The Fall of Traditional Media and Rise of Content Marketing. Throw in the rise of search, and the ability of an audience to curate its own news and information, and you have a new world where brands are basically required to create their own content. Those were the glory days of TV news, with huge audiences, and hardly any competition. In many ways, newspapers were the only real competition for news or advertising. Mass Media Meant Mass Awareness No wonder brands spent so much money on public relations back then. What does this have to do with content marketing? “Now that you don’t have to worry about the mass media as the middleman for your messages, the quality of your content controls your destiny.” New Media is Different Now, the most common place to get news and information is your Facebook or Twitter feed, with friends and relatives becoming the most trusted curators of information, not news anchors like Cronkite or Shelby. When I talk about content marketing, I mean creating real stories and information that truly answers your prospective customers’ questions. They still read plenty of news (and news-style) stories on media websites, they just don’t wait for the newspaper to show up on the front porch. And those are the stories that have the ability to build an audience and create awareness.
Much has been written about the fall of traditional media, but I had a front row seat. I lived through it as a producer for 30-years at one of America’s great TV stations, and now I’m on the other side of the equation, managing a thriving marketing firm that specializes in video storytelling and content marketing. How much has the world changed in that span? I went from typing TV scripts on a manual typewriter to writing this blog on a MacBook Pro — a sentence that helps illustrate the dramatic changes in technology that revolutionized the ways information is delivered and the monumental changes in both audience size and expectations. Throw in the rise of search, and the ability of an audience to curate its own news and information, and you have a new world where brands are basically required to create their own content. How we got here is what’s so interesting.
The Glory Days of Traditional Media
When I started at WCCO-TV, Walter Cronkite had just handed over the anchor desk to Dan Rather at CBS, and Dave Moore was still sharing anchor duties with Don Shelby at ‘CCO. Those were the glory days of TV news, with huge audiences, and hardly any competition. Sure, the other TV stations also had big audiences, but that was it — cable TV was still in its infancy, and the Internet wasn’t even a glimmer in Al Gore’s eye (sorry, I couldn’t resist). In many ways, newspapers were the only real competition for news or advertising.
What that meant is that a limited number of sources acted as curators of information. People would tune-in to their favorite newscast and/or read their favorite newspaper to get everything they needed to know in one sitting. Like the New York Times says, “all the news that’s fit to print.”
Back in those days, people worked their dinner schedules around the 5:30 or 6:00 news, their bedtimes around the 10:00 news, and had their morning coffee with the morning paper. Getting information from mass media was that ingrained in the daily routine.
Mass Media Meant Mass Awareness
No wonder brands spent so much money on public relations back then. A big hit on CBS or ‘CCO or the StarTribune would get a product in front of a large portion of the population in one fell swoop. One good…