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Paid Authority

kanePrint publishing is seen as a lot more authoritative than blogs because of the investment put into it.

With a blog, you just write and publish. With a piece of print, someone was hired to assign the story/beat to someone who was hired to write it, and when the writer files it, it’s then vetted by people who were hired to proof it, fact check it, and edit it for length and tone. And then, the publishers pays to have it printed and distributed to points-of-sale and subscribers.

A lot of capital is invested in bringing a piece of printed content to market, and that’s a cue for consumers that that content is at least worth considering. This also goes for both consumer magazine, which do less editing and fact checking, and online newspapers, which have all the same costs minus the actual printing/distribution ones.

The content may be good or bad, but a lot of paid professionals were involved in creating it. And that says something to the audience.

The way that interwebs have eroded the barriers to publishing, it has also eroded the gage that consumers use to gage authority and credibility. To publish now requires no capital beyond an internet connection.

Publishers don’t need to focus on ROI anymore. They can be hobbyists or activists or sycophants, and their content can still be very well trafficked. They can game the game, and consumers are left with fewer and fewer ways to gage what content is worth trusting.

This is a problem for everyone: consumers, publishers, advertisers, and PR folks.

An over-saturated publishing market is drowning authoritative content. Consumers are less sure who to trust. Advertisers are losing the consumer reach that authority channels once offered. And PR folks have less and less access to authoritative, unbiased third-parties.

Over all, there’s just a lost less beach front mind share than there used to be. Attention spans are fleeting, so even if you can measure the effectiveness of an online campaign much more accurately than you can an offline one, it doesn’t run as deep.

Realtime life in the stream is just a little too fast paced to make an enduring impression. Brands end up having to run a rat-race, and as Lily Tomlin put it: “The problem with winning the rat race is you’re still a rat.

The more we vie for consumers’ attention, the more we might be pushing them toward entrenched cynicism, apathy, and possibly outright nihilism. So the question becomes, what can brands do to prevent their consumers from losing faith and interest, and falling victim to social media exhaustion.

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