One question I get A LOT when meeting with colleagues and clients: What should I be reading?
Which media outlets?
Which Tumblrs? (OK, not really, but I needed a third one for symmetry!)
It’s a complex question these days because there’s so much junk out there. So much junk.
So, you typically have to sift through a lot of that junk to get to the good stuff.
Now, some of the good stuff is obvious. Some, not so much. And some of the other stuff is tricky, because, well, the internet is a very tricky place these days. You have to pay attention.
Today, I thought I’d share my take on what TO read, and what NOT to read–and why:
Read every week: Digiday
Only read when the author posts: grow by Mark Schaefer.
Explanation: I like Digiday for a few reasons: 1) It covers interesting case studies in the digital marketing realm–case studies I don’t usually hear about, 2) It covers a wide swath of topics within digital–everything from social media marketing to social advertising to influencer campaigns, and, 3) It does have promotional content, but it’s clearly marked and I can easily avoid it. Mark Schaefer’s blog is one of the better independent blogs covering the social/digital world–but only when Mark posts. I find most of Mark’s posts insightful and well thought out (especially lately). The guest/community bloggers posts? Well…
Read every month: Content Strategist
Also read, if you have time: The Content Marketing Institute
Explanation: So yeah, The Content Strategist is a very self-serving blog. And yeah, I have written for it before, in full disclosure. But, they also do a pretty good job of keeping their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the content marketing world. Just a bit better than the Content Marketing Institute, in my view. Both, probably worth reading, if you have time.
Sign up for the e-newsletter: V3b blog
Read for more basic social stuff: Social Media Examiner
Explanation: Shelly Kramer’s blog continues to impress. And I’m a regular reader of her weekly recap (sign up for that ASAP). Much like Digiday, what I like about Shelly’s blog is how she covers so many areas of digital–and even areas few others tackle (her recent post on how to market to one of the unheralded audiences is one of my faves). On the other hand, SME was a blog I once read regularly. The last few years, I feel like it’s gotten a little too basic for me. I find myself reading it less and less.
Read every post: Shel Holtz blog
Read when Gini posts: Spin Sucks
Explanation: Shel’s blog has been on my must-read list for years. Probably about eight to be exact. He covers more of a PR/social/internal comms angle, but he’s one of the best in that arena. Gini’s blog, Spin Sucks, is widely regarded as maybe the most popular PR blog. I’ve been a reader for years. And, she has, without question, the most engaged PR community on the planet. But, much like Mark’s blog, for me, I tend to pay attention only when Gini blogs.
Read every so often: Shift Comm blog
Check in once a week: PR Daily
Explanation: No, Shift Comm president, Todd Defren, doesn’t blog as much as he used to at his legendary PR Squared blog. And, that’s a shame. But, the Shift Comm blog is still one of my favorite agency blogs. Mostly because Christopher Penn writes so much. Definitely one of my must reads each week. PR Daily is a site I check once or twice a week–to make sure I’m staying on top of PR news and trends (disclosure: PR Daily runs content from Communications Conversations from time to time).
Read, but focus on the “PR Links” posts: O’Dwyer’s blog
Sporadically, at best: Social Media Today
Explanation: O’Dwyer’s has a ton of industry news and information–not all of it that relevant to me. I don’t pay attention to most of it, to be honest. But, I browse their “PR Links” post religiously. It doesn’t always contain a great nugget, but it uncovers posts and articles I might not normally read in the world of PR. On the flip side, I’ve found Social Media Today to be borderline useless. The articles seem to be all over the place–and there are WAY too many of them. Really hard to find the good stuff (if it’s even in there).
Check in often: eConsultancy
Check in once in a while: Convince & Convert
Explanation: eConsultancy is on my “must read” list for one big reason: It touches on areas of digital marketing well beyond PR and social. And, I routinely find the articles fairly insightful–like this recent post about video ads on Facebook that cater to auto-play. On the flip side, I’m kinda sad to note Convince & Convert here as a blog to check in on only once in a while. It wasn’t so long ago (when Jay was posting much more often) that I would check in almost daily. Nowadays, the blog is less about Jay, and more about the community (read: guest bloggers/contributors) and his book. Still worth checking out from time to time.
Read regularly: Hubspot
Only if you need high-end Facebook ideas/help: Jon Loomer
Explanation: Sure, Hubspot has the occasional link-bait-like headline post. But, by and large, they’re churning out fairly useful content on a wide range of digital marketing topics every week. Worth a regular read. On the other hand, Jon Loomer’s blog–which has been heralded as a top blog in social media–is only worth reading if you’re in need of high-level, advanced, Facebook help. It’s great for that, but overall, it’s a little narrow to be on the “must read” list every week.