If, like me, you pay attention to writers like Dan Savage and generally keep up with pop culture, the concept of #polyamory should have come to your attention in the past few years. If, like me, you are curious about new ideas, you may have read the books that Dan Savage referred to in his writings, such as Sex at Dawn, The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, and More than Two. These books, along with a variety of web sites describe what is happening with the emerging practice of polyamory.
Last week, I discussed how start-ups and growing businesses can lay the foundation for their marketing without a dedicated team. Once a company reaches the point where it has a healthy online and social media presence, and a steady stream of content, it’s time to start considering making that first hire.
As a marketer, I try to stay on top of industry trends. I’ve noticed that lately it’s become fashionable for some venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to cast off the need for marketing entirely. This vein of thought runs something like the famous Field of Dreams line “if you build it, they will come” — if your product is good enough, you don’t need to market it. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson even went so far as to say, “I believe that marketing is what you do when your product or service sucks…”
“There is no marketing today without content.” That’s the reflection of Helen Whelan, an expert content marketer at Apigee, a leading API management and predictive analytic company. Whelan has helped shape Apigee into an industry innovator in #content marketing strategies and publications. Apigee offers content in every form, from webinars, to e-books, to whitepapers, self-publishing in some cases, and using external third parties in others. Apigee has even created its own research arm, the Apigee Institute, a research and strategy organization that provides analysis and content for businesses striving to succeed in the digital world. At the base of all of Whelan and Apigee’s marketing is the understanding that content feeds the marketing engine from awareness to demand gen, and that this content is integral to the overall success of the business.
Quick: think back to the last time you made a major decision. Who did you seek out for advice? Not just anyone, right, but only those you trusted?
It’s natural to seek outside expertise when making a decision, big or small. Trusted counsel is the basis of marriages and friendships, and a crucial component of the fabric of human interactions. It’s why we ask friends and family whether they like who we’re dating, what schools to send our children to, or where to eat—the opinions of those close to us (who have opinions worth heeding) will make our decision-making better.
Knowing your audience intimately is essential to any successful marketing campaign. In fact, it’s the first and most essential ingredient when you’re leveraging the power and allure of tabloid #journalism to reach as many customers as possible. As I covered in an earlier blog, tabloid journalism works because it gives us what we want and taps into our impulsive desires for scandal, fun, and entertainment. When done well, we find it irresistible. But to enrapture and tempt your audience, you have to first know what they want. There’s a reason movie trailers show us explosions and hinted-at nudity—they’re making us anticipate what happens next. Read more
When most people hear the term investigative #journalism, they think of Woodward and Bernstein, and the fall of the Nixon presidency. While the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s may be the most notable example of the form, our current era, in many ways, could be considered the heyday of investigative journalism. Print publications like the Times and The New Yorker have continued their tradition of muckraking, but the Internet has provided a platform for more people than ever to delve into the art. Notable examples that come to mind include Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, dedicated investigative sites like Pro Publica, or even gossip blogs like Gawker. Or take a look at the non-fiction best-seller list, which is dominated by incredible first-person accounts by writers like Katherine Boo and David Grann. It’s reasonable to argue that there’s more high-impact investigative journalism being done now than ever before.
Even if you have a Ph.D in astrophysics or biochemistry, or your artistic interests include Bach and John Cage, or your regular reading includes Thomas Pynchon and James Joyce, if you see a headline reading “17 Photos of Plastic Surgery Gone Disastrously Wrong,” you’re probably going to click on the link. Call it what you will—base, trashy—but there’s a part of us all that simply cannot resist the lure of tabloid #journalism. It’s why we eye the headlines on Star when we’re paying for our groceries and why sites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and Dose have all become so popular. No matter how refined we are, the sensational is scintillating.
The Evolution of #journalism
Journalism can help tech-focused B2B content marketers educate and reach their audience. Let’s start with some recent history.
While content marketers have long recognized that the marriage of commerce and content is essential, it’s taken the past 20 years for institutional publishers to grasp the concept. These decades have completely eroded the position of institutional publishers as the gatekeepers of what is and is not news. Local newspapers have died off, while stalwarts like The New York Times and The Washington Post have had to incorporate new voices they once viewed as threats (such as prominent bloggers) to stay relevant. This has led to far less objective journalism in favor of more pieces that have a decided slant. In many ways, the acknowledgement of bias and commercial relevance is more honest— something content marketers have long known.