Is the Worm starting to turn?


There has been considerable pressure on traditional media, (Aka the newspapers…) over the past few years from Social media, however,the 2010 Edlemans Trust Barometer has shown a dramatic shift in trust away from the new media.

Quite simply the new media has failed to establish the credibility that they needed to win people over in the long-term, after the rush of excitement and high initial takeup.

Internet marketers and spammers have flooded this unregulated and unedited space and destroyed the credibility of this media as some sort of holy grail of unbiased and raw information.

This shift however has not been capitalized on by the traditional media, who could use their well established brands to resurrect confidence in their content. The same barometer also shows that trust has shifted towards expertise, and this could easily be turned to the traditional medias advantage. However instead of doing this and exploiting the obvious weakness of the social media, the traditional media’s trust rating are continuing to slip.

An excellent example of how flawed the social media is in being able to build credibility is the revelation by Zscaler in their April 5th blog that 15-20% of all results returned by Google for popular search terms are links to malicious sites, and that in some instances this can rise to as high as 90%.

This is really a damning indictment of the value of the new media. If you want something you can trust and something reliable, then there needs to be a level of intervention to filter out the rubbish. This has been the role of the traditional media for hundreds of years… build a brand that readers and viewers trust, and provide information that reinforce and stems from the credibility of that brand.

Quite why the traditional media has failed to recognise that the answer to their problems is to strengthen the value of the brand by building strong high quality and unique content is beyond me. Clearly the sourcing of editorial content from the major agencies such as PA, from direct PR marketing and from the paparazzi is not providing the material that they need to build their credibility. There are very real reasons, namely the lack of unbiased expertise at the suppliers and the inherent conflict of interest that these suppliers bring to their customers, why this will never be so.

The traditional media needs to rebuild its diverse supplier base, and invest in bringing in new, high quality, and unique content which is in line with their brand and reinforces it.

Until they see this and start to invest properly in content, they will continue to struggle. The answer that has been embraced by the traditional media to the challenge of the new media has been to become more like the new media and cut their own self-generated content. To Dumb Down. This is the exact opposite of what they should be doing.