To sum up our series today on the death of journalism as we know it, there is less and less independent analysis from the free press due to budgetary constraints. Consumers are relying more and more on online content, especially video, to make their decisions but they still want objective content. Businesses that understand this are turning to ethical journalism and sponsoring it directly to establish themselves as trusted sources of content. The tech world is taking baby steps in this direction. Xilinx and Altera hired former print journalists to manage in-house publications sent to current customers. Cadence Design took a step further hired a journalist to manage blog content specifically to promote the companies products and services, but the efforts focus only on current customers.
Larger companies, like Pepsi, offer a section of the website devoted only to pop culture, not products. Digikey, in contrast, offers industry news by respected journalists, but they keep the content proprietary and littered with promotional material diluting the potential for building trust. Pepsi, however demonstrates the viability of their approach showing data that their section is driving sales, engagement and consumer loyalty.
Steve Rubel of Edelman wrote recently in a Linkedin article that companies who want to succeed in the new paradigm of information need to adopt a “newsroom mentality.” That means creating content that your audience needs to hear/read rather than what you want to tell them. That’s a tall order for most marketing-minded executives who cut their teeth on Web 1.0 and still can’t figure out Facebook, which is why finding communicators with deep journalism roots can be the key to success.
In the next year, companies that stop navel gazing are going to be the next market leaders, and it all comes down to what they do with content. The press won’t be there to help them do that. Time for a reality check.