What if a media outlet's advertising staff consisted of writers, photographers and graphic designers who produced custom content for clients that ran in clearly designated, but parallel tracks to the outlet's news content?
Far-fetched? In a digital world that rewards content marketing, it may already be a reality, which traditional media have been slow to embrace.
Bill Momary, writing for NetNewsCheck, says traditional media may be off track trying to find ways to monetize their news content. What they should do instead, he suggests, is gear up to help advertisers tell their stories through content marketing published in conjunction with news content.
That could involve advertising departments hiring writers, photographers, videographers and graphic designers to generate compelling content that tells a story about new products or improved customer service.
The idea splinters the image, held by old-time reporters and editors like me, that news and advertising staffs work in parallel, but separate universes. In the new model hinted at by Momary, the separation would remain, but the skill sets of the news and marketing content generators would be almost identical. Staff on both sides of the newsroom "Iron Curtain" would be looking for fresh, inviting and informative stories to entice readers.
What these new online publications would look like isn't pictured in Momary's blog, but you could imagine a blending not unlike what you see evolving in social media sites. Except in the case of online news outlets, there would be a built-in acceptance of seeing news and marketing content side by side, unlike on Facebook, which may have spoiled a generation of original users by making its platform available for free.