I should resist directing you to Top 10 Blogs for Writers – 2007/2008, the latest list from Michael A Stelzner – because that gives link love that is not deserved.
There is no indication of any methodology (although the unscientific approach can be found at an earlier post). However, “nominees have been carefully examined, with the greatest weight on the quality of their content” – of course, views on the chosen ten blogs are gushing rather than robustly analytical.
Naturally this leads to a flood of comments of the tearful Oscar acceptance speech variety. What is it about bloggers that a little bit of recognition, or even better a freebie, takes away any sense of rationality?
A Google blog search shows that this Top 10 list has achieved its aims – lots of love back to Michael, aka easy promo for his blog.
As a cynical Brit, I find that self-styled “guru” Michael adopts many of US marketing techniques that irritate the hell out of me; from the chirpy “hello” audio opening on his book site to the hyperbolic writing style.
Michael has set out to own the concept of a “white paper”, which he claims “is a crossbreed of a magazine article and a brochure”. It might be a cultural thing, but I believe a white paper should be a serious document, undertaken with some semblance of verifiable research and providing a considered opinion. In the UK, they generally set out policy or an action plan after a “green paper” has outlined proposals for discussion and reflection.
Like many other useful communications tools however, in the US, this appears to have been perverted into a piece of hokum, which as Wikipedia states:
As a marketing tool, it is important to note that these papers will always highlight information favorable to the company authoring or sponsoring the paper while minimizing any negative aspects related to the company’s involvement with the issue, product or technology.
Mr Self-Publicist himself is evident on the same Wikipedia site advising:
Because of their persuasive nature, white papers should be carefully crafted to avoid the perception of salesmanship. This can be easily accomplished by inserting key educational content that is relevant to the intended readers. White papers should begin by focusing on the needs of readers, rather than the specific solution suggested by the paper’s sponsor. The book Writing White Papers explains, “leading with problems or needs early in your white paper is a very powerful method to gain the interest of your readers.”
Actually, what Michael is advising seems a pretty standard use of rhetoric – and anyone reading these “white papers” should be savvy enough not to rely on an overtly one-sided source when making decisions.
I have no problem at all with anyone or any organisation marketing itself – putting forward your best face is natural (although psychological research shows a self-effacing approach and acknowledging counter-arguments to be more persuasive than out and out puff).
But if you have something worth buying (or saying) do you really need to use tactics that are phrased in a way that seems less than ethical? It just seems like you’ve something to hide.
(Original link from Judy Gombita)