Publishers these days want contributed voices, not just contributed content. In its online application form, the IDG Contributor Network "asks how many posts would you like to commit to at this time?" Inc. now gives its contributors access to its content management system so they can post as many times as they wish. Forbes pays contributors X for every one-time monthly visitor to their page but 20X if that reader returns to read that contributor's other posts.
Former TechCrunch co-editor Erick Schonfeld is the executive producer of IDG's DEMO conference, but he also happens to be the co-founder of TouchCast, a fast-rising interactive video platform company. TouchCast lets video producers embed clickable elements -- such as a photo, a web page or even another video -- within the video frame itself. Think of it as picture-within-picture web video.
Rachael King is the nicest tough reporter you'll ever meet. The San Francisco-based scribe for the WSJ's CIO Journal is tough only because she knows exactly what she wants from PR and will not compromise. "The bar is pretty high here," Rachael told us last week. "I'm looking to interview CIOs of Fortune 500 companies... even better if it's a Fortune 100 company. What are they doing with the product? What are they doing that they couldn't do before? When I get a pitch like that, I always stop to look."
The contributed-content door is wide open at Inc. EIC Jim Ledbetter said today the title has about 200 regular contributors, more than double the total from early this year. The lucky contributors span a variety of roles, from academics and professional writers to consultants and CEOs. Inc. will consider contributors so long as they produce "original, thoughtful commentary... for readers running their own businesses or investing in those businesses."
We've never seen PR pros more pressured to deliver "Tier 1" business coverage than we did this year. Not to pander, but we know how difficult this can be: clients rarely give you what you need. Often, though -- and as we see in the skyrocketing number of SWMS valet requests -- PR pros often spend too much time finding targets for an idea that's weak in the first place.
Does Harvard Business Review's new web site, launched last month, presage equally new paths for contributed content? Sort of. The new HBR emphasizes charts, diagrams, videos and interactive graphics. Can you imagine your ideas conveyed this way? In researching their readership this year, editors rediscovered that readers like to save and store articles for a long time. Will the concept you're pitching be as valuable in a year as it is today?
The Christian Science Monitor next month will launch Passcode, a section "covering online security and privacy to explore the toughest questions and most pressing issues of the digital age." Former Boston Globe reporter Mike Farrell will oversee Passcode, flanked by an impressive list of tech edit veterans.
PR pros, read carefully: does this sound like reality to you? People visit web sites to read what interests them. Realizing this, you pitch stories these visitors might read. When they do, the visitors might buy a product or service mentioned, or share the article with others. This indeed may be reality but is less so every day.
Once again we shine the Tech Edit Spotlight on Journal Report. Senior editor Larry Rout and his team plan to produce 55 special reports in 2015 related to small business, wealth management, retirement, energy, leadership and healthcare. In a way it's unfair to tease you about Larry's operation because he believes PR provides scant value 99 percent of the time. But when it comes to the WSJ, even a one-percent chance is high enough for us to proceed.
Promoted last month from deputy editor to editor of the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal, Steve Rosenbush has plans. He's made a job offer to a well-known IT journalist and hopes to make an announcement imminently. He's working on CIO Journal "cross-platform projects" that will run across print and digital. He's been talking with producers about a bigger CIO Journal role in WSJ Video.
FT west coast editor Richard Waters and correspondent Hannah Kuchler collaborated this week on a 2,000-word news analysis you and your clients absolutely have to read. Why? Because it's a model for the contributed content that gatekeepers want to receive from you. The topic, as Richard described it for us: "how collaboration/productivity services are evolving and converging... and what some of the big players and some of the more interesting start-ups are up to."
Few reporters understand PR and journalism equally well. Jon Fortt is one of them. That doesn't necessarily make him easier to pitch. But in this era of unprecedented PR-newsmaker hostility, it does make Jon something of an inspiration. Jon understands PR so well in part because the biggest part of his job is to interview some of the most well-trained, on-message CEOs in the world.