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The Rise of Corporate Journalism

Date posted: July 21, 2009

Corporate Journalism, or what David Meerman Scott at Web Ink Now has dubbed Brand journalism, is "a hybrid form of journalism devoted to creating interesting information online that serves to educate and inform consumers." Savvy marketers now realize Web marketing success comes from creating content-rich websites, podcasts, photos, charts, ebooks, white papers, and other valuable content, according to Scott.

Agreed. Now, someone, preferably with experience, needs to create that content Scott and others assert is essential.

The Corporate Journalist

Who will create the content that they need for their online initiatives? Scott suggest companies leverage the research and content development skills of freelance journalists. A trained and experienced journalist can bring perspective and professionalism to content that lends credibility and gravitas to content that might otherwise ring hollow. Corporations, government agencies, nonprofits, and educational institutions are saying, "We need help. If we knew how to create great content, we'd already be doing it."

Some journalist may scoff and say, "How is this different from traditional PR work?"

The difference lies manly in the approach to the content. Today, to rank highly in searches and to attract and build a community, the content needs to go beyond marketing hype to deliver something of value. While savvy PR people have the capability to generate such content, a trained "corporate journalist" provides the unique skill set necessary to create content that benefits the company, educational institution, or nonprofit and the readership those entities hope to attract to their sites.

True Journalism

While some companies have the internal skills necessary to generate content, an already thinly stretched staff might not have the time to generate enough content to satisfy the insatiable demand of the Web. Companies must resist the urge to outsource writing to unqualified, low-bidders. Rather, seek out freelance journalists, companies will benefit from stronger, stickier content at surprisingly affordable rates. It's worth a few more cents per word to engage an audience rather than merely fill space. That's always been true in the print world, and it's even more important online.