Traditional media’s growing coalignment with content marketing is evident. Part 1 of this article covers how people used to consume media like periodicals and why. It also covers how traditional media is changing due to market pressure and new revenue streams.
Ironically, such adaptation directly contradicts with traditional media’s credibility. Are opinions bought or lazy? Do events receive first-hand investigations? Journalists, for the time being, are more incentivized to write opinion pieces rather than pursue actual ‘scoops.’
Such opinion pieces, in turn, derive from other content -including content that emphasizes marketing. However, this article is not about the validity of 21st century journalism. Instead, it is about the phenomena of self-perpetuating content loops…and what marketers can learn from it.
Responsiveness, Opinions, and Direction
Journalists and other writers often have opinions -and plenty of them. Events happen and commenters share their ideas, often about the opinions of others. While find and dandy, merely writing opinions about opinions does little to reveal *new* information. Instead, it is recycling facts for reexaminations. This does two things:
- Perpetuate old information
- Narrow focus on popular topics or trends
Readers are not the sole affected party. Journalists, in fact, very well might be more affected. After all, they are the ones pouring over content looking for stories or inspiration. It also directs them. Yes, there is incentive. Today’s media outlets demand greater, broader, output to net online readers. It expands the potential topics that writers can cover. The information they are writing about, though, are often already available online. Journalists need only Google something and use good sense to write an informed opinion.
However, limiting research to the internet does more than just narrow focus. It also impacts what the writer is likely to cover. Details, opinions, and descriptions can be recycled wholesale. All writers, nowadays, need do is add a bit of spin. Bam! The media outlet’s readership is informed about something all media outlets are likely covering -just in a scope and frame they expect.
Content Perpetuation and Relevance
There are some similarities between journalism and content marketing…but there are a lot of differences. The former, purportedly, is to inform. And the later does that too…but often on a less comprehensive level.
Persuasion is the purpose of any info in a good content marketing piece. It exists to elicit an action, not just an interest. But that does not mean journalism and content marketing are mutually exclusive. Far from it, actually.
Smart content marketers leverage news stories and studies. They pay attention to the general media landscape and reference events, people, and products. However, they do so with careful consideration of their readers. Adopting their viewpoint, or writing for said viewpoint, is often critical for success.
It’s evident, however, that online revenue streams deincentivize strict adherence to the ‘facts only’ approach. In fact, it seems journalists are clamoring to prove a point rather than find the right facts. Content marketers should always be leery of falling into their own, or other, marketing funnels.
Pic courtesy of Jessica Spengler via Creative Commons