The Better Social Business BlogJournalizing work in the trenches of all things web, social & interactive
On 25, Jan 2013
I was reading the MarktingProf’s post, Clarifying the Blurry Line Between Advertising and Editorial (January 25, 2013) authored by Managing Editor Matthew Grant with great interest this morning. Anyone who (a) authors original content for a business or on behalf of a business and (b) anyone who publishes content on behalf of any publication (traditional or digital) should read this very insightful and thought-provoking post.
As someone who creates original content for business AND as someone who publishes content digitally for various blogs (including this blog) and print publications, I have a deep, 360-degree appreciation for the plight and challenge of both traditional publishers (who seek to publish the purest form of content devoid of sponsorship or advertising) and content marketers who, on behalf of an enterprise, business or organization, have become prolific digital publishers authoring interesting, original content pieces but whom, at the end of the day, are pumping out content for the betterment of the hiring organization rather than for journalistic integrity.
It is true that in the world of content marketing, we do celebrate the notion that “everyone’s a publisher” (or at least should be). I can’t tell you of how many content marketing conferences or seminars I have attended where businesses are told to think and be like publishers. “You now ARE the media,” organizations are told as they attend these educational and networking seminars to learn how to improve their content marketing mindsets and online publishing efficiences.
And in the spirit of authoring content on behalf of a business, content marketers often do lose sight of the fact that the very nature of the content they produce, while surely stellar and original, is (as Grant puts it) “always serving the greater commercial purpose of the enterprise.”
Now, surely … producing great, original content that is informative, insightful, resourceful and entertaining to read is at the very core of content marketing. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the notion of content marketing, per se. But I do agree with Grant that the lines between advertorial content and journalistic content are often blurred on digital.
Grant’s interview with Bob Cohn, editor of The Atlantic Digital, resonates strongly. In his conversation with Grant, Cohn called “the independence of editorial from business… a hallmark of good journalism.” He also noted, however, “There are those who think that wall is not quite as sturdy in the digital world.”
Obviously, the purpose of content marketing is not journalistic integrity. As Cohn says about ads, “A guy’s got to make a living … so we’re going to sell ads,” he said in reference to selling space on The Atlantic Digital for “Sponsored Content” (essentially, paid advertorials). In the same respect, companies, too, have to make a living and content marketing is an integral part of search and social media marketing as well as lead generation today.
As a result, content marketing ain’t goin’ nowhere, as they say. AND, with the endless deluge of industry blogs, white papers and events encouraging companies to put further emphasis on content origination and distribution, I can see how traditional publishers will, given the intensity of today’s content marketing climate in business, have to continue to compete with online publishers on behalf of an enterprise for reader eyeballs and attention for several years to come.
In between professional engagements, Mayra guest blogs and contributes content regularly to a number of publications both in and outside the Washington DC metro area. Mayra is also the editor of The Better Social Business Blog, "Pet Tech" columnist for the Virginia Maryland Dog Magazine, contributes an “e-Trends” column to the Loudoun Business Journal and is founder of the Loudoun Fairfax Local Bloggers Meetup group which mentors and helps local bloggers network, learn and exchange ideas.