Content Marketing is not Journalism

Last week I attended an explosive panel discussion at SXSW. With the mild-mannered title of “Debating Brands’ Role as Publisher” sparks flew as Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and Lora Kolodny, a contributor to the New York Times and Money, sparred with the aggressive moderation of Tom Ashbrook , the host of NPR’s On Point, egging them on.

While there was actually five on the panel, the explosions between Pulizzi, Kolodny and Ashbrook made the highlight reels.

Pulizzi earnestly defended the growing corporate commitment to content as a viable marketing device — even filling the vacuum left by the declining traditional media. He said consumers don’t have three seconds for a brand but will have 30 minutes for a story. Kolodny lamented the trend and sneered at the idea of companies providing anything in an altruistic manner. Ashbrook stopped Pulizzi in his tracks when he asked him if companies would tell a story about killing babies with Bisphenol A

At various times both sides garnered applause but in the end the viewpoints remained far apart.

It didn’t have to be that way.  I think marketing professionals simply need to state the obvious: We’re not journalists, and we can’t try to be.  Similarly, Lora could probably admit that the plentiful corporate coffers are funding some useful and entertaining content.

As individuals and as a nation, we need fiercely independent journalists, It is essential to democracy.  And that role can never be served by public corporations and content marketing efforts. I think that is all marketing professionals have to say to take the emotion out of the conversation. There is no reason these disciplines can’t happily co-exist by simply acknowledging the limits and opportunities on both sides.

What do you think?  Are there threats presented when corporations try to fill the gap left by the decline of traditional media?

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  • Actually, I don’t want corporations “buying” media–all they want to do is spin. They aren’t interested in looking at all sides, just the side that will put the dollars in their pockets.
    This is related to ANY entity that wants to spin things in their favor–I realize that every company and organization wants to appear in the most positive light possible, but as far as I’m concerned, I want ALL the information, not just the information that is pretty.

  • Isabelle

    Thanks Mark for bringing the topic. Bias is in the DNA of any information product. Every content provider or producer has an agenda. No threats. Just more content to nourish a decision process.

  • Mark – I don’t think that “real journalism” is ever threatened by the content created by a corporation. Journalists need to understand that everything that is produced at the corporate level is going to show the corporation in the best light (even if they are admitting mistakes and looking to correct them).

    However, my issue with journalism in this country is that it is no longer “fiercely independent” as you and I both agree that it should be. Agenda’s abound and ideology has taken the place of the factual reporting of just about everything. So for me the pot might find it a good thing to stop calling the kettle black and instead ought to work to clean up its own issues first.

  • A fair sentiment. Thanks for commenting!

  • Excellent point Isabelle. Thanks for caring enough to comment.

  • I think the emotional stance all sides took during the debate is indicative of something deeper.

    On one hand you have corporate shills that will do anything for a buck and call it content marketing, on the other hand this movement has replaced actual journalism and a lot of people feel raw about that.

    Thats all I will say about that. I actually wrote and deleted a lengthy rant and decided to spare everyone 🙂

  • Very keen points. I think “real” journalism is somewhat threatened because they see their platforms slipping away. The New York Times announced this week it will start charging for online content and I say Hurray! We need that important newspaper to be viable. Thanks for adding your thoughts today!

  • Ha! Thanks for your always direct and thoughtful feedback Dino!

  • Traditional media companies have often sided with a political party – in the UK the art of subliminally siding with Labour or the Conservatives has been rife for decades. Only a couple of the papers are truly Independent of bias. ( The Independent.co.uk being one of them). Watch for major trend over the next few years as people focus on specialised sites for information and news. Freelance Journalists should actively seek out these niche sites away from the generalized content marketers.

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  • I really like the way you presented the facts. I have a new company called http://www.internetbillboards.net and am curating content. I curated your content here in this article. I am curious what people think about content curation. I think it is going to be more and more necessary and important in the future and that context will reign supreme. I think the overall context will be the most important thing and that should be obvious if it’s journalism or content marketing, the people who find that important and creative content and share it with their friends and social media will be there in the center of it all.

  • Anonymous

    i wish I could’ve witnessed this debate but I don’t understand what would’ve sparked such controversy among Laura and Joe. “Debating Brands’ Role As Publisher” as a discussion topic doesn’t imply brands are trying to replace or diminish journalism. Joe’s specialty is Content Marketing. Marketing is right there in the name, not Journalism. As I understand Content Marketing works best the more transparent, honest, informative and helpful it can be. Advocacy is part of marketing and there’s nothing wrong with a brand promoting its products and services. Content Marketing is about providing helpful content to a customer or prospect SEEKING that help.

    Why was Content Marketing being argued against in contrast to journalism? It has nothing to do with the challenges facing the journalism profession in my opinion. And I’ve never heard or read of Joe recommending that people get their news from a brand’s content on their website, social media marketing or blog.

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  • Mywebsitenow2

    Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.
    ecommerce solution

  • Hi Mark…thanks for putting this together. Yes, it was a bit heated.

    Journalism will always be needed. It’s not going away. Yes, the business models are in flux, but credible news coverage is a necessary part of our society.

    And I agree with you, outside of the fact that non-media brands can learn from journalistic techniques, it’s not journalism. The goal of content marketing is to sell more products and services or keep customers longer or shorten sales cycles, etc. We do that through creating (hopefully) the best content on the planet in our niche.

    There is no debate here in my opinion. It’s like debating apples versus oranges.

    If a non-media company works to develop the best content on the planet, and help educate customers AND in the meantime sell more product…well, if that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

    Thanks Mark!

  • I would say that is a trend here in the U.S. too Robert. Thanks!

  • Actually this is a bit of a hot topic with me.

    My content is regularly featured on non-profit curated sites and blogs. I’m quite happy about that. But when my content is featured on money-making sites without my permission, or without compensation, why should I be happy with that? I assume you are a money-making company that has just swiped my content to indirectly support and promote your business, right? Furthermore, the fact that my protected and copywritten content is now featured on the front page of your website might imply that I support your company, when it fact I have never heard of it before.

    If you had simply asked me, I would undoubtedly agreed to help you, but the fact that you base your business model on the wholesale swiping other people’s copywritten content without permission seems shady.

    This is a dark side of “content marketing” — an assumption that all content can be arbritrarily used for private gain. I would be vitally interested in your response to this. In any other business, using other people’s creative work without permission or compensation is considered unethical. Why is this different, Tom?

  • Agreed on all fronts. And yet, the obvious point I make here was never stated. I think that should have just level-set the panel and put everybody at ease! Thanks for wyour wisdom today Billy!

  • This is well-stated Joe and really no different from the way marketers have always approached their products — Provide honest stories, well told.

    The real debate was missed I think. Today, companies are less dependent on advertising to tell that story. Less advertising revenue directly impacts the viability of traditional media. At the same time it provides MORE independence for news gatherers because they are not beholden to company sponsorship — ironic!

    Companies are going around the traditional channels to tell their story in a much more effective and compelling way than a quarter-page ad. That should benefit everyone but the people dependent on advertisers.

    Thanks for adding your important voice to the dialogue today Joe!

  • I don’t think that corporations are trying to fill the gap left by the decline of traditional media (assuming you mean news and trade press). Rather, I think that corporations are trying to fill the gap left by the decline of traditional marketing. As budgets are slashed, communications that used to be printed and distributed have to be replaced with digital forms. Everyone is scrambling to figure out how to do this most effectively in the online social business environment. It has been proven that the new empowered consumer actively seeks out “information.” They don’t want to be overtly “sold to” online. The tone of marketing communications naturally have to change if corporations want online consumers to receive their messages. If that tone sounds journalistic, so be it. Consumers are not naive enough to believe online corporate messaging is unbiased (no matter how much it looks like “journalism.”) Obviously, they find value in what they are reading from corporations online. BUT, I believe that consumers will continue to turn to news and trade publications for what they hope will be unbiased reporting.

  • 1st time on your site, but this point you are making caught my attention BIG TIME. Your response is far more “measured” than I would be. Obviously Tom has not responded and won’t. But what he did here is becoming a far too frequent occurrence in the blogosphere and tweetaverse. What’s alarming about this occurrence is that had he not commented on your blog and “notified” you of his plagiarism, you would probably not even know he was doing this. He obviously saw nothing wrong in what he did and far too many other social media players don’t either. You are correct in your depiction of this behavior as being the dark side of content marketing.

    Henry Bruce
    @hebruce

  • First of all, welcome. I’m glad you’re here!

    For a “less measured” response on this topic, you might enjoy this recent post: Why Social Media Blogging is Corrupt http://bit.ly/dUiYLz

    and also:

    Steal this blog: Why the economics of blogging are broken http://bit.ly/hygV0E

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Henry!

  • This is an extremely good comment Trish and was actually one of the hot topics of the debate. Joe Pulizzi made the point that people are smart enough to know the difference between PR and news and he actually got an ovation for that statement. I agree completely with your thoughts here. Thank you so much for this wonderful contribution to the dialogue!

  • I agree with both sides and I will share why. Joe Pulizzi, Ann Handley, CC Chapman are just a few of the people I have paid close attention to in this discussion of ‘marketers as publishers’. Its true that brands should own, produce, promote and provide content that is supporting their product and services but also helps in an organic manner or provides a company’s position on a newsworthy topic. I do not agree that we report the news and that is where I feel we will always need and rely on the media.

    On the other side of the fence, there is a reason why brands want the media to take notice of them, mention them in a story, endorse them, etc. Its because our prospects see this as an external endorsement. If we take on the role of reporter and write stories about our brands, products and services, they just wont have the same ‘klout’. Same with the analyst community. They are trusted as an outside, non-affiliated consultant. Brands just cannot do this by themselves, no matter how good they are at creating content.

  • Just found some of my content over there on the first page, as well. Not real happy about that.

  • Hi Mark,

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your candid reply. I was not at the SXSW, but it sounds like it was very controversial. My business model is among other things content curation. I am simply listing a very small portion of the content with a link to the original source. I am not proclaiming to be an expert, in journalism sources are quoted, and in papers references are made. Your original content was never attempted to be passed off as anything other then your own.

    The thing is with content curation, it is new, so there is not one format yet. The standard has yet to be developed because it’s so new. Many sites are aggregating and curating content. At some point content curation will create some concerns, like now, I am interested in finding the best format, and understanding those concerns. Instead of implying any wrong doing, why not address the concerns to see what is the best way to do it. I totally understand. We need to address this and come up with the right format.

    Content curation is a hot topic right now. I think content curation is going to help us on the web in a very significant way. I can understand why journalism is at odds with content marketing, and why content marketing is at odds with content curation. The best thought’s and the right context should always prevail, most people understand that. So what are your thought’s on content curation? What would be in your eyes the right format? Getting someones permission or paying them is not really a win win for anyone, I would be happy to elaborate on why I think that is. The information is in the public domain, I feel listing a small portion with a link to a site is fine. I am trying to provide a valuable service, to visitors of Internet Billboards by giving them context, not pirate content. What are the copyright issues? Where is the precedent? I thank you for you time and look forward to your response. I am interested in finding a solution even if that means the removal of your curated content. I would totally understand, but I hope that doesn’t happen.

  • A rational view Christina. Thank you!

  • I mentioned in a comment below that there are two blog posts which more fully articulate my thoughts on this. This would be a good place for you to start.

    My main concern over you thinking you are entitled to re-purpose content for your own monetary gain is that this is not a sustainable economic model for anybody. I would need to write another blog post to explain this more fully (and will) but let me leave you with this: What if nobody paid royalties to a site like iStockphoto? What if they took your position — all original photos should be up for grabs and “curated” however you like. The people taking the photos don’t make money, but you do. Right?

    In addition to being patently unfair, here is the collapse that would eventually occur: a) almost every professional photographer contributing their content would fail and/or quit. b) you would be left with photos only from the people who don;t care about the money and probably aren’t good enough to make it in any other profession and c) the quality of the photos would decline substantially.

    Yet that is the model you espouse for yourself and bloggers? For people who are trying to make a living as writers and content-providers? It doesn’t add up. I know you are simply taking advantage of this economy of “free” but it will hurt the entire writing profession immeasurably. It is already happening.

    If you use a photo, you pay for it. I you use a cartoon off a site, you pay for it. If you use music as your theme song in a podcast, you pay for it. Why is a blog post different Tom? I spend HOURS every day on my blog. Why are you making money off my back?

    I don’t mean to pick on you but since you have offered yourself up as a case study, there you go.

  • Nice pithy summary Trish. It seems to me many marketers have been feeling busy investing time rather than money then feeling lost in measuring ROI. Kind-of digital paper pushing as everyone scrambles to figure “it” out.

  • Would a company ” tell a story about killing babies with Bisphenol A”?
    That would depend on the company and how it viewed its role in the media.
    Treehugger, for example, has done a great job with the Bisphenol A story. And Treehugger is clearly a content-marketing play by the Discovery Channel and related properties.
    But it would be naive to think that a content-marketing unit at, say, a plastics manufacturer would cover the story.
    At the same time, there’s a case to be made that traditional B2B publishers in the plastics space have done a very poor job with the Bisphenol A story.

  • Mark, that is a truly interesting topic you speak about here. I have to admit, I was always one of these half-baked thinkers saying “the internet will get rid of journalists and we will get our information only by content marketers”.

    However the argument you are making makes me agree with you very much. It is not the case that marketing professionals need to take over the role of journalists – why should they? There is room for both in terms of audience and preference of consumption.

    Please excuse my not so firmly established thoughts on this, it is something I want to dig in further for sure. Many thanks for the introduction, I found your post very interesting.

    Let me Buffer it :).

  • Hi Mark,

    In a photograph, it is not really possible to show just a portion of it. I agree with you, that would be viewing it in it’s entirety and therefore the visitor would have no use to follow through to view it elsewhere at the source. When a portion only is listed in content curation, it compels them to finish it. I also don’t believe simply re purposing content to visitors would work either, you’re right, that would not be a sustainable business model. You have to give them a collection of ideas, something of value. That is what a digital curator does, and then he or she organizes it into something useful.

    It is the collection of those ideas from multiple sources that weighs in. In my opinion the photography example, is therefore not really a fair comparison. In that instance the creativity would simply be getting pirated. Look at what happened with Napster, let me ask you a question. Did Napster only let them download half of the song, or the whole song? It was the whole song, and that is why it no longer exists. Hence the phrase pirating music. Would someone download half a movie, or by half of a pirated movie, no way, what do you think the trailers do, they get us interested. Speaking of what if, suppose a company website was getting an enormous amount of traffic and they curated a piece of content for you that drove a significant amount of traffic and potential subscribers back to your site, honestly ask yourself if you would feel the same way? Even still I think we are missing the point.

    You are probably a very good writer. I have written all my life, I could always use a good editor, but my ideas and concepts are usually sound. I am looking for a valid reason why content curation cannot be helpful. I did not invent the idea. In what format do you think it is OK for someone to mention someones content marketing?

    Perhaps only with a Twitter link back to your site. You wouldn’t mind it if I had a hundred thousand twitter followers and re tweeted your content all day though would you? I have written screenplays, I have written poems, I have written blogs and countless posts. No offense I don’t know you very well, but there is a reason why most writers do what they do. As a matter of fact you were really just reporting what was happening at the event. What this will do is unclog the system. You know just because someone has a blog, it doesn’t make them an expert. What if an inspiring young mind had someone that he really looked up to and curated his content, and it led to that person contacting him via social media, and saying hey thanks kid, and because of that connection a spark was ignited and maybe he put a post on the kids site. This is about who the experts are going to be. I’m sorry, but I can write pretty well myself, if I wanted to just write for my own prestige and glory I could do it. I would not need to curate content. This is about searching the web and finding the pulse of it, and seeing where the best content is and reporting it. This is going to be about public opinion and who has the best ideas, not about a closed web, the fact is social media has changed all that and now we can share other peoples ideas, like it or not, so you better have some good ones.

    I certainly don’t feel picked on and always welcome a fair open debate. I think this is how we make progress, but just look at all the time we have invested today in this debate and on this topic. Maybe it can make a difference. Maybe it will ring a bell for someone else. Thank you sir for taking your time to engage me in this manner. I do appreciate all your valuable input.

  • Respectfully, I can’t follow your logic. Napster killed the music industry and the ability of artist to make a living wage from their original content. That is the same mentality on the social web too and exactly what you are proposing too I’m not naive enough to think this free-wheeling use of content is going to go away, but we can all make our own choices as to whether we are going to participate in it, or enable it.

    Thank for taking my comments in the right spirit.

  • Hey, I got you thinking — mission accomplished!! Thanks Leon!

  • You’re out of my league on this one. It’s great that you know the inside scoop and could provide this insight, Paul. Thanks!

  • Thanks very much for taking the time to add your wisdom today David.

  • News you can use. I think that’s what content marketing is all about. Journalism has a wider scope, because it is the fourth estate.

  • Thanks for adding your perspective!

  • I would be sad to see content marketers take the place of high-quality journalism. Content Marketing’s purpose is to drive traffic and eyeballs to our thoughts and knowledge in a effort to get them to buy our stuff. Let’s be honest with ourselves, even if our content is not directly selling, even when we are telling honest, relevant stories we are, in fact, publishing that content to pull in leads, we are engaging to drive brand awareness, brand affinity and brand loyalty. Even when a brand is listening to their customers to serve them best, they are doing it, selfishly to excel as a business. It’s nice that it’s mutually beneficial, but the brand doesn’t do these things out of charity.

    I think that perhaps a more alarming trend is not marketer-turned-journalist, but journalist-turned-marketer. Maybe my opinion is colored by some nostalgia, and I know that we have talked about this here on {Grow}, but it seems like the journalistic integrity of my youth is dying and has been on the decline for awhile. It seems like those who were finding, researching and telling the stories were a little more insulated from the business side of media. But it seems as though that is changing. Certainly, one could argue, for the last 10 years, and it applies to both online and offline media, although I think the problem is more pronounced online.

    Olivier Blanchard had an entertaining (if somewhat depressing) post on this the other day.
    http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/aventures-digitales-the-quiet-death-of-journalism-at-the-hand-of-content-strategy/

    In the end though, I hope that the comments are correct… people are pretty savvy and hopefully they know the difference between PR and news.

    ——–

    Content Curation. I am not a fan. It is stealing. End of story.

  • This is a fantastic post Elyse. I share your concerns. Thanks for sharing the link and your outstanding thinking here.

  • This is a fascinating debate and, ironically enough, a real tribute to your skills as a journalist, Mark!

    What bothers me about so many discussions of journalism is the the very narrow definition of the activity, as if investigative reporting is the only form. Journalism is a very broad endeavor, encompassing all kinds of information gathering and dissemination. It may be true, as you say, that marketing professionals are not journalists and can’t try to be. But that is very different from saying that marketers can’t practice many of the forms of journalism. (You, Mark, are clear proof that they can.) It’s also very different from saying that content marketing can’t be practiced by journalists. In fact, content marketing is drawing a growing number of journalists as traditional publishing declines.

    When people like Joe Pulizzi, Paul Conley, and I look at content marketing, we do so from the perspective of native B2B journalists, and see huge potential in content marketing for what we used to do only in traditional publishing. Sure, there are some areas that content marketers cannot cover fairly, but as many commenters here point out, that’s always been true for independent publishers as well.

    I should mention as well that within traditional journalism, there is some bad blood between B2B and consumer journalists. A typical journalist for the New York Times might well regard a trade journalist with some disdain, expressed or not. Perhaps there was some element of that behind the sparks at the SXSW panel. I only wish I could have been there to judge for myself!

  • i wish you could have been there too and they we would retire to our beverages and debate it some more! Intellectual challenges such as this always keep me going! Thanks for your very significant comment John. Much appreciated!

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  • Thanks for reporting on this Mark. Readers may reasonably dismiss my comments, since I’ve not been to South By and therefore was not present for this session. On the other hand, lack of personal knowledge or experience doesn’t seem to hold anyone else back from commenting on anything, so why should I have to play by different rules?

    This topic is an example of what happens when casual theoreticians carry extrapolation to the extreme to ponder the possible consequences of emerging trends should they ever converge. We seem to be cultivating a whole new pundit class bent on daydreaming about social and informational castles in the air and how they might best be architected or how they might be interconnected while floating around. Who knew faux sociology could be so popular? This is the polar opposite of “grounded in reality.”

    I have enormous respect for both Tom Ashbrook and Joe Pulizzi. I don’t happen to know the other panelists, but I assume good people were there who were well qualified to talk about both content marketing and journalism. Separately these are very important subjects with real, but limited, connection. What I don’t understand is how anyone could argue that there’s any conflict between the two that could be hotly debated. If the premise was that content created as a result of corporate content marketing programs could somehow “fill the gap” in providing real news to the public, that’s absurd.

    Real journalism, which is floundering for reasons having nothing to do with content marketing, is essential to our democracy. The resurgence of story-telling as a better way to think about marketing content is totally appropriate. But that doesn’t mean anyone is confusing stories about products that actually work with the artful fiction of say Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home monologues. Keillor has said publicly as a writer he HATES the word “content.” I get where he’s coming from. While I consider myself a journalist first and foremost, I’m in marketing now and have been for years. I’m enthusiastically honing my skills as a content marketer and acquiring new ones. I don’t see any conflict there.

    The heated part of the discussion probably should have been about whether to ditch the topic and instead discuss something more interesting, or useful—or real.

    I hope someone taped this because I’d love to hear it (though it may be tedious). Like it or not, ardent fans, South By is an event in middle age. It’s contributing mightily to the manufacture of social media hubris, and you sure don’t have to go to Austin to experience it.

  • I with you step for step until that last paragraph. Maybe because I stuck to the off-beat path in my selection of panels to attend, or maybe I was just luck, but I found the content to be excellent for the most part. I learned a lot — and I’m picky! Laregly shill-free. But I wholeheartedly agree with the rest of your points and am grateful for the fantastic commentary!

  • Great post and a lot of great comments here. I add my two cents only because I actually made the switch from journalist to brand reporter, and so I have some perspective on the differences.

    I was stuck on a flight from Boston and missed this session at SXSW, but a colleague went and said it was intense. Honestly, from everything I’ve heard it seems like people were talking past each other. As a former business reporter for traditional print publications (Boston Herald & Boston Business Journal), I can easily say that “brand journalism” will never replace traditional journalism. It’s apples and oranges. I usually make the distinction between reporting and journalism. Being reporter requires unique skills and experience, much of which are requisites of good journalism. These include the ability to do deep research, develop relationships with sources from the board room down to the mail room, conduct interviews and write well-crafted narratives.

    Journalism, however, requires these skills plus the ability to do go deeper in-depth and report on issues and topics of critical importance that are of little importance to the publication’s bottom line. Read today’s hair-raising account of the four New York Times journalists’ captured by the Libyan government to see the value and struggle of a traditional journalist (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/world/africa/23times.html?_r=2&hp). Is a tech company going to embed their reporter in a country of civil unrest? Um, no. That’s not really the point. Reporters for brands are meant to uncover stories and trends that are of value to the brand’s intended audience. It’s a mutual-value proposition. Brands are simply seeing the value of the skills reporters have long held: writing, editing, story-telling.

    That said, I do think that the traditional media, by and large, oversells their “unbiased” position. Tom Ashbrook, who I have interviewed in the past and respect, brought up that a brand journalist is unlikely to expose the pharmaceutical industry when it puts customers at risk. But such anecdotal examples belie one of the real truths of traditional journalistic publications. Faced with shrinking marketshare much of the mainstream media has sought the same link-bait strategies of SEO-driven corporations. Charlie Sheen beats coverage of China far too often. And having come from the advertising revenue basis that supports most traditional news organizations, I can say that the concerns of advertisers and the competition certainly plays a factor in editorial considerations, usually in small ways and sometimes in big ways. While I believe the New York Times is an excellent publication and here to stay, I think the future of traditional journalism is likely in the hands of the nonprofit model currently being experimented with by the Poynter Institute or Texas Tribune — and, of course, NPR.

    Finally, any company who wants to make the move of hiring a reporter should be prepared to extend a long leash. We are an ornery bunch. Eloqua is a good fit for me because they trust me to report on the topics I think will be of value and interest to the audience they want to reach. If you’re not prepared to let the reporter wander into the weeds in search of a good story, then better to hire a copywriter.

    Rant complete.

    Jesse

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  • Pawan Deshpande

    As a member of the panel discussed in this post, and the CEO and founder of content curation company HiveFire, I think it is my responsibility to enter into this conversation – especially with the last commenter equating content curation to plagiarism.

    Plagiarism of content is wholly unacceptable. It is also NOT curation.

    Curators are not stealing content. Stealing content suggests that a curator is posting nothing more than someone else’s content – in its entirety – without attribution.

    What curators do is meet consumer wants and needs by gathering content pertaining to a particular subject – sharing a small portion – before linking to or citing the original story. The entire reason for this is to support original content and to create an industry destination for readers.

    A popular example of curation, in fact, are Google search results. Search results display a small excerpt of content and link back to the original source with attribution. This is not considered plagiarism – in fact, this has become the status quo. Content curation done right is no different, except that it’s not a machine that’s finding, organizing and sharing relevant content — it’s a human expert who has painstakingly taken the time to perform this process for the benefit of the end consumer.

    For those with questions on the ethics of content curation, I encourage you to read two recent posts we’ve shared on the subject which I’ve included below:

    * Content Curation & Fair Use: 5 Rules to being an Ethical Content Curator — http://www.contentcurationmarketing.com/articles/18383/content-curation-fair-use-5-rules-to-being-an-ethi/

    * Create, Curate, but Don’t Pirate: 2 Pointers about Content Curation & Ethics — http://www.contentcurationmarketing.com/articles/14949/create-curate-but-dont-pirate-2-pointers-about-con/

  • Anonymous

    How to use this media???????????   I write and make movies  ( among other jobs) that make movie stars out of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.  My scripts are reviewed by five other writers.  How do I reach out to boomers to show them movies with people their age doing wonderful story telling.  My focus is compelling story telling.  But… distribution is as important as content.  Is Twitter the solution?  Should I be on AARP’s site with an ad.  Should each movie have a web site with a trailer?  Should I focus on content people doing reviews of movies for grownups.  My days are filled with the craft of movie making  (tweaking final cut pro) as well as directing talent. and doing location shooting.  What’s the best way to go?.

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