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Lists Are Dead. Long Live the Blog Tree.

Many content marketers are like slow-handed magicians: even a reasonably keen eye can discern their tricks.  CEO demanding to see more tweets?  Cobble together an obvious list of Twitter tips.  CMO clamoring for more inbound links?  Have an intern create list of “must-read” bloggers.  In other words, their need becomes your content.

But the world is catching on.  People are beginning to distinguish self-serving techniques designed to induce a behavior (link, tweet, comment) favorable to the publisher from meaningful content created to entertain, inform or inspire.  Content marketing is becoming a meritocracy, which is why Eloqua is thrilled to have produced the most award-winning content in our industry.

When it comes to cataloging top blogs, lists are dead.  Cause of death: “Content Rules” (quickly becoming the bible of content marketing), by Ann Handley and CC Chapman.  Handley and Chapman urge marketers to surprise their audience and “re-imagine” their content.  Ain’t nothing surprising or imaginative about having an intern drop URLs in a (corporate branded) spreadsheet.

It is in the spirit of this “rule” that Eloqua and JESS3 collaborated to develop “The Blog Tree” – the world’s first visual depiction of the interrelationship among marketing blogs.  It’s both a blog list and an infographic.  It’s both practical and playful.  It’s both something to use and something to muse.

And here it is (click to enlarge):

“Like” us on Facebook and tag yourself on the limb you feel you belong.  The same goes for bloggers who disagree with their placement on The Blog Tree.  If your “leaf” should be moved, “Like” us and tag yourself where you feel you belong.  We’ll take a hard look at the tagged image when we revisit – err, re-imagine – the visual.

The Blog Tree takes a holistic look at the marketing blogosphere.  All bloggers are interconnected in some way.  We refer to one another, we inspire one another, and we often draw from the same wells of information as one another.  We are all connected, and our connection is living.  Growing.  Morphing.  Adapting.  Writing is alive, and so too is The Blog Tree.

If you are listed on The Blog Tree, congratulations.  It means you nourish – and draw nourishment from – the world’s best content.  This is only version 1.0.  It’s not meant to be a definitive list of bloggers.

In the meantime, enjoy The Blog Tree, and here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of the lists that inspired it.

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