Techmeme now publishing paid and free "Leaderboards" showing the most influential reporters around a specific news topic

Thursday, November 29, 2018 2:18PM ET
by Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera)     Permalink

Today Techmeme has begun publishing Topic Leaderboards, which list the top authors and publications covering topic areas such as cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, and cryptocurrency, with additional topics to come. While this information will interest reporters and editors, it will be especially useful to communications professionals who need a way to identify the reporters covering a particular technology news category, or founders and other startup employees who have the same need.

How Topic Leaderboards are ranked

These new leaderboards are ordered to highlight the most influential and prolific authors covering a specific topic area. In this way, they're similar in format to the leaderboards we've offered for years, which ranked authors and publications for all Techmeme news rather than individual topics. We're therefore calling these new lists leaderboards as well, and they now reside at the same URL.

However, there's a key difference in how these new leaderboards are ordered versus our general leaderboards: Topic Leaderboard ranking is not based on the frequency of Techmeme front page placement. Instead, taking advantage of Techmeme's rich crawl data and sophisticated topic-tagger, Topic Leaderboards are based on, first, the quantity of links to articles on that topic from peers and influential industry people in social media, and second, the total number of articles on the topic that an author or publication posts. In short: being well-cited and prolific on the topic leads to a higher ranking.

Introducing Topic Leaderboard reports

How are Topic Leaderboards presented? Each topic gets a report, which is essentially the pairing of an author leaderboard and a publication leaderboard for that topic. The author leaderboard will typically include 100 or more ranked authors, and each author entry will consist of a name, a Twitter profile link if available (useful for obtaining contact details), associated publication(s), an influence score based on inbound link volume, and a short list of headlines showing some of the best recent contributions on that topic from the writer. The publication leaderboard comes next in the report, offering similar ranking details. Reports draw on the past four months of crawl data and are updated weekly, ensuring the data we provide stays timely even as authors develop or switch their beats, get hired, and change jobs.

Paid reports: Obtaining an extensive list of the best reporters for discussing launches or general relationship-building based on meaningful signals and data can be an enormous time-saver. In fact, many PR agencies and companies already devote considerable resources to the not-so-fun task of compiling information for this purpose, a process that's often more manual and qualitative than data-driven. Meanwhile, subscription PR tools that purport to organize reporters by topic are often woefully inadequate and even inaccurate, sending PR pros to the wrong reporters with frustration ensuing on both sides. To account for the value provided by these leaderboards, and to give Techmeme its first paid content offering, most Topic Leaderboards are available as paid downloads. They'll be sold individually for an introductory price of $100 each, though this price may increase as we introduce even more useful data into these reports. A purchase will give the buyer the opportunity to download in both html and pdf formats up to five times (to permit access on multiple devices).

Free reports: We also offer several free reports, covering some of the more buzzy tech news topics (for instance: Facebook and iPhones), and plan to continue doing so indefinitely. If you're wondering what our paid reports look like, just look through the free options and assess how much value you see in this format.

We want feedback!

Today, we're launching with just 20 paid and 4 free reports, but plan to grow the number of topics in the months ahead. Be sure to check back periodically to see what we've added. And if you don't see the topics you're most interested in, we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a suggestion here (there are no bad suggestions!). Second, do you have other informational needs that you believe Techmeme's crawl data may be uniquely suited to addressing? Please let us know your thoughts by emailing us .

Thank you, and now a Q&A

At Techmeme, we're thrilled to find new ways to analyze and summarize information to empower people in the industry, just as we've done all along with our news aggregation. As always, thanks for reading, and we hope you find our new offerings valuable. To conclude, here are some answers to questions some of you will have:

Q: I am the head of communications for a very successful company and already know every reporter who covers our sector. Why do I need Topic Leaderboards?
A: Maybe you don't! But if your company's products expand in a way that touches on a related space, you may soon change your mind. Or maybe you want to insert your company into the conversation on a broader technology trend or issue. Or perhaps your manager needs more evidence the reporters you've successfully pitched are among the best ones available. Meanwhile, your colleagues at PR agencies who need to work with multiple companies could benefit greatly from these reports, as will startup employees just beginning to reach out to press.

Q: I work at a PR agency where we have clients spanning dozens of categories. Can I buy a subscription to have access to all Topic Leaderboards at any time?
A: Not presently, but we're considering such an option for 2019. To help gauge demand, please let us know here.

Q: I am a reporter and I know I am simply better at my job than most of the names I see above me on the leaderboard for the topic I cover most. What gives?
A: There are many factors that could make a writer the best for a particular purpose: authority, skill in storytelling, frequency of scoops, voice, humor, imagination, influence, and so on. Meanwhile, our rankings rely on links that our news crawler has captured, directly modeling none of the above factors (though hopefully indirectly modeling a kind of average of some of the factors!) At the end of the day, we still need an ordering to make these lists more useful, but that doesn't mean your editor would prefer to have the #5 author on staff more than you at, say, #10.

Q: I am a reporter who gets pitched. Isn't this just another tool enabling PR people to spam my inbox more aggressively?
A: Oh, we know bad pitches annoy you, and we truly love reading your frequent tweets about them. But remember, pitches often suck because the sender is oblivious to your beat, and this product is in fact a remedy for that problem.

Q: I am a news editor and I think Techmeme may be excluding my authors in your Topic Leaderboards simply because you're not crawling our publication in the first place. Is this possible?
A: Techmeme strives to crawl all of the news sources that publish frequent, high-quality, original content on the tech news topics that we cover, but we still miss a bunch. Please fill out this form if you think that might be the case for yours.

Q: I see that authors and publications have "Topic Posts/Week" and "Total Posts/Week" in these leaderboards. What do these numbers mean?
A: "Topic Posts/Week" is the average number of posts or articles published on that specific topic per week and "Total Posts/Week" is the average number published on all topics. So if the two figures are close, the author (or publication) is usually more dedicated to that particular topic. Important caveat: these figures only reflect posts that Techmeme's crawler encounters. We may miss some posts on a publisher's site for technical reasons (inquire here). And in the case of larger publications like The New York Times, our crawler deliberately avoids sections of the site that rarely publish technology news.

Q: Why don't Topic Leaderboards use frequency of Techmeme front page placement like the the older, general leaderboards?
A: The majority of the authors on any given Topic Leaderboard have not had their work posted as a top-level headline on Techmeme. So measuring front page placement just won't provide enough of the data points we need to rank. Techmeme's crawl, on the other hand, captures an abundance of link data for most of the authors we list, so ranking relies on this metric instead.

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