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Go On, Brands. Hire A Journalist.

Twist Image prez Mitch Joel says that brands should go further than just hiring “content creators” who may or may not be former journalists.

That’s because marketing content, no matter how engaging, is still just marketing. “What makes great content spread is how unique and inspiring the message is, not in how it slants into a direction that ultimately positions your company as the only one to buy from,” says Joel.

Why not hire a real, unbiased “content creator”—a real journalist?

“We’re not talking about a journalist who is working for you as a writer,” he says. “That would be missing the point. The idea here is to start creating content that is both valuable and needed. … It’s about adding so much value that your clients (and potential clients) need you in their lives because the insights and information that you’re providing are so valuable. The challenge (of course) will be in doing this in an honest and credible way. Marketers don’t have a strong history of being able to pull this sort of stuff off, because we just can’t help ourselves but to push our own wares in the moment of truth (which is sad). The only way this will work is if the brand truly does let the journalist be an actual journalist (instead of a corporate shill).”

Our take: Probably not going to happen; marketers don’t like giving up control of their message, especially if that message in the hands of a trained journo turns out to be something unflattering about the company.

And readers have so far been reluctant to trust journalism coming from brands, though it’s been tried in some industries.

But what do you think?

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