B2B Posts of the Week: The Fate of Print, FTC, and Video

This week saw more discussion of the future of trade publications, helpful guidance on the FTC blogging guidelines, and a tale of two videos.

Reports of Death Exaggerated:How Trade Publications Can Capitalize on Content Marketing and Social Media,” Tom Pick, The WebMarket Central Blog, 11/18/09.

Following up on his trenchant summary last week of the ills afflicting trade publications, this Wednesday Tom Pick took a shot at improving their prognosis. Many trade publishers might find his recommendations either obvious (use marketers as authors, conduct research, and hold events) or unrealistic (publish ratings of products). As for his suggestion that trade pubs convert from controlled to paid circulation . . . well, did I mention that paid circ sucks?  It’s important that a B2B thought leader like Pick believes that trade publications can “continue to have a central place in the dissemination of industry-specific content.” But if that’s going to happen, we may want to look elsewhere for strategies.

On the Other Hand. . . : “Why brands need to own their content channels,” Gordon Plutsky, iMedia Connection, 11/17/09.

As Pick noted in his article, Gordon Plutsky is one of those who see little value in trade-pub advertising—not surprising for the marketing director of a custom media company, King Fish Media. Plutsky argues that “the vast majority of marketers feel that the content they create is of equal or more value to the information produced by traditional media brands.” I’m not sure who should be more embarrassed by this claim—the marketers or the publishers.  But the marketers probably do feel that way, and that’s not good news for publishers.

Relax, Everybody!Once More, with Feeling: FTC guidelines, bloggers and companies,” Susan Getgood, Marketing Roadmaps, 11/16/09.

As I wrote last month, the new FTC guidelines for bloggers  may not be very helpful, but neither are they a disaster. The guidelines simply don’t justify all the sturm und drang. So Susan Getgood’s calm and rational approach to the subject is most welcome, as is her suggestion “that we stop worrying about the semantics of bloggers versus journalists.”

Passionate about Pink: “What Inbound Marketers and Microsoft Can Learn From St. Vincent Hospital’s ‘Pink Glove Dance’ Video,” Shannon Sweetser, Hubspot, 11/20/09.

Shannon Sweetser has highlighted in this post two videos that got people talking this week, though for different reasons. One showed Microsoft store staffers breaking out into dance in a fairly unconvincing attempt at spontaneity. The other, featuring employees of a hospital donning pink gloves and dancing in support of breast cancer awareness, was a study in pure joy.  Though the comparison is a bit unfair to Microsoft (but, come on, who cares?), Sweetser does a good job extracting useful lessons for marketers and publishers alike.

Information Also Wants to Be Expensive

Editors are rarely comfortable using the word content to describe their line of business, given that it suggests a kind of “undifferentiated slurry,” to borrow a phrase to be discussed below. They might prefer instead to substitute the word information, but they would be well advised to resist the temptation. There is a not-so-obvious but critical distinction between the two words that is worth preserving.

This topic came up in a sidelong way on the Web over the last week or so, in a flurry of blog postings and tweets about a new essay by Paul Graham called “Post-Medium Publishing.” The number of posts and their level of enthusiasm suggests that Graham’s essay may be close to meme-level status. Jeff Jarvis, for one, thinks Graham’s piece may rank near a “seminal” essay by Clay Shirky on the “demise of news on paper.”

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