by Franco Veltri
The line dividing news reporting and marketing is becoming thinner and thinner. One of the most popular PR expressions on the net is ‘content marketing’. A Google search today provides about 729.000.000 results. If you search for ‘publicity’ you get instead only 41.800.000 results.
Purpose of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content. To achieve this goal, it focuses on owning media, not renting it. Amazon’s purchase of The Washington Post represents a clear example of a marketing strategy counting more on editorial content than on paid advertisement.
Two recent moves are showing that this process is taking speed. New York Times Time Inc. said two weeks ago that the editors of its individual magazines would report directly to the company’s business side for the first time in its history, instead of the editor in chief of Time Inc. The stated goal is to break down barriers between business and journalism.
Another recent example is the announcement made by the Associated Press. Starting next year, the most important wire service in the world is planning to introduce sponsored articles into the stream of news stories on its mobile apps and hosted websites.
The merging between marketing and information may become a recipe for death. Both can kill each other. Indeed, as Jenise Fryatt recently noted,
Centered around relationship-building, content marketing rises or falls on its ability to win trust. So credibility is paramount.
Journalists in the past were taught this means thorough research, checking and rechecking facts and shying away from wild or incendiary claims.
Marketers may assume providing content that is more informational than promotional in today’s world is enough.
If they respect the market rules, marketers cannot go too far in spinning the content of news media. It would mean to condemn the acquired news channel to death, and their investment to be lost. Meanwhile, independent sources (i.e. bloggers) may find further space to fill.