Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cuban to newspapers: cut out the blogging

Zilliionare Mark Cuban (he of "The Benefactor" TV show fame... or not so much) has some very good observations about newspapers adopting blogging on their websites--namely, they shouldn't.

Or, more accurately, they shouldn't call it blogging. Which seems like splitting hairs, but he puts it pretty plainly and makes a good point in the process:

Never, ever, ever consider something that any literate human being with Internet access can create in under 5 minutes to be a product or service that can in any way differentiate your business.

There's a world of difference between the New York Times' blog The Caucus and the millionth political blog out there, so why should they be labeled the same thing. Ultimately, with so many different uses for a blog engine, "blogging" is a term that's rapidly losing its meaning--I always saw it as a stopgap term to help people that didn't see it for what it was: publishing.
Cuban again:

Do everything possible to brand the product or service in a manner that segregates it from the masses. Perception is reality. If you can leverage your existing brand to create the perception that yours is different from the masses in some meaningful way, then you must do everything you can to do so.
When readers actually read the [NY TImes] blog, they will see that its of a higher quality than say, It may well be that some do. The marketing reality however is that there is a significant risk that they will not. That rather than assigning the brand equity of the NY Times to the blogs hosted, they will take the alternative path of assigning their perception of what a blog is to the NY Times, there by having a negative impact on the brand equity of the NY Times. That's an enormous risk for any mainstream brand to take.

Yowza is right. He goes on to suggest a simple fix for the problem, rebranding it "real time reporting," and emphasizing the expertise behind the writing.

Not a half-bad plan. Which is why no newspaper will ever implement it, to afraid that people "won't think we're blogging."


Jeffrey said...

The Tribune's political blog, The Swamp, has the right idea. If you go to its homepage, the word "blog" isn't anywhere to be found. The header just says it's "The Swamp: Tribune's Washington Bureau."

It even has the right idea with its own, non-Tribune URL,

The Trib needs to work on a way to navigate to The Swamp from the main site without having to click under the "blogs" section.

I liked what Cuban had to say about this though.

Sinker said...

Hey, I didn't know they'd given The Swamp its own URL. That's EXACTLY the right thinking. And it came from the Tribune? Jesus, who got fired over THAT right move?