Five Blogs I Read - Social Media Explorer
Five Blogs I Read
Five Blogs I Read

One of the subtle tricks of building good blog traffic is organic link exchange. This is very different from link exchange, which is where two website or blog owners agree in premeditation to add links to one another’s sites. Organic link exchange is where a blogger cites a post or a blog from another with a link, naturally the linked to blogger sees the trackback, checks out the post and at some point thereafter, writes about that blogger or a post he or she files. Perhaps they even start reading the blog and link to it often. Though there is some thought that tit-for-tat links cancel each other out and Google discredits them, it’s the way a lot of top bloggers built their followings. It’s certainly one way I built mine.

Image by Moriza on Flickr
Image by Moriza on Flickr

While there are now cool tools like Zemanta that make adding relevant links easy, the semantic searches are essentially random samples. I still prefer to search my Google Reader for the topic so I’m at least linking to blogs I read. Besides the list of relevant links at the bottom of many posts, however, my blog posts are normally peppered with hyperlinks to interesting content that compliments what I’m writing. (You should click sometimes. It’s okay. They open up in a new window. You won’t lose your place.)

What gets lost in the maturation process of a blogger and a blog is the migration away from the simple, no matter how productive it can be. I spent last night systematically going through all of my feeds — over 300 of them — and unsubscribing from those that either don’t or no longer challenge my thinking, proliferate self-serving blather or were subscribed to in hopes they’d improve but they didn’t. And the one-by-one review reminded me I probably haven’t adequately shared some blogs I’ve started reading recently that I get a kick out of. I’m not technically looking for organic link exchanges here, but if it reminds these folks to read my blog and they wind up linking to something they find interesting, cool.

Five Blogs I Read

Convince and Convert
Jason Baer came to my attention commenting on my blog. After a couple of smart comments, I clicked through to find out more about him and discovered a smart blog with solid observations and a nice variety of subject matters without straying from the category. Plus, he’s started a neat series called Twitter 20 – Interviews On Twitter he started recently. I can’t wait to see some more of these. (Subscribe via RSS)

Deborah Schultz
I know, I know. The weekly roundup posts from around the net aren’t appealing when there are several strung in a row, indicating the blogger doesn’t actually post very often and uses the roundup to fake it, but trust me, when Deb Schultz posts something, it’s worth reading. She’s a super star who stays content drowned in client work actually doing social media work instead of yapping about it all the time. If you’ve ever seen her speak, you know how good she is. If you haven’t, find a conference where she’ll be and go learn something. (Subscribe via RSS)

Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik
If you want to really understand web analytics, read this blog. Kaushik is Google’s Analytics Evangelist and author of the book, “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day.” He’s one of those numbers geeks that is so excited to teach you how to read them that he almost giggles when he talks to about them. That enthusiasm carries over to his blog and, if you can get past the fact you’re reading upwards of 1,500-2,000 words (or more sometimes) on web stats, you sometimes find yourself locked into the prose. And yes, I read the other Occam’s Razr, too. (Subscribe via RSS)

The Marketing Technology Blog
Doug Karr is a smart dude. Other than the auto-post Delicious links entries (If you haven’t noticed, I don’t like these things), he brings marketing expertise to the table with a healthy background and understanding of technology. He’s the perfect guy to translate things between IT and the marketing or PR departments so we’re kind of kindred spirits. He also mixes in some sound business advice, too. (Subscribe via RSS)

The Harte Of Marketing
Beth Harte is relatively new to the blogging scene but she’s brilliant and a pistol, to boot. I could say a lot of really nice things about her, especially after spending some time with her recently talking shop, but all you need to know is Beth sees through the bullshit better than most people. That alone is worth reading since 90 percent of what you’ll find on other people’s blogs is what’s in the way of the good stuff. She’s got the good stuff. (Subscribe via RSS)

Keep in mind I subscribe to over 200 blogs (yes, I trimmed more than 100 from my reader) and websites. I picked five for simplicity sake. There are a LOT of folks I left out, but not because I don’t read you or love your stuff. Maybe I’ll remember not to migrate away from the simple better and pick you up next time around.

So consider this a request. Either in the comments or on your own blog, tell us five blogs you read. After you go subscribe to those five, of course.

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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at
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  • Glad to share Justin. Looking forward to your list as well.


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  • Jason,

    Thanks for sharing 5 of the blogs you enjoy reading and find value from. I wasn't subscribing to any of these blogs but definitely am now after reading your comments and then reading a few posts from each blog.

    Within the next day or so I plan on posting about some of the blogs I find in my “must read” group.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Glad to share Justin. Looking forward to your list as well.


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  • Great list and agree completely on seeing Deb in person, she's brilliant.

    • Thanks, Mack. I'd pimp Viral Garden, but who doesn't read it? Heh. You're right. Deb is a keeper.

  • ok – wow – i am humbled and yes – I really stink at keeping up with my posts, but thanks for recognizing that it is indeed because it is tough to balance the “doing” with the “writing”. I also try to point out new stuff -cause heck there are A LOT of smart folks wirting great stuff and well – I don;t want to just repost the same old stuff.

    • Honored you would stop by, Deb. Didn't meet you at SXSW, but saw enough of your talks to know I needed to follow you more closely. Thanks for the wisdom.

  • JF –

    Thanks very much for including Convince & Convert in your five. I'm honored. I want to pay it forward on this “5 blogs I read” concept, so I'll post my own later today.

    Thanks as always. I hope to catch up with you in person soon.
    jason baer

    • Pay it forward — there's a man who gets it, folks.

    • Jason Bean

      It’s Jay right? Not opposed to “Jason”, it’s a great name after all!

  • Hey Jason – good stuff, and I'm delighted to be a subscriber of four of the five already! So I'll be checking out Avinash's blog…thanks for the recommendation. A few of my faves:

    The Viral Garden
    CK's Blog
    Beth's Blog by Beth Kanter
    Servant of Chaos

    'Course this means I'm leaving off dozens too but hopefully someone will fill in more blanks. Thanks for bringing some attention to some super smart people.

  • Some of my favorite blogs are:

    Social Media Explorer
    The Harte of Marketing

    I realize that this list is not original… but you didn't say no duplicates and as a rookie in social media, I not only read, but appreciate these blogs. I list these because I was able to find great advice that applied to someone new to the scene. You don't need much experience to find something useful and applicable on these sites. Plus, a couple of these people have actually taken the time to personally reach out to me and offer advice to someone trying to get started and that is invaluable. Only in Social Media are experts so approachable. Need help with your 7 iron? Ask Tiger or Phil, maybe even Sergio… see if you get a response. Maybe that will be the subject of my first blog post…

    • Thanks for the great list, Michael. And keep in mind, NO ONE in social media is a rock star. We're all just a community of people trying to figure the social web out for our companies and clients. If someone thinks they're a rock star and acts like one, they don't get it and shouldn't be reaping the rewards. My two cents.

      You rock, my friend.

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  • Jason, thank you! Brilliant?! You are too kind, really. I think it's more passion for my craft, people and learning. But, I am glad to have made the cut and appreciate vote of confidence! ;-)

    As for organic links, I think they are important for a few reasons. 1) They help support what I am writing about and 2) They help me to send traffic to other smart folks who may not be known to others. But the one thing I am not a big fan of is linking a series of words just to get out some link love or linking a lot at the beginning of a post…I suspect both go back to my days of newsletter writing (above the fold, meat in the interior pages, etc.). I think it's important to engage someone in a post before you start providing them with relevant information.

    Looking forward to adding Jason, Doug, Deborah and Avinash to my reader.

    Here are five blogs that I read that might not be known to your readers. They are very thought provoking and well-written:

    The Brand Box
    Shannon Paul's Very Official Blog
    Chaos Scenario
    The Marketing Fresh Peel

    • You're welcome and thank you. I'm already a subscriber to three of the five you recommended. Will see what the other two have to offer.

      I get your point on the series of words linked. I do it sometimes, but only if it make sense. If the link is relevant and gives the reader context or depth of content, I'll do it.

      Keep up the good work.

  • Thanks so much for the kind words, Jason! Don't give up on the links, though. I do a lot of scouring across the net and try to find only the best links (that also haven't been served up 100 different places).

    • You're welcome, Doug. I have no problem with links … love them. But the list of links as posts just don't sit well with me for whatever reason. I see value in them and am normally not effected by others using them, just wouldn't myself. I have also unsubscribed from feeds if I open it up and the last 5-10 posts are all Delicious links with no other relevant content mixed in. It is what it is and I'm not always right. Your blog rocks. Thanks for the knowledge.


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