Thursday, 17 February 2011

Content, editorial integrity and partnerships at the AOP

I went to an event today at the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) entitled: maintaining editorial integrity and making partnerships pay.  But rather than produce a blog post about the event, the speakers and what was said, I thought I'd start at the end!

The afternoon finished with a panel debate chaired by Topgear.com editor: Chris Mooney. While summing up Chris said: "like with all good debates we've now all been left more confused than ever!" or words to those effect, and I love that, because he's so right.

One of the key things I will take from today's event is just how muddy the area of content and brands still is. Years after we first started to try to find different ways to monetise content, other than printing it onto paper and expecting people to buy it, new models for making money from content are still not clear.

Two of today's speakers were from Bauer: Brent Coulson and Joseph Evea, who work in an area of the business called Bauer Access.  What is really interesting about what they're doing is that they're not trying to position themselves as a content source, but rather as a resource, so they can work with brands to "create something together." Now that's a vision! and far more exciting than saying: how can we find a new way of making money while continuing to do the same thing we've always done.

What Bauer Access understand is that as well as lots of fantastic content, they have other valuable assests, such as: editorial expertise, their own brands and their own audience.  Having worked for ten years as a journalist, I'm particularly interested in the value that the editorial expertise can add.  One of the other speakers today: Tony Hallett, Publishing Director at CBSi UK B2B, said: "brands want editors to reflect back to them who they are" and that really resonated with me.  Experienced journalists and editors are experts in their field and this expertise can be utilised by brands, to help them speak to, connect with and better understand their customers.  The key in the future is going to be how we make that partnership between the brands and the content experts work for both parties; that wil have to form the subject of it's own blog post or 10!

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