June 14, 2005

MarketingSherpa's 10 Best Blogs for 2005: Winners Named + Hotlinks for Your Surfing Pleasure

SUMMARY: The results are in -- here's your guide to the very best (as voted by MarketingSherpa's readership) blogs of 2005 on the topics of marketing, advertising, and public relations.
Congratulations to MarketingSherpa's 2005 Best Blog winners and thanks to the 2,065 tough judges who carefully evaluated 52-nominated blogs to pick them. Best individual's blog on the general topic of marketing and advertising

Awarded to: Seth Godin's Blog http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/blog.html

Honorable Mention: Adrants http://www.adrants.com

Editor's Note: Both these blogs won last year, albiet in reversed positions. In a world where the average blog lifetime is something like six months, we're impressed and inspired by two bloggers producing award-winning work year after year. So many bloggers start red-hot and then quickly run out of steam. Seth Godin and Steve Hall beat the odds and we salute them!

Best group weblog on the general topic of marketing and advertising

Winner: MarketingVOX http://www.marketingvox.com

Honorable Mention (Tie): Marketing Genius http://marketinggenius.blogspot.com Church of the Customer http://www.churchofthecustomer.com

Editor's Note: Congrats to Tig Tillinghast of MarketingVox who has kept the editorial quality high while going through business model and management changes. MarketingVox is one of the few completely self-sustaining Blogs we know of. And, we've heard Tig's expanding his formula to new industry niches shortly, including a blog for defense industry news.

Best PR-topic blog

Winner: Media Guerrilla http://mmanuel.typepad.com/media_guerrilla

Honorable Mention: Strategic Public Relations http://www.prblog.typepad.com

Editor's Note: Even if you're not into PR, definitely check out Mike Manuel's Media Guerrilla Blog to see one of our fave blogger self-photos. If you're going to post a photo of yourself on your blog -- which is a great idea -- this is one to be inspired by. Also, the writing and hotlinks rock. Mike deserved this award win.

Best B-to-B marketing-topic blog

Winner: Guerrilla Consulting http://guerrillaconsulting.typepad.com

Honorable Mention: B-to-B Lead Generation Blog http://blog.startwithalead.com/

Editor's Note: If you're in the consulting business (or you daydream about leaving your corporate job for freelancing someday), check out this year's B-to-B category winner for genuinely useful advice and links on how to score clients.

By the way, we hear a new hardcover book is coming out soon by the author of the Honorable Mention Blog in this category, proving a blog can lead to fame in more ways than one.

Best blog on small business marketing

Winner: Duct Tape Marketing http://www.DuctTapeMarketing.com/weblog.php

Honorable Mention: Small Business Trends http://www.smallbusinesses.blogspot.com

Editor's Note: Wow! Duct Tape Marketing won handsdown for the secondyear running, gaining more votes than any other blog in any category in the entire contest. Most bloggers can only dream of such a huge and passionate fan base.

Best blog on online marketing

Winner: Chris Baggott's Best Practices in Email http://exacttarget.typepad.com/chrisbaggott

Honorable Mention: Charlotte Li's Blog http://blogs.forrester.com/charleneli/

Editor's Note: As a leader at a fast-growing technology company, Chris has an insane travel schedule. Kudos to him for keeping this effort up for 18 months now. If you're trying to convince a C-level exec at your organization to start a blog, and they say, 'I'm too busy," taunt them with Chris' example.

Blogs on search marketing

Winner: Search Engine Roundtable http://www.seroundtable.com

Honorable Mention: Brad Fallon http://www.bradfallon.com

Editor's Notes: We adore the unusual editorial tactic for the winning blog in this category: Instead of linking to news sites, the authors comment on and link to the very best new threads on search marketing on discussion boards all over the Web. So, it's a true insiders-insider blog and a reflection of what people are realy talking about (vs. what the media thinks).

Best blog on niche marketing

Winners (tie): Ypulse -- Media for the Next Generation http://www.ypulse.com/

WonderBranding -- Marketing to Women http://michelemiller.blogs.com/marketing_to_women

Honorable Mention: Lipsticking -- Smart marketing to women online http://windsormedia.blogs.com/lipsticking

Editor's Note: All three of these blogs are not only useful for advice on their topics but also worth watching if you plan to launch a Blog to promote yourself as a niche marketing consultant. (P.S. Whoa, get ready for neon-pink and orange when you visit Ypulse.)

Best nonEnglish-language blog

Winner: MarketingFacts (completely in Dutch) http://www.mediafact.nl/weblog.php

Honorable mention: Media Culpa (in Swedish with some English) http://www.kullin.net/

Editor's Note: We only wish we could read them for ourselves. Many thanks to the European MarketingSherpa readers who evaluated these blogs for us.

Top readers' choice write-in vote

Winner: Easy Bake Weblogs http://easybakeweblogs.com

Honorable Mention: Collateral Damage (CMO Magazine) http://www.cmomagazine.com/blog_view.html?ID=401

Editor's Note: Fascinating that these two winners, both with more than 50 write-in votes in a category that generated more than 500 nominations, represent the two ends of the online media spectrum.

Easy Bake is by a self-publishing entrepreneur who hopes you'll like his blog so much you'll buy his also-self-published book. Collateral Damage is by a professional journalist who was asked to write a blog as part of his editorial duties at CMO Magazine, which is published by the gargantuan trade magazine company IDG.

How the best blogs were chosen:

In April 2005, we asked MarketingSherpa's 237,000 readers (who are mainly marketing execs at medium-large businesses and the agencies who serve them) to nominate their favorite blogs on the subjects of marketing, advertising, and PR.

Our editorial staff was not allowed to make any nominations. This is a "People's Choice" award based on what MarketingSherpa readers really like.

It's awfully easy to start a blog on an impulse, but equally difficult to keep the effort up posting consistently over the long-term. So we cut nominated blogs that had been started after January 1st, 2005 (you guys can try again next year).

We also cut blogs that were off-topic, rarely updated, or otherwise seemed to be less on target for MarketingSherpa's readership. A total of 52 nominated blogs qualified for the next round.

Next, we invited all 237,000 MarketingSherpa readers to vote for the best blogs in the categories listed above, plus a write-in category where they could put any additional blog's name. We included hotlinks to every blog so folks could check them out prior to voting.

We also allowed nominated blogs to post links to the voting form for their own readers, however we asked all voters to evaluate every nominee in a category and not just one single blog (which worked out fine). However, MarketingSherpa staff were not allowed to vote or influence results in any way.

Voters were asked to rate each blog in a category by one of three designations: "Excellent," "Not bad," and "Blah." To make sure everyone understood what was expected from an "excellent" vote, we included the following instructions:

#1. Personality: Is there a clear personality? Do you feel like you know the writer(s)? Is there a feeling of intimacy that may be missing from mainstream media?

#2. Usefulness: Is the information either darned useful or very enjoyable to read? Did it make you think, or laugh, or click? Are there handy links to other places?

#3. Writing style: Is it a sales pitch badly disguised as a blog? Is it a long-winded column instead of a snappy, slightly-informal blog? Is it just news briefs without analysis or insight?

#4. Usability and design: Is the typeface easy to read? Can you find links to archives? Is the writing concise and skimmable? Are graphics limited to what's useful or fun?

#5. Would you revisit: Is it useful or engaging enough for you to visit it again someday? Or will you forget it the minute after you vote?

On June 13, 2005, we closed the voting form in order to tabulate winners. 2,065 people had cast votes. Although some votes appeared to come from links, these didn't appear to change the overall results. So, the same blogs almost certainly would have won even if only MarketingSherpa readers had voted.

Also interestingly, in several categories, the blog that was probably the best known to voters prior to voting did not end up being the winner. So, fame didn't make a big difference.

What did winners get anyway?

Aside from fame, hotlinks, and glory, winners will receive an award icon they can put on their blogs (if they choose) to impress visitors. They will also receive a lovely MarketingSherpa Best Blog 2005 coffee mug to display on their desks and make their visitors and/or co-workers jealous.

Again, our thanks to everyone who helped make our Readers' Choice Blog Awards successful. Get your voting cap ready for next year!

Useful links related to this article

Want to see who won last year? Here are 2004 winners: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2729 (Open access)

Three useful MarketingSherpa stories about marketing with blogs:

#1. Case Study: How to Build Your eretail Business with a Blog (6%-8% of Readers Convert to Buyers) http://library.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2806

#2. Case Study: Seven Practical Tactics to Turn Your Blog Into a Sales Machine http://library.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2937

#3. How to Discover and Get Mentioned in the Most Powerful Blogs for Your Industry http://library.marketingsherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2765

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