Getting Perspective: Why the Opinion Revolution Works for You
Can I just take a moment to lament the decline of traditional media?
Oh, this again?
Just hear me out. I’m a blogger. It’s my prerogative to opine and get all emo on you — which is exactly my point.
Bruce recently gave the content creation department a glimpse of his predictions for the near future of Web content. It’s all moving toward opinion. Traditional news organizations of the last decade will be extinct in the next decade, replaced by heavy editorial and subjective analysis.
Excuse Me While I Cry About It
A reader has an abundance of choices for news reporting online. Raw fact can be found almost anywhere, and yet news readers are likely to choose large, established media organizations for this sort of information — though even then, they’re not safe to rest on laurels of fair and balanced reporting. For proof, check out CBS evening news anchor Katie Couric’s Twitter update about a political power couple’s separation:
I bet the obvious bias and emotion of that sentiment had Pulitzer rolling in his grave. And yet the truth is, an organization — especially the smaller ones with fewer resources to devote to breaking news — can’t do “just the facts” because opinion is what differentiates an offering and endears an audience. In order to survive, news organizations better have something original to say.
Problem is, the Olbermanns and Limbaughs of the world operate in an echo chamber, giving viewers and readers a self-fulfilling prophecy that does little in the way of enlightenment or education. Few and far between are a consumer’s choices for balanced analysis from any single offering.
And while remnants of old school, factual reporting still hang on, it’s being pushed aside to make room for challengers to fiery entertainment-news hybrids that dominate primetime timeslots. Just look at Campbell Brown’s decision to step aside so that CNN could have a chance to compete.
For a unique perspective of how news organizations intent on keeping “fair and balanced” alive are responding to the shift, tune in to SEM Synergy tomorrow on WebmasterRadio.FM. I interview Kate Gardiner, director of social media for PBS NewsHour, about upholding the mission of the fourth estate while engaging and interacting in the new media world.
Why This Works for Business
So now that I’ve had a chance to indulge in my futile pout, I’ll take refuge in the fact that at least there’s a lesson we marketers can take from this. We’re in a pretty good position considering it’s long been our objective to help our businesses and clients differentiate themselves from the competition through experience and insight. In terms of marketing material, we’ve traditionally provided a two-pronged content experience.
On the one hand, a business must offer objective facts on the industry or product and the needs an offering fills. By providing factual information to the savvy researcher interested in a product or service to meet their needs, a business can create a sense of trust and comfort in knowing the options available to them.
At the same time, a business must stand out among these options. Demonstrating a unique feature — be it of the product or service itself or of the organization that provides it — can provide an edge in the market. A strong sense of opinion can translate into perceptions of leadership, experience and authority. After showing an understanding of a consumer’s needs and laying out the facts of the solution, offer an analysis of the competition, explain how years of experience have fine-tuned the service, reveal why your offering goes beyond all other options through knowledge, quality, value or service.
Offer a strong perspective. Balance your opinion with fact so you’re viewed as fair and trustworthy. Use your blog and social media channels to broadcast your unique offerings, start conversations and position yourself as a thought-leader. Providing opinion is nothing new for marketers and business, so prop yourself up and prepare for the editorial content revolution.