When Did Bacon Become Business News?

How competitive is the market for online news viewership? It’s so competitive that respected news publications have elevated bacon to the realm of “newsworthy” story.  For over a year now I’ve noticed the inclusion of “Internet-popular” subjects introduced into  the content mix of my favorite business, marketing and news sites, subjects that would never had made the cut in their print versions.

For example, check out this video and article posted on the Business Insider site a few weeks ago titled How to Make a Bacon Bowl.   I ask you, when did bacon become content for business news?

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The reality is that niche sites like Forbes, Business Insider, TechCrunch and many more are facing increased competition for visits, repeat visits and RSS subscriptions in order to attract and maintain advertising revenues.  Sites like The Huffington Post, an AOL property, are proving that the audience’s online reading habits and preferences have changed and to be profitable, niche sites must adapt. As a result, we now have publications like Business Insider expanding its content categories to include Lifestyle, Home and Entertainment sections alongside Business Intelligence, Strategy and Politics

Blogs as News

The way we consume information has changed. Shorter, pithier and more salacious content and content forms (eg. video, pictures, etc.) have become more popular. Traditional news publications are adding blogs and blog curation into their editorial schedules to adapt to  changing consumer demands.  Satire is now preferred over honest news as evidenced in the rising popularity of shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Onion.

Online news sites have relaxed their predecessors’ stringent discipline of formal sentence structure, grammar rules and even fact-checking in favor of faster, attention-grabbing posts. Professional journalists seem to be fading into the background while bloggers and peer-commentary are rising in popularity.

Bacon Sells

What does this continuing trend mean to businesses seeking to attract and retain more customers?   Businesses have the same need for web site traffic, repeat visits and engagement in an increasingly competitive and overcrowded online world.  Content marketing, the strategic use of content development and distribution as a lead acquisition or customer development strategy, is becoming the buzzword du jour. Creating entertaining, evergreen and newsworthy content to drive consumer engagement, SEO and social proof is more important than ever.  Is bacon the answer?

What are businesses learning from “leaders” in the business of content production like Business Insider? Forget relevant, honest journalism. Forget sex even. Today, bacon sells stories, brands and publications.

Join the debate: has the Internet and social media changed the manner in which news is written, presented and consumed for  better or worse? What should businesses learn from the trends to impact customer acquisition?

Sam Fiorella
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego

Image by zcopley, licensed via Creative Commons

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9 comments
chieflemonhead
chieflemonhead

I would be interested in seeing the value of the consumers who are reading the "diluted" news stories vs. those that display the quality and integrity expected from publications like HBR, Forbes and the like. I would suppose (though cannot prove) that those folks reading the "real" news are the ones who are more valuable - both to the media, and to its advertisers or "paying partners".


barrettrossie
barrettrossie

I just come here to read what @Danny Brown @samfiorella and @jasonkonopinski have to say. 

Sam, you make a great point. But like Jason says, there will always be a market for quality.  And I wouldn't say take at face value that the journalism of the past was absolute in its righteousness.  They've always been beholden to the sales side. 

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

This is one of the saddest things of today's connected consumer. I used to love publications like HBR, Forbes, Inc., etc - but, like you say, they're all competing for eyeballs now. And, sadly, you get crappy inane stories that dilute the power of the publication's history. Why not be bold and take the stand of providing the quality you became known for and let the lifestyle publications fight it out for the rest?

samfiorella
samfiorella moderator

@barrettrossie@jasonkonopinski  Are you suggesting that quality does not/can't exist without associated fees? (eg. subscription fee). I'm not convinced that there "will always be willing to pay for content that meets their expectations for quality."  Sure a small group of larger businesses may subscribe to larger research firms for whitepapers, etc. but the market is moving away from pay-for-content models. The claims that it's coming back have been around for years yet I'm seeing less and less of it in the mass market. 

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jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@samfiorella @Danny Brown The public hasn't rejected the model for paid content wholesale. People will always be willing to pay for content that meets their expectations for quality - and that hasn't changed. 

Pageview journalism emerged because publications are beholden to advertisers. Full stop. 


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