GE becomes legitimate online news publisher
After a very entertaining stunt with Jimmy Fallon, GE, an early adopter of content marketing, has been putting a focus on hard news of late.
GE has used sites like The Economist and Quartz for native advertising to promote itself as a supporter of innovation. But its biggest and most visible effort to date came in March with the introduction of Pressing, a policy news hub that pulls in content from millennial-aimed Vox, where Pressing made a splash as a launch sponsor.
Other content partners are CNN, Politico, NBC News, Slate and Fox News. Pressing is supplemented by articles that are created expressly for GE by Atlantic Media Strategies, Atlantic Media’s custom content arm. The site is labeled “presented by GE,” but the branding is otherwise subtle.
Alexa Christon, manager of global media development for GE, said the goal of Pressing was to promote policy discourse by presenting high-quality editorial content representing a range of views (although except for Fox, the partners skew left). “It’s really about raising that national conversation, right, left, center,” she said.
High-minded talk aside, it’s all part of the evolution by brands to change consumer perception without turning them off with traditional ads. Ultimately, Pressing hopes that by giving people an editorial experience they like, they’ll develop a stronger affinity for the company. Such hubs also allow for constant communication with consumers, rather than one-off campaigns, which is why they’ve been tried by other marketers like Dell, with Tech Page One; Xerox (Real Business) and American Express (Open Forum).
Partnering with existing publishers “keeps the creative bar relatively low,” when the number one issue for companies in doing branded content is actually coming up with content, said Rebecca Lieb, analyst at Altimeter Group.
It’s easy distribution for the publishers, too. They get additional visibility for their content through Pressing ads that are running across the group of sites, as well as the Pressing hub itself. The publishers, in turn, are pushing their Pressing-featured content on Twitter with the #pressing hashtag. Publishers are getting “multiple millions of impressions” through the exchange, according to Christon.
“It’s almost like a traffic exchange, but by GE through ad servers,” said Paul Berry, CEO of Rebel Mouse, which created and manages the Pressing hub....MORE
...Scholes: Kurt, to begin with, I am curious myself about how you got involved in this business of writing. Did you always mean to be a writer?Kurt: No, well, I think it was the only out for me. I had a very disagreeable job at General Electric, and this was an out.Scholes: Are there agreeable jobs at General Electric?Kurt: Oh yes, I think there are. I think president of General Electric is a very agreeable job, and also chairman of the board.Scholes: And the rest of them, though, are more or less disagreeable.Kurt: Well, I was quite low on the rungs of advancement there, and I was selling stories to Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post and was very happy to leave rather than to get to the top the hard way....
-A Talk with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
In The Vonnegut Statement, ed. Jerome Klinkowitz and John Sorrier.
New York: Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence, 1973, pp. 90-118.
Reprinted with the permission of Delacorte/Seymour Lawrence
Copyright © 1973.