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Blog Links, Mentions and Baseball

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Doc Searls and Steve Gillmor are in a bit of a smackdown this week over what matters more – blog links or blog mentions.

Steve says that attention (e.g. eyeball time) is the coin of the empire, not links.

Doc counters this is not an either/or situation. He thinks that bloggers, podcasters, etc. should both mention people and – when possible – link to them. Doc goes on to add that by denying readers links, Gillmor is making a point through “passive aggression, not persuasion.” Steve reponds that links are dead.

(In the process, Doc reminds me that attention.xml – now Attention Trust – has not progressed as rapidly as I had once prognosticated.)

This is a good issue that warrants broader discussion since it has a significant potential to impact the marketing community. In fact, it rolls up into a broader issue that I have been personally pondering – what is the best way to measure a corporate blog’s ROI. It’s a question that every single marketer I meet with wants to know.

Baseball is a good metaphor here. A blog link/mention combo is like a home run – a four bagger. You get attention, Google Juice, traffic and branding. Blog links without mentions and plain old mentions are like doubles because in either case you get two out of these four bases.

Ahh, but what about RSS? RSS is opt-in and it’s attention. What if you score a blog link/mention combo in a popular feed you know has a high degree of attention among your target audience? Then we’re talking about a Grand Slam, right?

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

Blog Links, Mentions and Baseball
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