3 Things Journalists Need to Know About Non-Traditional Media

  • It isn’t journalism: There aren’t walls between content and the ‘business’ side of the company, Chinese or otherwise.
  • It isn’t new: Media efforts by Bumble, Airbnb, Netflix, Blue Apron, Casper et al cited by Johnston follow longstanding media efforts by non-traditional publishers like GE, IBM, Marriott — and pretty much every other Fortune 500 company. The idea “everyone is a publisher” is nearly as old as the Internet itself.
  • It isn’t easy: Creating content in a non-traditional publisher isn’t easy because it’s not part of their DNA. Be prepared to explain repeatedly to confused sales associates, finance types, engineers, and other ‘teammates’ why XYZ company is doing content in the first place. More to the point, content isn’t the end product but a means to an end, typically one with a profit motive. And, go figure, making money by creating content isn’t easy whether you’re working for a traditional or non-traditional publisher.
  • Who owns the content? Is it part of corporate communications? Marketing? The CEO’s office? Is there a Chief Content Officer at the firm? Depending on the answer, then the question becomes: Are the other parts of the organization on board? Are there ways your content efforts can support the corporate comms and marketing efforts while simultaneously distinguishing from them? (Again, it’s not easy.)
  • How committed is this organization to creating content? Is there is buy-in from the C-suite? Because making money from content isn’t easy and not part of the non-traditional publisher’s core business, the content org is often first on the chopping block when business slows or corporate whims change. (In short, there’s more stability in non-traditional vs. traditional media, but not much more.)
  • Does the company’s culture support risk-taking and experimentation, or just talk about it? As Johnston correctly notes “ it’s never been harder for companies to reach distracted consumers.” And you’re not going to reach them with bland, watered-down corporate-speak disguised as a “blog” or “podcast”, no matter how shiny the wrapper.

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Digital Journalist, Commentator, Family Man

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Aaron Task

Aaron Task

Digital Journalist, Commentator, Family Man