Last week I posted something to this blog about a presentation I'd seen by Jason Brightman of Harris Publications. And in that post I mentioned briefly that Jason's XXL magazine "does many of the things that I urge B2B publishers to do," including "hire outside experts to blog on your site."
Well this weekend a reader of this blog pointed out that Multichannel News, one of the Reed Business publications I've praised of late for making a number of positive changes online, now features blogs by industry experts. Take a look at the home page. The blogs appear on the left- hand side of the page, and the authors read like a who's who of the cable television industry. Among those now blogging for Multichannel are Henry Schleiff, the chief executive officer of Hallmark Channel; Kyle McSlarrow, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association; and Gerry Laybourne, CEO of Oxygen.
Now don't get me wrong. The Multichannel blogs aren't flawless. For example, I have yet to see a link of any kind in any post. And that's just silly. Also, there seems to be no central location on the site where I can find all the blogs.
But I don't want to get all nit-picky. The bottom line is that I love this feature. And I expect it will only get better as the industry bloggers and Multichannel's editors grow more familiar with the process and culture of blogging. (DISCLOSURE: Reed is a client. And I've discussed the idea of outside bloggers several times with Reed editors and executives. But I can't take credit for the decision to add the bloggers to Multichannel News.)
For a long time I've been telling B2B journalists that they now face competition from the least likely of places -- their own sources. In a world where blogging software allows everyone to be a publisher, the journalist's role of gatekeeper has lost some of its value.
One way to maintain our importance to the industries we cover is to take steps to ensure that we become a part of the new conversations that emerge among our readers, sources and competitors. And one way to do that is to ask our sources to blog in our communities.
To read about a new magazine that's using outside bloggers to help build an online community, check out this piece in Folio about ReadyMade.
And lest you think that I only like magazine blogs when they're written by folks from outside the magazine, check out what I've said elsewhere about the blog run by ReadyMade's competitor, Make magazine.
tags: journalism, b2b, media, trade press, magazines, newsletters, business media