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The Pros And Cons Of Getting In Bed With Big Media

Steve Rubel
Expert Author
Published: 2004-11-22

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WebProNews, an article portal for Internet and technology professionals that also has an email newsletter with over 800,000 subscribers, has - with my blessing ...

... started re-publishing my posts on their site. I am not being compensated in any way for my content. Tapping blogger-generated content is a brilliant strategy, but it carries many pros/cons for both WebProNews and myself.

On the plus side, WebProNews immediately augments their high-value, professionally written articles with more folksy contributors who live on the edge of the content tail - all at no cost. In return, I benefit from more visibility, in-bound links and traffic. This is a harbinger of the partnerships we'll see many big media construct in the near future. Jeff Jarvis at Advance Internet is already blazing the trail by hosting local blogs on the the company's newspaper sites, such as this one. The media will increasingly partner or acquire bloggers, while adopting more social sharing features like comments and trackbacks in order to compete with the the eager-to-break-news blogosphere. Dave Winer even goes as far to say that he thinks eventually The New York Times will become a blog

There's risk here too on both sides of the fence. Let's start with the downsides for WebProNews. For one, I am a relatively unknown quantity. I have been blogging all of seven months - not a very long time. Also, I may not always have such great things to say some days. Last but not least, at times I am controversial.

On a personal level, the biggest risk of this entire relationship is that Google News and Yahoo! News index all WebProNews articles - including my blog posts! Anytime I write about a person, topic or company and WebProNews picks it up, it gets indexed in these search engines. For example, yesterday I wrote about Rex. Well today he's showing up in the search results on both Google News and Yahoo! News.

This gives me - a PR professional - incredible power and influence that I truly don't deserve. It also ensures that I need to always play my A-game. I must be extremely sensitive and meticulous about who and what I write about. In short, it will probably immediately impact what I blog about. If I should slip, I will be perceived as simply using my position to sway opinions through search results. This is why effective today I will no longer mention any of my employer's clients by name. It's simply not playing fair.

What else needs to change? What are your views? Let's start a conversation. Do you view this as a good thing or a bad thing? Do you think I am a sell-out? Should I continue with them? Are there other changes do I need to make? I am all ears.

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About the Author:
Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

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