In a recent AdAge post titled “Brands Should Stop Trying to Be Publishers”, writer Ben Elowitz argues that brands should leave the publishing to traditional media companies, which he says have greater expertise, feel more authentic to audiences, and have strong editorial points of view. In other words, brands should leave the publishing to the professionals, serve as distributors of all the great content they create (brand-relevant or not), and operate as corporate Outbrains.
What is implied, though not explicitly stated, is that the author considers the content these brands are producing to be inferior to that of media companies, and that a mutual need may be served by connecting struggling media companies with brands that have the resources to pay for better-quality content.
Interesting. But what’s actually happening in the marketplace now is even more interesting. While many traditional media companies have lost their luster, Federated Media is part of a new breed that employ authors who are pursuing careers around their passions. Unlike others in the conversational marketing space, Federated is comprised of a network of independent web publishers, not professional marketers. While it’s true that content produced for brands serves the needs of those brands as it should, that content is produced by professionals—many of whom have journalistic roots and the standards that go along with them.
This means they understand how to tailor that content to their audiences in a way that wouldn’t be possible through aggregation. Which is not to belittle content aggregation as an important tool that most large media companies employ in the service of their brands. But brands need to be their own publishers. After all, don’t they know their audiences and needs better than anyone else? If not, there’s always traditional advertising. And we all know that story.