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Is it Me, or Is More of What We’re Reading Online a Bunch of B.S.?

Since becoming an independent editing, writing and marketing consultant, I’ve been reading more and more stuff coming into my email inbox than ever before. Newsletters, blogs, tweets, company Websites, you name it. I still read my trusty (and trustworthy) printed New York Times every morning over breakfast, BusinessWeek and others, but I’m finding that I’m spending more of my reading time with internet babble.

I may be sounding like a youngish Andy Rooney here, but it just appears that more and more online b-to-b material written by the so-called experts consists of such experts just shooting off their keyboards more than anything else. They toss out a few ideas; some may be usable, some may even be implementable. But by in large, I’m finding more of it to be internet babble.

Sh*t, what I’m typing right now is basically internet babble, isn’t it? It’ll hopefully stir you up a little, but in reality, I’m just another online talking head.

There is a pro side to this: It is my intent to get you thinking with my prose here. Other bloggers are basically doing the same thing more or less. But although there’s plenty of very good and useful stuff to be read, some who toss out so-called actionable tips are basically shooting from the hip more than anything else.

Hey, I love feedback. And as a former editorial director I reported to once said, “I love getting hate mail.” Take me to the mat here. Tell me how wrong (or right) I am. Hit me with your best shot, and let’s get a good debate going.

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Marketing, Lagging Print ROI Have Broken Up the Media Team

Considering that blogs are, by in large, highly personal ramblings, the inspiration of mine since I launched it a few weeks ago has been how I’ve shifted from being a fairly hard-core journalist to becoming more a part of the marketing world. I’m still a journalist by trade. But now that I’m a free agent who’s been busy lining up freelance marketing work while seeking my next full-time endeavor, I’m looking to produce content that contributes more directly to the bottom line.

Being a career business-to-business journalist, I represent a portion of the half of the media team that has made, or is trying to make, this shift. Like other fading or transforming trades victimized by the steady death of print and the rise of the immediacy of the internet, B-to-B journalism isn’t nearly as profitable as it once was. I was laid off, because my position was eliminated, thereby saving the company the money it needs to continue operating my publication profitably.

While other B-to-B publishing companies have gradually slimmed down their editorial staffs over the past few years, some have gone a step further by forcing editors to take furloughs. A former company of mine forced its editors to work four-day work weeks this past summer. That amounted to a 20% pay cut while the editors were forced to do what already was about six days worth of work in four days.

Most B-to-B publications are free to readers and paid for by advertisers. But the vendors who advertise in the trades aren’t doing so anymore. Either their ad budgets are getting hacked or they’re turning to less-expensive online ways to generate leads. Even webinars that B-to-B publishers stage supported by advertiser sponsorship money are a tough sell, because many vendors are putting on their own webinars.

That leaves many B-to-B journalists like myself out looking for the kind of work that companies will be willing to pay for. And I’m finding that unless I can bring some sort of tangible, bottom-line guarantee to the table, I’m not going to be very marketable. So I have to join the part of the media team that’s more closely tied to marketing.

That’s not a bad thing. Journalistic objectivity and integrity aren’t going away in the B-to-B journalism world. You just have to look a little further to find them. If you want the true stories, the behind-the-scenes scoops, you best turn to the newswires for them. BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal are still around (in theory, those journalists play for the other media team, the one not directly connected to marketing). But they’re not very healthy either, so who knows how long that team is for this world.