Content Marketing is changing the way we get news. Topics formerly covered by journalists working for old-school media are being covered better by independent writers and content producers working on content marketing campaigns.

Is this the end of journalism?

How did we Get Here?

Broken TV

TV Networks have been experiencing falling ratings and shrinking revenues for years. Newspapers and magazines are closing their doors regularly. More recently, radio stations have been feeling the pinch of podcasts.

New media has been chipping away at the revenue model for old media for a long time:

Classified ads in newspapers have been replaced by Craig’s List, eBay, and a host of other online services that match buyers and sellers directly.

Weather coverage has been replaced by weather apps.

Breaking News has been replaced by Twitter and other social media.

Sports coverage has gone mobile. Why read about the game tomorrow, when you can see it today – anywhere.?

Cable TV has been decimated by NetFlix, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu and other video services. Cable TV revenue per customer is also dropping, as customers trim back the channels they buy.

Radio is being threatened by WiFi in cars and 4G wireless services.

The landscape for almost every category of old media is bleak, leaving journalists with few traditional outlets.

Eat your Vegetables

Much of the journalism consumed in the past was delivered in a package. When you bought the newspaper to read about your favorite sports team, you got a dose of world and local news too. It was like having your mother forcing you to eat your vegetables.

Today, consumers can bypass the “vegetables” in their content and go directly to the meat they want. The result has been devastating to the journalism profession.

The Old Business Model for Journalism is Dying

The business model for journalism was a simple transaction. Old media produced the content that brought eyeballs to ads. Advertisers paid to slip their ads alongside the content.

The collapse of old media’s audience has meant the end of this simple arrangement.

Advertisers (particularly those targeting younger demographics) can no longer rely on reaching their market by simply writing a check.

These days, the advertiser has to write and deliver the content, to bring eyeballs to their message.

Content Marketing – The New Frontier in Journalism

Content Marketing is filling the void left by old media. Companies wishing to attract eyeballs to their website or social media feeds are producing their own content. They can no longer piggyback on the efforts of old media.

Just as in every other market the Internet has disrupted, the middle-man (old media) has been cut out of the equation. Advertisers are going direct to their audience.

While this trend is killing old media companies, journalists and other content producers still have a vital role. Someone still has to create all of this “eyeball worthy” content.

A Change in Responsibility

Content Marketing has created many new opportunities for journalists, writers, podcasters and video producers. The workload has shifted, but the work itself remains:

  • Companies that don’t publish will perish. Consumers expect relevant and engaging content. New and compelling content is the currency of Content Marketing. Producing this content takes time and talent.
  • Curation of media from third parties has also become essential. Just as old-school media companies syndicate content from other sources (e.g. the wire service), Content Marketers need to provide a significant amount of content they collect from 3rd parties. This involves thoughtful curation and editorial decisions.
  • Consumers demand to be entertained or informed regularly. Advertisers engaged in a Content Marketing campaign are under constant pressure to produce a consistent volume of content, or their followers lose interest. It’s a job that’s never “done”.
  • Customers tune out sources that are self serving. A little self promotion is OK, but an editorial policy that isn’t balanced and mindful of the consumer will quickly drive away business. Having content creators who can reach beyond the obvious and make the material interesting is vital to success.

Companies engaged in Content Marketing are being forced to think like media companies. This will result in a world of opportunity for wordsmiths, editors and other content producers.

Photo Credit: Newspaper Club, Nick Thompson