Forbes' blogging strategy could dilute brand
Kirchner writes, “But it’s unclear whether these models will work with Forbes.com’s particular audience. (It’s the exact opposite of the Economist style, where the pieces are all written in a consistent voice and its writers don’t even get bylines.) The casual, individualized tone of a True/Slant blog won’t necessarily translate to a staid Forbes story about oil markets, for instance. So what reason will Forbes.com readers have to ‘follow’ or ‘friend’ (or whatever) a particular reporter over another? Perhaps readers will be ‘fans’ of particular beats, rather than reading columnists for their unique writing styles.
“Another important difference, though, between the original True/Slant experiment and this new iteration of Forbes.com is that True/Slant was a completely blank slate, but Forbes is a well established news institution. Forbes is already its own brand, already has a readership, and that readership has certain expectations.
“The danger of an ‘everyone blogs’ edict is that it might dilute that brand, which can play out in at least two ways. One, reporters may find themselves distracted by the hungry beast of the blog and less able to report and write the other, longer stories they had previously devoted their time to. If the quality of the writing goes down, that can counteract the benefits presumed by an uptick in the quantity of the writing. Two, the aforementioned combination of ‘thousands [of] freelance contributors’ and a ‘less layered process’ will loosen editorial control, and, potentially, lessen the quality of the content coming into the site from the outside.”
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