Content Provider or Experience Maker?

Husni_SSamir “Mr. Magazine” Husni was in South America recently, speaking with members of the media agency and marketing industry at the Media24 conference in Sandton. There he spoke on the state of print today, and the changing role of editors and journalists.

“One of Husni’s themes was that editors and journalists should not view themselves as content providers, but rather as ‘experience makers,’” writes Britta Reid in The Media Online. “He went so far as to suggest that editors should rather be called ‘Chief Experience Makers,’” Reid continues.

“These Chief Experience Makers are the ultimate gatekeepers of their brands and as such have a very real role in taking their brands to the advertising market and selling their value,” said Reid. [Husni] is of the view that the days are long gone when the ‘church state’ divide could be neatly maintained, and editors could separate themselves from the business of selling.”

It’s a timely message, as sponsored content is fast becoming a serious revenue stream for publishers. Done well, Husni says it can work, citing the partnership with Dove that Redbook featured in their September issue.

It’s also a tricky balance. Reid notes that Husni “referred to finding the line between appropriate advertiser integration and selling out as the difference between ‘running an escort service or a prostitution ring.’ Rollins efforts on behalf of Dove certainly fell into the former area.”

The key, as always, lies in understanding your audience. If the partner message resonates – sends that “ping of recognition” as Redbook’s Meredith Rollins phrased it – then partner content can help to create an editorial experience that transcends the content itself.