Last Wednesday I joined an invigorating conversation on Twitter’s weekly #editorchat. Hosted by Business Week’s editor @johnabyrnes. We talked a lot about the future of magazines and media. No surprise, but journalism is going through all the same challenges confronting ad agencies and brands. According to John, “It’s no longer content handed down from reporters to an audience, but rather a process that has to embrace the reader at every stage: from idea generation (when you ask readers for their suggestions), to story development (when you share the work in progress), to the finished piece (which becomes an intellectual fireplace around which meaningful conversations occur.” Sound familiar? This is exactly what every marketer is grappling with as well. As we lose more and more control of our brands to consumers, as we realize there are conversations going on whether we’re there or not, as we conclude that the most valuable service we can provide is to create a community that connects customers to each other and allows us to both participate and learn, we conclude, as does John, that “deeply engaging readers (or prospects and customers) and converting them to partners is essential to induce loyalty and return visits (business.)
John had another comment that resonates. “Editors and writers need to understand how to create and build communities and then how to serve them. That’s part of the job.” As far as I’m concerned, as a marketer, as a content creator, as a brand builder, that is the job. What are your thoughts? Are you finding other parallels between different industries? Advertising and journalism? Music and publishing? Share your comments.