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2013: Content Gets a Ride as King

MediaShift

Once again, ’tis the season for look-aheads. In that spirit, here are my digital media predictions for 2013.

(QUALITY) CONTENT WILL BE KING

“Experts” once told us that quality had been killed by the need for efficiency and scaling, and that editorial operations would thrive on user- or even machine-generated-content. Now, I see the pendulum swinging back, with media and even tech companies hiring more journalists or “content creators,” and having them create original material to attract people to their websites, apps and mobile pages.

BuzzFeed, which cut its teeth on quick-hit viral images, has been producing serious political journalism. Gawker has moved into longer-form analytical writing. Tumblr, Facebook, Flipboard and other aggregators have been hiring experienced editorial managers who know how to create and present stories.

On the marketing side, media companies like Forbes, The Atlantic’s Quartz, as well as Gawker and BuzzFeed, have been offering advertorial content to sponsors placed within the editorial stream.

Those sponsors, often major consumer-facing companies like Best Buy, Remington, Starbucks or Walmart, are employing “content strategists” to help create winning arrays of words, images and video, wrapped with social media, to attract traffic, start conversations, and impart a glow to the brand. It’s almost a step back to the past, when sponsors like Texaco had singing servicemen to kick off Milton Berle and other hit TV shows, and the sponsor message was also part of the entertainment or information.

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