How news content produced by advertisers is good for business
Forbes chief product officer Lewis Dvorkin writes about the business magazine’s BrandVoice, which allows companies to provide content for its website.
Dvorkin writes, “Two years ago, we launched AdVoice, renamed BrandVoice last week, as a way for brands to use the same publishing tools I do to create, curate and distribute their expert content in a credible news environment. SAP was our first digital partner and Cadillac our first print partner. Since then, Microsoft, Dell, Merrill Lynch, NetApp, Gyro– and most recently Oracle — have all used our tools. UPS, BMO Harris Bank and Capital One will start posting soon. Northwestern Mutual Life, Aflac, United Airlines, Toyota and others have used the print program.
“BrandVoice and similar content marketing initiatives can be discomforting for traditional journalists. They needn’t be. Those of us with long careers in journalism have moved in and out of the gray zone between journalism and advertising. Special features, special sections, sponsored content and similar revenue-driving content features involve editorial conflicts that result in professional compromises, some more uncomfortable than others. Products like BrandVoice draw a bright shiny line between journalist and marketer for all to see. The critical requirement is transparency, which means proper identification and labeling.
“Like journalists, marketers are learning it’s work to attract news consumers and a following in the digital age. What’s a Facebook Like really worth? How often do Twitter followers actually read 140 characters ? Not every post on Forbes.com gets tens of thousands of page views, nor do videos get as many streams. You need to be timely, relevant and authentic in this new era. You need to give up a measure of control, difficult for news veterans reliant on editing hierarchies and advertising executives determined to lock down the message.”
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