The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein has invited us to a pity party for business journalists. Should we attend?
Earlier this month Pearlstein authored a column entitled No comment: the death of business reporting in which he lamented about his lack of relevance as a member of the media. Pearlstein describes a recent approach to corporate media relations at consumer goods maker Clorox with the interest of writing a profile about the company.
His inquiry was rebuffed via Email with an explanation that Clorox’s executives were too busy to participate.
Fortune magazine editor Alan Murray did make time for Pearlstein and explained in the column, “One, they (corporate executives) don’t trust us. And, two, they don’t need us.”
There are a myriad of reasons why journalists are out of favor. It’s a complex issue shaped by outdated business models, the current political landscape and unproductive past interactions.
Let’s focus on Murray’s “they don’t need us” observation, which is absolutely true. Today, the corporate marketing role involves content creation and then distribution via Web, social media and other digital channels. It is more controlled, targeted and cost effective.
Yet, I speak with marketers every day who question whether their company’s key audiences view their content as meaningful. It raises a question: have we failed to achieve the credibility journalists like Pearlstein once conferred on our company?
This is an issue we think about at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) because we manage a portfolio of online buyer communities that are quasi-journalistic. Without credibility, the value we offer clients and sponsors is muted.
Here are the three ways we achieve content credibility:
- Focus on thought leadership, not sales or marketing speak. Best practices, lessons learned and timely views about industry trends are our primary concern.
- Source insight from third parties. Analysts, industry groups, universities and complimentary vendors allow us to deliver a more comprehensive and diverse view.
- Study the analytics. Readers tell us what they think by how they engage. Analytics is market intelligence. It shapes our editorial calendar.