There is plenty of evidence that old line news media is dying. Newspaper values plummeting, TV ad sales dwindling, and layoffs everywhere. Just this past week, the New York Times, arguably the world’s strongest news brand, offered buyouts to staff as a way to thin out newsroom expense. If the big dogs are cutting, times are tough.
Meanwhile, consumers’ appetite for and access to information has never been greater. This is truly an information age, in which anyone with an Internet connection can learn just about anything at any time.
Yet many people believe that news publishing is dead or at least dying fast. However as the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi pointed out over the weekend, “publishing has never been stronger. What is dying is the business model of ad-supported content.”
The business model no longer makes sense, but the need for quality information will always be there.
And so, as traditional media becomes less and less critical in the information game, other information sources are springing up, specifically by brands that want to stir the conversation in their industries and create an informed customer base. Done well, content marketing achieves the dual purpose of creating an informed audience and building trust with that audience.
Traditional news media still has some advantages – as dysfunctional as they can be, newsmakers understand how to churn out significant quantities of high-quality content. This is something most would-be content marketers are struggling with; it takes a certain mindset to identify the elements of a great story and to tell it in an engaging and enjoyable way.
The other significant advantage that old news media have is an audience. Because they’ve been at the information game for a long time, they’re already seen as go-to information sources. Brands that want to inform and engage an audience need to reach this audience (rocket science, right?). Experienced marketers understand how to do this; most of the usual tactics and channels –advertising, PR, social media, etc. – are effective at acquiring the audience, as long as the tactics are well executed. Smart brands align themselves with traditional news media to build audience, effectively climbing over the existing media as they rise to take their position.
The big advantage that brands (that’s you!) have over the diminishing news media is a better business model. Rather than relying upon advertising to support content creation and distribution, brands are running their business and generating revenue through existing sales channels. The old-fashioned news media aims to inform and engage an audience in order to sell something; however, the thing they’re selling is the opportunity to help someone else sell their product or service. What a brand engaged in content marketing is looking to sell is a defined product or service.
Here’s the similarity between your content marketing effort and traditional news media: Both are looking to educate their audience and to sell something.