CBS Miami wants you to vote for Miami's most valuable blogger and that's all fine and well, but you have to wonder about the method behind the madness. It's like me putting a contest together for Miami's best brain surgeon. If pushed to do that -- because I'd refuse at first, not being an expert in the field -- I would consult with ... guess what? Brain surgeons and other medical professionals!
I just spent some time looking at the blogs that were nominated for voting -- a rather sanitized selection, by the way, with blogs that are "inappropriate for the community" kicked out of the PG party. Obviously that's the CBS community, not the community-at-large.
Some of the blogs are top-notch and listed on the South Florida Daily Blog blog roll, not surprisingly. Find them here.
Others are rather amateur by comparison.
Don't get me wrong and don't give my shit for saying that. I'm not trying to sound like a snob. I am a champion of encouraging anyone to blog about anything, whether they are professional writers or people who just like to post pictures of kittens. I practice what I preach and teach blogging workshops for newbies, for pete's sake.
But at the end of the day, it's another non-curated popularity contest with no regard for quality. It's a social media whoring platform.
And more importantly, it's a big media company portraying the blogosphere to its non-blogging audience in a short-sighted way.
You want to really highlight the local blogging community to your audience in a fair, well-researched way? Here are some tips:
- Why not interview them once a month in a regular column, for example?
- Or have one of your staff do a link roundup every week of relevant posts from local blogs? (I don't mean republish their content so you can make money off of it. I mean just link to blog posts.)
- Why don't you do tweetups and engage the blogging community socially? (Sun Sentinel has a similar contest, but at least they throw a party. As far as I know, they are the only media company engaging bloggers socially. Miami Herald doesn't do blogger meetups anymore.)
- Why not let people submit their blogs for review, so you can highlight them in the future and create a list of active local blogs? (Oh wait, South Florida Daily Blog already does that.)
It's just like when I receive a pitch from a PR person who says they've read my blog and are selling me on some mommy blogger bullshit. Clearly, they haven't done their homework.
But it's not all bad. This is a good start and you can do more. At least you're trying.
As far as I'm concerned, every single blog listed at South Florida Daily Blog should be in ANY competition involving local blogs. This is the best, curated source for quality, active blogs and represents a tremendously creative and diverse cross section of Miami. If you are a big local media company that wants to research blogs, you should make that your daily read.
As well, any big local media company that wants to do a blog contest should really consult bloggers when they are designing these contests. And I know a good group of editors who can help with that, by the way.
Big media companies, do your homework.