In our business we work with a lot of magazine people: writers, editors and artists who work weeks and months out on the stories they create. They take the time to dig deep and gain insights, providing their readers with well-planned and carefully edited stories that have a point of view.
It’s long-form journalism at its finest, and many marketers seem to believe it has gone the way of the Pony Express.
“When I started out as a freelance writer, I was writing Christmas articles in July and covering new TV shows before the old season had ended,” writes Cynthia Boris in Marketing Pilgrim. That was [the] pace of magazine publishing – 3 month lead time or more.
“Now, I write and an hour later my work is available for everyone to read,” she continues, while warning us that Google says life for marketers is about to get even faster.
“Online or off, we can now get information, entertainment, and services in the exact moment we want them,” writes Google in their “Top 3 Tech Trends” infographic. “These quick moments of decision making happen constantly—and the more connected we are, the more they’ll happen.”
Have instant news and frantic sharing replaced quality journalism and insights into the niches we love? Is this really what 2015 is going to be all about? Seth Godin tells us that “you are what you share.” Seriously though, does retweeting a profound quote from Rumi really make you a deeply spiritual person?
We see some refreshing blowback these days in the field of marketing, as business owners realize what they stand to lose with this sound-bite style of communication. Like the slow-food movement that aims to preserve the pleasure of the meal, the slow marketing movement is gaining support among people seeking an alternative to the current fast food type of engagement with customers and prospects.
On his site “Marketing for Hippies,” Tad Hargrave describes an alternative approach.
“I was sharing how marketing is like baseball and that we can’t ‘skip bases’ in building our relationships with people,” Hargrave writes. “First there needs to be clarity, then trust, then some excitement . . . and then a commitment. It can take time to build relationships with our clients. Some things can’t be rushed.”
Some things indeed shouldn’t be rush, like a good meal or engaging storytelling. Reading Hargrave’s site is a pleasure. I can feel my shoulders relax and my breathing become deeper. I’m engaged. I’m dialed in. I absorb and enjoy what I read.
Most importantly, I know I’ll be back for more.
This is what happens with a good magazine, or a well-researched long-form article in a weekly paper. The quality matters, the substance counts.
We cringed a bit when we noticed Boris’ piece was sprinkled with typos and errors. Did we still get the gist of the story in spite of these? Sure, her meaning was clear enough. The cost, however, is a diminution of her brand in the reader’s eyes. That is a heavy price to pay for the sake of expediency. It’s a price that many brands are paying in their rush to be witty and current and faster than their competition.
And yes, we’ve had typos in our own blog posts too. It happens, we understand it, and we cringe at ourselves when it does. We get caught up in the cycle of endless posts and immediate conversation too. We’ll continue to blog and post on our social media profiles because we know that our customers and prospects look to us to be there, and we do appreciate their value in building relationships with our readers. Still, we will occasionally take the phone off the hook and dive into something deeper, slowly flipping the pages and absorbing what we find there.
Regardless of the proliferation of technology and devices, quality still plays a role in what people want and enjoy. Let’s not sacrifice this on the altar of the immediate.