Guest post by Wendy Ducharme.
Forbes.com offers a program called Forbes AdVoiceTM, which, as they explain, “allows marketers to connect directly with the Forbes audience by enabling them to create content – and participate in the conversation – on the Forbes digital publishing platform.” Forbes.com goes on to state: “Marketers can now tell their own story in their words on the Forbes platform using the same tools as content creators. They can develop relationships with consumers, thought leaders and journalists, too.”
From a marketing point of view, this is great. Forbes is a heavy hitter in the business journalism world. How wonderful to borrow some of the Forbes cachet by having your blog posting (or, in my case, my clients’ blog postings) appear on the Forbes online publishing platform. How great to be able to reach the readers of Forbes.com with your message. What a giant step forward in a quest to establish yourself as a thought leader!
As an occasional journalist and an avid magazine and newspaper reader, the Forbes approach makes me uneasy. Will readers differentiate between the paid blog postings and ones composed by staff writers? Will the media platform compromise its credibility by selling content space? What kind of checks will be in place to make sure that postings are accurate and not just glorified ads masquerading as content?
Shouldn’t you have to earn the right to be a respected voice, rather than buy your way in? If paid blog postings become a widespread phenomenon, does this mean that the companies or people with the most money get to voice their opinions the loudest?
Blogging was heralded as the rise of “citizen journalism”. Marketers like me saw tremendous opportunities to present news and information directly to audiences through blogs. Now is blogging as advertising the inevitable next step?
Wendy is a copywriter and public relations consultant on the Precision Marketing team. She also provides copywriting and public relations services through Ducharme Writing & PR, a New Hampshire-based sole proprietorship.