WordPress (and other web platforms) are democratizing the web at a furious pace – but in some circles, WordPress is still seen as a blogging platform for the amateur (despite it underpinning Time.com, CNN, BBC and other massive journalistic platform.
If you ask a proper journalist what she thinks of bloggers and the reply is generally littered with expletives. Ask a news curator, and you’ll likely get the same sort of response. However, that is really missing the point, or not understanding what platforms like WordPress offer.
First off, a journalist is in the game of producing finely crafted, newsworthy articles that are beyond reproach and appeal to a wide audience. They would rarely publish an article without checking sources and carrying out a great deal of research.
This is very different to a blogging approach, which is maybe less well sourced, possibly more opinionated and usually a lot shorter. Additionally, the blogging approach encourages debate (we call this comments) and evolution. There is no shame in updating older articles and making changes and edits based on comments and subsequent learning.
However, the needs of platform are identical, so it’s a shame that some journos feel that using WordPress might be beneath them. On the flip-side, it falls on bloggers to adopt some of the more stringent standards that professional journalists use.
- Use a byline, an author credit, where you can
- Sort out your grammar and spelling
- Where possible, source your work – it’s easy to add links, after all
- Don’t copy and paste other people’s work. That is lazy and pointless and Google will not like you!
- If there is a conflict of interest, then share it and try to provide a balanced view
WordPress in the corporate publishing arena
As more and more organisations adopt WordPress as the digital platform, we’re seeing corporate web-sites move from providers of static brochures to publishers. This is a good thing, but the challenges of marrying the traditional PR role with an emerging digital world are yet to be conquered.
Corporates will need to approach information publishing using the strict structure of journalism tempered with the lighter, easier-to-consume approach of blogging. The reader seldom notices, or cares, about sources and even the finer points of article accuracy as they often don’t read the detail … TL;DR anyone?
Make it interesting. Very few will read dry items about corporate features. That means corporate articles should engage, inform and enflame folks. And most of all, they must communicate the core values and philosophy of the organisation.
By Penny Driscoll, Head of Content