Advertisers played a large role in what content we produced.
For decades, B2B journalists and marketers have had a mostly comfortable relationship: We reported on your positive news – new product introductions, plant openings, interviews with executives – but stayed mostly well away from anything with a whiff of negativity.
Our role then was to disseminate information to a controlled audience that had very few other sources for industry-specific information. Advertising paid the bills, and reporting on the negative – even if proven true – was professional suicide.
The internet has drastically changed the role between editors and marketers.
The Internet has changed all that. Our readers – your customers – have instant access to information from across the media spectrum. Nothing stands in the way of a trucker or contractor posting his or her opinions about my latest article or your new product introduction for the entire world to read, share – and add their own opinions.
On top of that is a 24-7 news hole that means even CNN, Forbes and USA Today are covering trucking and construction stories, along with the Kardashian sisters’ love lives and the latest sports doping scandal. If the trust we’ve built with readers over the decades disappears, so does our audience. And you lose one of the best ways you have for reaching key customers and prospects.
All of this makes it impossible for the business press to ignore or gloss over negative news about industry suppliers – even those with whom we have long-standing relationships. When news breaks, readers know it – and share it – instantly. For the business press to remain seemingly ignorant of financial difficulties or technology gone bust would kill all credibility.
Despite the change, our job is still to build an audience through content excellence.
If the trust we’ve built with readers over the decades disappears, so does our audience. And you lose one of the best ways you have for reaching key customers and prospects.
So are we now spending our days seeking out negative news on our industries? Of course not. But when something happens and we call for your comment, know that our goal is to uncover the facts and present them in a balanced way.
If readers don’t get their trucking and construction news from us, they’ll get it from another potentially less credible source. And when that happens, none of us win.