Companies need balance for content marketing success

Marketers are unbalanced, says a new report from Altimeter Group. (Insert your favourite marketing joke here.)

But in this case, it’s not counseling they need, rather a change in strategy to accommodate the trend away from advertising and towards content marketing.

In Content: The New Marketing Equation, Altimeter analyst Rebecca Lieb, writes:

Marketers are reeling from the enormous demands that continually creating and publishing media places not only on marketing departments, but also on the enterprise as a whole. Due to shifts in consumer attention, companies are challenged to move beyond episodic, short duration ‘push’ campaign initiatives into longer-term, often continual ‘pull’ marketing initiatives that require new strategic approaches.

Rebalancing resources, and company culture, to supply a stream of targeted, high quality content, will give organisations a marketing advantage, argues Lieb.

Her report is based on interviews with 56 representatives of B2B and B2C companies, and you can read it below.

Citizen journalists racing to cover Nascar

racintoday.com

Advertising Age reports that stock car racing body Nascar has accredited 28 bloggers and non-mainstream websites to cover races this season.

It seems fewer newspaper sports writers have been turning up in the press boxes as a result of newspaper cutbacks, so Nascar decided it needed a “Citizen Journalist Media Corps” to keep the fans satisfied.

“The last 12 to 18 months, we’ve seen a drop in print media,” says Ramsey Poston, Nascar’s managing director-corporate communications, who oversees the Citizen Journalist project. “We’ve not only lost some of the biggest auto-racing writers in the business due to layoffs and cutbacks — people like Jim Pedley of The Kansas City Star, John Sturbin (of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and Grant James (of the St. Petersburg Times) — but we’ve lost the papers themselves. We used to get great coverage from the Rocky Mountain (Colo.) News, and now it doesn’t even exist. And other papers are simply cutting back coverage.

Nascar’s communications department reviewed some 30,000 websites before making the final selection, which includes RacinToday.com (pictured).

See also: Fire the sports writers? Not if the teams have anything to say about it

Gawker tightens control over comments

All of the Gawker Media sites have a new commenting system.

As explained on gawker.com, “we the editors are taking control back”.

As a site gets bigger, the comments tend to get busier — and sometimes more annoying. Our titles are no exception. Deadspin’s had to contend with a war between the daytime and nighttime users; Jezebel editors battle for control with a politically-correct mob; perceptions of Gawker are set by a small group of glib and bitchy commenters. All sites that are growing as rapidly as ours have something like this problem — and one that can’t be solved simply by banning the offenders or applying more strictly our approval process.

Editors will grant star status to their most-trusted commenters, whose comments will get greater prominence and who will, in turn, be able to grant prominence to others’ comments they like. (Stars were previously awarded based on how many followers a commenter had.)

Although moderators will continue to monitor the discussion, the stars will have their comments posted without pre-moderation, and will also be able to approve comments submitted by other users.

Commenters can also upload images and YouTube videos.

The Gawker sites are: gawker.com, deadspin, kotaku, jezebel, io9.com, jalopnik, gizmodo and lifehacker.

Washington Posts fires blogger, then dives for cover

It’s fascinating to compare these two accounts of the sacking of washingtonpost.com White House Watch blogger Dan Froomkin:

Hat tip: Jay Rosen

UPDATE July 7: Froomkin joins huffingtonpost.com as Washington DC bureau chief

BlogTV adds news and comedy channels

Toronto-based community videocasting site blogtv.ca is adding two channels: one for comedy and the other for news and politics.

The channels are scheduled to launch tomorrow [Friday].

Although blogTV.ca is a platform for anyone who wants to videocast [including some who are a long way from being video professionals], it’s owned by a genuine television network, Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Alliance Atlantis is in the process of being acquired by CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs.

NY Times covers local news with new blog

At a time when national and international news is available just about everywhere online [including on portal sites, webmail services and news aggregators], in-depth local coverage is being recognized as a key competitive advantage for newspaper websites.

Even the New York Times, one of the strongest news “brands” globally, is emphasizing local news online. The paper today launched the City Room blog, with content provided by more than seventy Times journalists assigned to New York City and the metropolitan area.

The emphasis here will be on reporting, not punditry or snarky commentary. The blog will feature news-maker interviews, documents, web resources, photos, videos and other multimedia, as well as updates and follow-ups on the day’s news.

But the most important feature, we hope, will be the reader discussions…

…When we look around the web, we see people in their separate corners, divided by ideology, by neighborhood, by their obsessions. Our obsession is New York City, and we hope New Yorkers will gather here in good faith for civil discussion about the issues and problems of the day.

Commenting is moderated. There’s also an extensive blogroll, including links to rival news organizations.

You’ll be pleased to know that access to the City Room blog does not require a Times Select subscription.

BlogTO introduces maps — on paper

Four Toronto neighbourhood maps. Picture: blogTO

The ever-innovative blogTO, one of Toronto’s top blog sites, is expanding into print with a series of local maps available from retailers in various neighbourhoods. The series begins with four maps, shown above.

BlogTO editor Tim Shore sees advertising opportunities for local businesses, as well as a way to draw more people to blogTO:

Each map includes profiles of 80 or more great local spots grouped into categories like restaurants, bars and cafes, art galleries, fashion, furniture and design and beauty and health. Forty of the profiles on each map also come with full colour photos. And the whole thing is also integrated with the blogTO web site. So if you want to learn more about, say, Little Italy, you can go read about it in our new neighbourhood section.

Although the world is going digital, and increasingly wireless, I’m betting these old-school maps will still prove popular for their ease of use. And for their price — free.