Can Forbes help brands do the write thing?

In Advertising, Digital, Journalism, Marketing, Media, Public relations on December 10, 2010 at 12:53 am

If Forbes is letting bloggers pay to write under its name, should we embrace this and let brands learn to engage rather than preach and plug?

I managed to run 10km today. But that’s beside the point. Except that it was on the way back from this run that I was listening to an Ad Age podcast that talked about how Forbes is selling its name to bloggers (you can read the article the podcast was discussing here).
All Forbes’s staffers are blogging, and if you are a corporation (or individual, I assume), and pay a fee, you can blog under the Forbes banner too. Thereby, presumably, dousing yourself in light from the brand’s halo — a halo that may or may not tarnish rapidly through the venture.

Apparently blogs have to be interesting and engaging, though, or they will not show up on the Forbes-endorsed radar. But Forbes is offering some help in making those paid blogs more engaging.

The paid blogs will also be labeled as just that: paid.

This is a good thing. One thing I loathe in marketing is pretending to consumers that a piece of paid advertising — be it an ad, a product placement, a web site or advertorial — is anything else. Like most journalists I’m opposed to advertorial because I fear readers will be in danger of mistaking it for objective journalism.

But, having said that, could there be a market — for journalists thrown out of work by the recession, laziness, alcoholism or any of the other usual reasons for joblesness — in teaching corporations how to write engaging blogs and articles that could actually inform and entertain their customers and potential customers, as well as promoting the brand, and not hiding that last fact?

Does anyone want to learn how to write an article that doesn’t sound like an ad? I’m sure there are plenty of editors out there — this one included — who would be ready to teach brands how to do that. For the joint benefit of money and making the world of self-publicity a more readable place.


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