How outsourced content could save magazines and piss off a lot of content writers

Like many of the things you’ll read on Transmogrifant, the inspiration for this came from a combination of over-thinking, gross miscommunication and caffeine.

Thea’s friend: “Something Economist something writing an article for some client something.”

Thea: “Wait, so, The Economist is writing content for the client’s website?”

Thea’s friend: “No. It’s an advertorial that runs in the print edition.”

Thea: “Oh. How awesome would it be though if you could get The Economist to provide content for your brand’s website? Like if your target market was into that stuff?”

Thea’s friend: “You know what, I’ve got, um, a… plane. To catch. I’ll facebook you or something.”

Three days later the idea still seemed sort of valid, so stick with me here. Brands need content that’s going to be valuable to their customers. Magazines need someone to actually pay money for their content. So, brands commission trusted publications to create content that’s relevant to their customers. Journalists keep their jobs, brands get some trustworthiness and interestingness rubbed off on them, and consumers get to enjoy not having to flip through crappy advertorials or skim over boring corporate blogs. Everyone wins! (Except me. I’m a content writer. So I would lose. It’s ok, I’ll always have the novel…)

Anyone heard of this being done already? Would there be some kind of code of journalism that this would break? (Ha! “Code of journalism.” As if.) How would you price something like that? Is the shift from branded content to contented brand really practical? What do you think?

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