How Tumblr is changing the PR industry


Well the original title from the Read Write Web is “How Tumblr is changing journalism”. But it doesn’t really matters. I think content curation activites, and related tools for that, already has, or for sure will change, the way we share stories with each other, as information junkies, as journalists. as PR communicators, as people.

A few month ago I wrote a post about “Why Marketers Should Care About Content Curation”. As a matter of fact I didn’t write it. I just curated another post by Derek Edmond from Search Engine Land with a similar headline “Why B2B Search Marketers Should Care About Content Curation”. And he wrote it from a SEO perspective:

“B2B search engine marketers realize new content creation is a critical tactic in an effective SEO strategy. But it is also realized, as illustrated in the Marketingsherpa chart below, the level of effort required to successfully develop new content may be significant, in comparison to other tactics. Therefore, with limited resources and immediate lead generation goals, it is not surprising when we find that new content generation falls behind other SEO initiatives on the priority list. Enter content curation. While not a substitute for new development, content curation can help B2B organizations provide important information to their market.”

Since Google launched the Panda I don’t know If this matters anymore? Because as you might know, Google Panda is the “filter designed by Google to spot low-quality content”, as Catch Pope from the Australien “Curated Content Agency” put it.

If you’re not sure what “low-quality content” is, maybe Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search, explanation on the official Google blog, make sense? He says:

“Below are some questions that one could use to assess the “quality” of a page or an article. These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves as we write algorithms that attempt to assess site quality. Think of it as our take at encoding what we think our users want.

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?”

And as you might see, some of these bullets seems to criticize the curated content; or at least some of the curated content seems to be “low-quality content”. And Google might punish your site for that, seen from a SEO perspective? But… I still think marketers (and others) should care about content curation, because that’s a great way to share interesting stories etc with your stakeholders, the people you care about. And not to forget – it’s not just about sharing, it’s about contribution and reflections as well.

Therefore I was not surprised when Richard MacManus recently wrote the article “How Tumblr is changing journalism” for Read Write Web.

As you might know Tumblr is a super easy and smooth blogging tool, but also a sharing tool, or a content curation tool. Becuase that’s pretty much how people are using it. Tumblr themselves says the tool “lets you effortlessly share anything”.

And I don’t know if the curation trend is one of the reasons why Tumblr, with it’s 12 billion page views per month, just hit knockout on WordPress, which is not a curation tool?

So I think it was just a question of time before the journalists, who are already experts on rewrites, would start using the tool (or others) “to power” their news websites, as Richard MacManus put it.

He mention the Tumblr-powered news service, ShortFormBlog, as an example.

“The concept behind ShortFormBlog is very simple: to publish really short posts throughout the day. The site publishes over 200 posts per week, an average of about 30 per day.”

Pretty successful as far as I know.

So now we’re waiting for the trend to really take off in marketers and PR staff’s newsroom.

As a matter of fact, IBM were using Tumblr when they already in November, 2008, launched the Smarter Planet project to help people grasp IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative. The site “uses frequently updated, “microblogging” entries to illustrate how the Smarter Planet vision is unfolding across IBM and across the world.”