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December 10, 2013 / Mervyn Dinnen

The End of the Press Release and Corporate Website?

No sooner had I posted my last blog than I noticed more content marketing research showing a drop in the outsourcing of content creation from 56% to 40%. This makes more sense to me – you can’t outsource your voice to someone else, but you can hire in people who are able to bring your stories, culture and values to life – articulate them in a way that engages others.

CocaCola have recently created a new blogger network of experts. Watch the following video, which says a lot about changing attitudes to content marketing. It only lasts a couple of minutes, but in it Ashley Brown from Coke is able to give us a glimpse of the future:

  • The corporate website is dead – think beyond it and turn it into a media property.
  • The blog is more important.
  • Kill the press release – by 2015 in Coke’s plans
  • Create something that you would want to share if you weren’t at Coke – spark emotion and connection
  • Hire brand journalists

To fully understand brand journalists we need to think about what we understand a journalist to be. According to author David Meerman Scott:

“A story teller is a story teller no matter who is telling the story”

Anyone who writes or creates something, who understands the need of the reader, could therefore be classed as a journalist. As the journalist Dan Gillmor said:

“We are all creating media. Any one of us can, and many of us will, commit an act of journalism. We may contribute to the journalism ecosystem once, rarely, frequently or constantly. How we deal with these contributions – deciding to try one, what we do with what we’ve created, and how the rest of us use what’s been created – is going to be complex and evolving, But it’s the future”

As I said in my most recent post, it is the blogger who is most likely to be able to articulate the brand for the reader that you want to engage.

And I’m now finding this through experience – companies are currently approaching me to write for them not because I am a trained writer, but because I can write things in a way that engages HR professionals and InHouse and Agency Recruiters. They are my network, and an audience whose needs and concerns I understand.

A future without a traditional corporate website, press releases and old school comms may seem a big leap but it will certainly happen. If Coke can envisage this for 2015 then smaller businesses can be looking at this now, leading the way and innovating.

It will start with understanding your customers and employees, their journeys and needs, and finding story tellers with the insight, authority and creativity to talk to them.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Julia Briggs (@interimity) / Dec 11 2013 1:00 PM

    Ah, your tribe as Seth Godin would say…..you’ve found it. Or indeed, they’ve found you. Key to success…..

  2. martincouzins757 / Aug 17 2015 8:01 AM

    Good post, Mervyn and sorry I missed it the first time! My experience is that a background in journalism can help a writer identify an engaging story for the intended audience. They can also sense check what’s being said. This approach differs from copywriters who historically have put product and market first in what they write.

    I’m not sure that if we publish something it is a piece of journalism – as I see it that would require interviewing people, fact checking and looking to balance the story. It is worth remembering that a lot of content is opinion. For that reason it is good to know whose opinion is being offered and what their agenda might be.

    Be good to revisit the Coke story and see how well it is working.

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