Last week, Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read/Write Web wrote a fantastic article about the free monitoring tools that you can use to look at blogs. One with which I was not familiar was AideRSS. But, after kicking the tires a bit, I plan to add this very important tool to my arsenal.
Marshall suggests using it to find influential bloggers, but I see its value more in finding the influential content by a particular blogger.
One of the most important thing that you can do before pitching a blogger is to read what they write. But one of the hardest things to do is to get an overview of a particular blog, even if you spend hours reading the archives or days subscribed to the feed.
AidesRSS looks at number of comments on particular posts, as well as Digg, Google and Delicious tags to get a sense of the popularity of a post. It breaks posts down by the top 20, Best Posts, Great Posts, Good Posts and All Posts.
As an example, here are the top 5 most popular posts Communication Overtones, as generated by AidesRSS:
RSS feeds for Communication Overtons
I find the service very interesting, and certainly think its snapshot view can help the savvy public relations professional to stay on top of niche blogs. It certainly doesn't replace other tools like Technorati and Google Blogs, but it adds a dimension that wasn't available before.