Why I Remain on the Ad Age 150 Blogger Index

Tim Lincecum
Two-time Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum is experiencing a horrible 2012 season

I made a joke about my Ad Age Power 150 ranking a while back, but when I found out how low my score was last Spring it seriously upset me.

I used to be a top-ranked blogger! What happened?

De-listing became a serious thought for a couple of days. After all, publicly quitting networks and such seems to be the fashionable thing to do amongst bloggers these days.

Plus I get zero traffic from the Index, which primarily serves as a vehicle for top marketing bloggers to claim influence bragging rights.

But, in the end I decided to remain listed for a few reasons.

1) Losers quit, and I am not a loser.

Tiger Woods
Image by SI Golf Group

Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major since 2009, and is he quitting? No, he fell because of poor personal decisions and took time off to get himself back on track.

Now Tiger is competitive again. I guarantee you Tiger Woods will win another major some day, you can feel it.

I have been in the top 100 on a couple of occasions with two blogs, but not today, and largely because of my own actions and some lifestyle choices. I need to either address those matters or accept a lesser rank.

The real question is will I invest the time necessary to have a top-ranked blog?

Today, I value parenthood/family, running a profitable business, and maintaining physical health above this goal. Writing/social media success is fourth on my totem pole. Important, but probably not enough to deliver the necessary effort.

2) I practice what I preach: Lists don’t matter.

Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Zimmerman readies for a pitch

What matters are the relationships you cultivate as they relate directly to your business, and the people who are attracted to your way of thinking. If you serve them with great content and value their presence, they will be happy.

I may not be the most popular marketing blogger.

One of business goals with this blog is to put myself in position for big projects that can impact society and Fortune 500 opportunities. I’m getting what I want.

So what mattered most, being highly ranked or focusing on targeted outreach?

3) Competing matters to me.

Stephen Strasburg Battles Buster Posey
Stephen Strasburg battles Buster Posey

Frankly, I liked being a top-ranked blogger. To get there, I had to beat out many peers.

Other people like to compete, too.

For an ecosystem to have quality and merit, you need top performers, poor performers, and everything in between. Good sports continue playing even when they don’t win.

Again, because of choices I made I am not there right now. But I think I can still write a good blog post, and serve people.

So if bloggers like me who used to be top ranked sit in the mid 200s, then fine. I have a lot of friends who used to be in the 150 who are right next to me. Welcome to the senior circuit.

All the better for the those who remain on top. My hat’s off to them.

What do you think?

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  • http://writingbee.com/ writingbee.com

    Awesome! Thanks a lot for this post!

    • geofflivingston

      Glad you liked!

  • jeffespo

    Enter Geoff the Black Hat soldier πŸ˜‰ but then again as long as you are ahead of your co-author, you’re doing something right.

    You could also look at the metrics that they changed on overall scoring. Some of the areas they list as important aren’t for you, plus it is just a list after all :)

    • geofflivingston

      Well, there’s one of us that touts their score in their bio, and it’s not me πŸ˜‰

      The drop did occur when they changed their metrics, but for all intents and purposes. As you say, they are not important enough to me to game the system to win.

  • http://www.swordandthescript.com/ Frank Strong

    I’d also venture to say a smaller community tends to be more tightly knitted — and there’s influence there far greater than that of the masses.

    • geofflivingston

      Yes, you are correct. And we have talked about this and the focus I have on targeting. The targeted content is giving me the opportunities I want. That’s what I need to focus on.

  • http://twitter.com/LotusEvangelist Keith Brooks

    Great post. Similar lists exist across all areas. If we didn’t like what we did, we would stop entirely. But being ranked higher only serves some external group usually. And like you my friends are also hovering in my area of our lists.

    • geofflivingston

      Hahahaha! Well, a lot of the old guard, and some surprising big names are down there with me. But a lot of my friends are still in the top 100-150 range so I want to cheer them on. It’s good stuff. And I agree, being higher is just a credibility notch to tout to the outside world.

  • http://twitter.com/TheSalesLion Marcus Sheridan

    I think you said it all with your priority list Geoff. You and I share just about the exact same list. These days, the one ranking I care about is that my kids see me as the best day in the world– #1. If I reach that goal, the rest doesn’t matter too much, which is also why I have no idea if I’m even on the Adage list and hope I don’t look anytime soon. πŸ˜‰

    • geofflivingston

      LOL, see if I hadn’t been told my score I would have been fine!!! Totally agree with you that being a dad is and should be the #1 priority always! Thanks for coming by!

  • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

    Nice. I especially like the “practice what you preach” part. This reminds me of the whole Klout thing. It’s some arbitrary number that someone, somewhere decided to place on something… and people get all frantic about it in spite of pretending how much it doesn’t matter. The point is results… you’re getting what you want and your priorities are in the right place so that’s all that matters.

    • geofflivingston

      Yes, but if I wasn’t then I’d really have to look at the blog as a vehicle, +/- and determine its value.

      Last Spring when it was at its worst I almost quit because of no leads, no attention. Things have turned a bit with some focus, though the ranking still stinks. LOL!

  • http://twitter.com/susancellura susancellura

    I’m so happy that you have a priority list and are sticking to it. It’s key. You will be a respected person in the workplace and continue to do good things, get great projects, etc., but Soleil happens only once. With that said, no one likes to lose, or see their scores drop, etc., I think that is why winners are competitive. It’s human nature and it’s taught to us as we grow up whether we recognize it or not. I mean, Emily loves to watch sports with me, but the USA winning gold in the Olympics influences her. I also like the analogy about being on the senior circuit – the Senior PGA Tour is highly successful and their tournaments are just as much fun to watch as any other. Those guys don’t miss a beat. It’s a natural cycle within life. Younger generations and older generations change their goals and how they want to achieve them; it doesn’t mean anyone quits. Accept your accomplishments and move on to achieving your next goals. No one can take those away from you.

    • geofflivingston

      Amen. And the truth about the senior circuit? The guys love the game. They LOVE IT! They always want to play. I always want to write. I’m seeing the correlation, and accepting my diminished competitive self. LOL. Even writing that sucked.

  • http://twitter.com/jowyang Jeremiah Owyang

    My rank has dropped considerably, and that’s ok with me.

    • geofflivingston

      You were always a top guy, but I think your life at Altimeter has taken you to more intensive work. Keep up the good stuff.

  • http://www.suzemuse.com/ Susan Murphy

    I had a conversation with a good friend of mine once, who is a very successful businessperson in his niche. He knows what he does and he does it better than most. He said to me, “Success for me is about the impact I have, not the money I make. If I make money, that’s a bonus. I’m okay with being a thousand-aire if I know that I’m being true to myself.”

    The point is, fame and fortune is grand and all, but ultimately, we have to be true to ourselves in order to be truly successful. For you that’s being a great Dad and helping your clients succeed. For me, it’s being close to my family and helping people tell better stories.

    Do what you love, and the money will follow. And lists don’t mean crap.

    • geofflivingston

      Oh yes, you are so right. But they can be distracting elixirs. Thank you for your continuing support!

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  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    Well, you know my sad story. I’m so low I can’t even get ranked on the Ad Age 150. On a score of 1-7 on everything you need to qualify, they rated me a 0. Life goes on :)

    • geofflivingston

      LOL, and yet, everyone knows who you are. And as a business person networking is king. Or queen. :)

      • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

        we’ll see. maybe Ad Age will have the last laugh :)

  • http://www.michaelleander.me Michael Leander

    You’ll be surprised how few people outside the industry care about the AdAge ranking. But it is obvious from the commentaries that a lot of people care about parenthood.

    • geofflivingston

      There you have it, priorities are straight! I agree with you, I think it’s only bloggers who really care about it.

  • http://twitter.com/KatFrench Kat French

    Ah, Geoff. I’m glad you tweeted this–was so covered up with the Explore event last week I’d have missed it. I’ve never had an Ad Age 150 blog, although I’ve contributed to some. I started out essentially where you are. Between marriage, kids, and proving my worth despite not having a degree by accomplishing real work–blogging was never going to make it to higher than fourth or fifth on my list of priorities. Whenever I hear “A-list” bloggers talk about how they don’t know how their spouses (usually wives) manage everything it takes to run their household, it’s hard not to roll my eyes. Who do you think does all those things in my house?

    I just try to contribute what I can to the total conversation, and often that’s by commenting, or tweeting, or going for high-value/low-volume contributions on someone else’s blog. I think the conversation has value. But I’m realistic enough to know that I’m not willing to sacrifice what I’d have to in order to obtain that particular laurel wreath. :)

    • geofflivingston

      I can’t get away as an absentee father. And I also know a lot of A List bloggers who end up getting divorced. I suspect it’s because of this attitude. I know even the workload I’ve taken on has created enormous strain in my house, and it’s caused me to do things like put phones away when Soleil is around, etc. As you say some laurel wreaths work.

  • http://www.rachaelseda.com/ Rachael Seda

    I think I enjoy the #natitude in this post!

    • geofflivingston

      LOL!