Posts Tagged ‘journalism’
Content Publishing Is Hard
One of the hardest things about inbound marketing is coming up with content, particularly content you hope will rout into sales. The problem is, as Mitch Joel points out at Six Pixels of Separation, marketers want to publish about their goods. We’re like those two men selling fruit. We need to unload our product. The entire point of publishing content is to help us do this. But if all we do is egotistically tout our wares, we’ll bore our readership and they will never come back. Worse yet, we won’t make a sale.
There are a few ways to go about content marketing successfully. You could be like Hubspot, which publishes tips and research like a stripper takes off her clothes. Not all of it, just enough to get you to really want more. Or you could be like Joel, who writes more like a journalist, commenting on industry developments. Either way works; neither is easy. Other strategies are popping up all over.
But not everyone can publish the same stuff. Most of the rules of thumb are agreed upon by this point, and though there is still plenty of debate in our industry, there is not really enough for everyone – all the freelancers, contractors, consultants, and organizations – to each have a large audience. There will be some, like Hubspot, who get the audience, leaving smaller firms without.
Hiring Journalists Could be the Answer…
Joel suggests that companies should hire a journalist to publish for them, hopefully creating interesting content that doesn’t just laud the company’s goods or services. This is a pretty good idea, encouraging companies to focus more on the industry than their own profits.
If you look at Joel’s blog, that’s pretty much what he has done. His blog is called “Six Pixels of Separation by TwistImage,” TwistImage being his company. This is something like a sponsorship with the corporation providing hosting. This is probably why he is suggesting that companies that have difficulty cutting out the hard sell from their blog copy should hire a journalist and adopt this set up. He says, “Maybe the reason this Blog has some level of success is because it’s more like journalism than it is about what Twist Image offers and sells (I prefer to write relevant articles about this industry).” The only thing that challenges this rosy picture is that Joel actually is the President of TwistImage.
…But I Disagree
I would argue about what success means in this context. It seems Joel is taking success to be a large readership. To me a corporate blog is not about the industry, it’s about the corporation’s take on that industry, their perspective and point of view. When job seeking, this is one of the first places I go to see what the company is like. When looking at potential business partners or service providers for clients, the blogs help me judge possible synergies. The number of readers is irrelevant compared to the quality of the leads. Six Pixels of Separation is valuable to TwistImage precisely because it is written by Joel, the company President. The blog shows how he understands the industry, a valuable insight and selling point for possible clients.
If a company hires a journalist, they are really publishing a small magazine or sponsoring a blog. This is advertising, and like advertising, the goal is to get in front of as many people as possible. The company may be better off purchasing sponsorships in existing publications. In Joel’s version, the journalist is taken to be unbiased in order to establish industry street cred, but it’s easier to piggy-back off of someone who already has established credibility, potentially multiple someones. And it would probably be a bit cheaper, too.
We all know that traditional media, particularly print, is looking rather sickly. I won’t list all the examples. I’m sure you know a few.
Rather, I want to list the reasons. I want to ask the question: “What disrupted the traditional media system and made it go bonkers?” Here are five digital disruptions that helped end the world of print media that we knew and (sometimes) loved.
- Sharing Because we can now share just about anything at the click of a button, the old model of paying for content went out the window. Of course some companies have taken to suing the people who do the sharing, calling it piracy, but they can’t sue enough people to persuade all the others to stop doing it. This was true in the beginning when sharing was via e-mail, and it’s doubly true now that sharing has become an integral part of our culture. In fact, Susan Currie Sivek describes how important sharing is to us. Apparently, when the new iPad magazine apps started coming out, one of the biggest complaints was that there was no easy way to share content. Allowing for sharing content may even be one of the reasons Flipboard had such an incredibly strong lunch. Not only did they let users share cool articles, they showcased the articles side-by-side with social commentary. When they launched they had to struggle to keep their servers up. The best worst case scenario.
- Aggregators And when people share, they often put it where lots of others can see it, on sites like Delicious and Digg. Or even certain Twitter feeds. Unfortunately for publishers, these aggregators allow people to skim headlines, get the gist of the news, and never actually visit the website. The publishers can’t claim these users for advertisers. They are, in a sense, wasted eyeballs. More than that, though, aggregators also throw the new breadth of competition into light. Suddenly users not only have a general idea of what the leading stories in different newspapers are, they see all sorts of topical stories lined up side-by-side. Competition goes from vague to very tangible as the story description or the headline either gets a reader or allows the other guy to get it.
- Lower Entry BarriersOf course, there is also more competition. Publishers used to have a monopoly on publishing because it cost a lot of money to run a printing press. Not any more. Heck, I’m publishing
this right now and, as you may have noticed, I’m using the free version of WordPress. All I have to do is have Internet, and the local Library offers that for free, too. Suddenly, competition is potentially everyone with Internet access, which is not based on monetary investment, which the publishing companies still have to pay. And yes, much of what amateurs post is useless (except my posts, of course), but amateurs can also be a relevant news source, helping people stay up to date on hurricanes or spread political news.
- Advertiser Alternatives These new amateur publishers provide advertisers a host of new opportunities, from sponsored blogs posts and product placement to simply new places to stick ads. Advertisers also have the ability to post their own worthwhile content, like Kodak’s A Thousand Words. They can make games, post advertising to Facebook, even be on Facebook. Perhaps we are seeing the real value of advertising for the first time, as Clay Shirky suggests in this talk; advertisers pay a pittance to put an ad online versus what they pay to get one in a newspaper or magazine. What’s more, newspaper ads are not very targeted since the publications themselves are made to appeal to a very diverse group. Who would pay a premium for that when so many alternatives are available?
- Instantaneous The last major disruption is based on time. Suddenly the speed of everything is heightened. If a publisher wants to break a story, it has to move fast. Josh Catone gives us a great example of speedy news-breaking. TV station WCCO based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul broke the story of NFL star quarterback Mark Rosen’s move to the Minnesota Vikings on Twitter, even before they got an article up on their website. Because of this quick thinking, WCCO was able to triple their website audience and become a trending topic on Twitter. If a blogger had broken that story first, these gains would never have happened, but how many institutions do you know that can move that fast? The ability for news to fly on the internet is a major disruption to the way publishing has traditionally been done, including rigorous fact-checking.
So, do you have any other disruptions that digital has brought to the press media world? Share them in the comments!
*This post was written as part of an assignment for my
but since the topic was interesting, I decided to use it for this blog.