whether there is a robust approach to determining the list or if  it simply reflects a personal opinion?  Should public relations activity be directed to securing a top spot on the list?

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

8 thoughts on “Top 50, 100 – who cares?”

  1. I guess it’s all part of the human search for order. I for one am a chronic list maker, under the clearly mistaken yet unshakeable belief that I can control the world by listing it.

    I’m quite sure you’re in the PR Educators’ Top 50 Blogs list… since there are only about 8 of us. 😉

  2. Heather, I always appreciate the rigour you bring to your contemplations. I won’t address the first set of lists you detailed (except to say your comments about the Fastlane placement made me laugh out loud), but I will ask you this: as someone who dedicates so much of her working life (business, lecturing and blogging) to public relations…how many of the blogs on this new “PowerPR” list do you believe really fall into this category? (No need to name names online. Just numbers or percentages.)

    That’s my problem with a lot of these so-called “power” lists. So many of the blogs grouped together under one category really fall into a variety of disciplines (advertising, marketing, employee communications, copy writing, technology social media). For me this makes such listings and rankings highly subjective from the get-go. Particularly because (as you said) the ones on the list end up writing blog posts about their own inclusion, as well as that of their friends. I’m sure those posts and cross-links prove equally beneficial when ratcheting up the Technorati Authority rankings.

    Greenbanana should definitely be tops on any list having to do with real public relations.

  3. Thanks to you both – I like being in the Top 10 of PR educators’ blogs… maybe I should create that list. Eight sounds rather a low number though – so worth a dig around to see, methinks.

    I’ll need to think about your question Judy – but I’m sure you are right about your observations on such lists.

  4. Hi!

    Three points in the para:

    1. seemingly deriving it from a personal blogroll. – I was very explicit about this being, indeed, from my blogroll. This was built up from several months of Google Reader subscriptions.

    2. I have to agree with David Brain who suggests a wider reading list is required here – There are 73 blogs on the list. That’s about half the blogs on the Power150 which is both marketing and PR.

    3. How else do you explain greenbanana’s omission? – Sorry I missed you from my subscriptions. I’ll add you. Although it’s interesting that generally the people who like the list are the ones who appear on it, and those who don’t, don’t. 🙂


  5. Friendly, Thanks for confirming the methodology of your list. I was teasing about the omission of this blog from your blogroll – it is amusing that people tend to like lists when they are included. I’ve always found that to be the case with awards too – they are rubbish unless we happen to win one.

  6. I’m hoping to spend some time updating the index this coming Friday so keep your eyes peeled. I’m also considering adding some more metrics. Plus, you’re now on my blogroll and you’re part of my PR feed coming through on the FG blog. Y’see – everyone wins! All you need to do now is add me to your Associates list… 😉

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