Publishing versus marketing: what’s at risk?

With content at the core of customer conversations, some marketing departments are operating more like newsrooms … hiring journalists to crank out verbiage and communicate compelling brand stories in the marketplace. (See “Content needs drive organizational changes” in the April edition of BtoB Magazine.)

While the trend spells a boon for writers, there’s a risk to manage here. Marketers will have to learn to purvey social content without failing to differentiate and position their organizations. Journalists are good at telling stories, and they will bring similar skills to their marketing roles. But the traditional strength of publishing is building an audience and selling information – not necessarily touting products and services. (That’s what paid ads were for – right?) In addition, the sheer volume of content coming from all quarters of the digital sphere threatens to muffle what we used to call Unique Selling Propositions.

From now on, great content will be expected from B2B marketers – as well it should be. In the future, though, the pendulum will begin swinging back a bit as social-savvy marketers perceive that customers still need to be persuaded to buy.

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