Posts Tagged ‘sponsored content’
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- Content is the future of public relations—but do we really want to enter such a “shitty business?”
- Content is the best way to reach the audiences our clients value most—but we can’t follow the media industry “over the cliff”
- Our core competencies are in storytelling and earned media, and we should “think like editors”—but we have to demonstrate real-world value to our clients or we’re toast.
The Council of PR Firms‘ 2013 “Content Frenzy” Critical Issues Forum was nothing if not contentious. During the event’s opening panel moderated by Ogilvy CEO Chris Graves, BuzzMachine founder/media critic Jeff Jarvis and WebbMedia Group CEO Amy Webb encouraged attendees to forget everything they thought they knew about “content” and stop trying to view PR as the new journalism, because:
— PRNewser (@PRNewser) October 24, 2013
His point? PR is all about “relationships”, not “creating more crappy content”, so we should stay away. And he didn’t let up.
The chorus has spoken: brands who don’t jump on the sponsored content train are destined for the banner ad dustbin.
But is it true? David Carr of The New York Times isn’t so sure. Joe McCamby—a designer who created the very first banner ad in 1994 when MTV still played Nirvana videos and Facebook was the name of your high school art project—thinks the increasingly grey line between journalism and advertising could end up hurting publishers and, by extension, the brands that hire them.
The problem, as McCamby sees it, lies in publishers allowing PR and marketing agencies to post directly to their sites through their own content management systems. He thinks readers will question the origins and accuracy of every editorial piece in a given publication once they discover that said mag/website is in the sponsored content game. Those readers, he implies, wouldn’t find much value in sponsored content in the first place, and it can soil their opinions of their favorite magazines and websites.
How true is that fear?
How does one go about making sponsored content that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb? A few bold publishers are answering that question by turning to their own in-house editorial teams to get the job done.
Mashable has been writing posts for sponsors for some time, but Ad Age points out a more interesting case study: Mental Floss founder Mangesh Hattikudur’s U.S. Open live-blog/trivia session post, sponsored by IBM.
Hattikudur notes that IBM did not approve the content before publishing—and he’d planned to cover the event regardless.
The point is that content created by a publisher’s editorial staff will feel more authentic and therefore bring more value to the sponsor as readers grow increasingly skeptical of advertorials.