The Blurring Line Between ...


A few months ago I discussed how third-party media (earned) and owned media overlap in the Forbes online property.

In short, here’s how the proposition works. Forbes gains inexpensive – or to be more precise, free – content to attract more clicks. In exchange, companies enjoy the Forbes halo and still control the storytelling.

To paraphrase from Chili Palmer in Get Shorty, “It’s a win win.”

With this in mind, The Huffington Post is another property that should be on the communicator’s radar.

A recent post in HuffPo from Josh Rawitch, senior VP of communications for the Arizona Diamondbacks, offers a new wrinkle to the concept.

business storytelling public relations huffington post

As you can you see in the shot above, the fourth paragraph is a quote from the CEO of the D-backs. In fact, the post incorporates six quotes from six different D-back staff members. Rather than the traditional first-person narrative in contributed posts, Mr. Rawitch goes third person playing the role of the journalist.

It’s a technique with the potential of further blurring the lines between earned and owned media.

Like Forbes, HuffPo could care less about the purity debate.

It simply wants eyeballs that get the cash register ka-chinging.

And so everyone can keep score, the property has a page called the “Blogger Index.”

business storytelling public relations huffington post

For contributors like Josh whose tactic is part of building a brand, they don’t need a staggering number of views, just enough for HuffPo to justify the space.

I think we’re going to see more permutations on how earned and owned media interact with each other down the road.

For example, to increase credibility of a company’s owned media property, it might pay a Forbes or a HuffPo for stories carrying the publication’s moniker as the next take on branded journalism.

Now wouldn’t that be fresh?

Publications find an unexpected revenue stream in selling stories to companies.

Who knows?

Leave a Reply