Gawker to become news magazine

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded

Gawker recently announced they are dropping the “old blog” look and turning to more of a magazine format. This is very interesting news coming from one of the pioneers of blogging and social media. Gawker and the other nine blogs under the ownership of Nick Denton, are going to forsake the blog format in favor of a newsmagazine. Mr. Denton has stated, “I’m out of blogs. I don’t want to be the #1 blog network anymore. That’s like being king of the playground.” Their content will still stay close to their roots of being scandalous, but it is going to emphasize videos more. It is like a blend of TV news shows and online web sites. According to Ben Smith, a blogger/reporter for Politico, “Writing a blog has become this very old-fashioned thing. It’s like calligraphy or something.” Another reason why Mr. Denton is turning to more of a video emphasis is the attraction of video ads. The Huffington Post is also looking at revamping their approach to blogging and how it curates content from thousands of other bloggers.

So, what does this mean to blogging, marketing, and brand? Here are my thoughts. First, social media is becoming as blurred as traditional and new media marketing has become. The silos are starting to come down in the online world. The niche companies who “specialize” in a specific category of social media are going to have to find ways to stay relevant to the market place. I know of many companies who have built their business being twitter specialists, ghost bloggers, and social media experts. I’ve always believed that there is an inherent danger to being so narrow. All of social media is still about marketing. It’s still a tool, not the silver bullet as many have proclaimed. Bloggers are having to reinvent themselves in today’s media space as they face growing competition.

Second, online and offline are boundaries are becoming even more grey. Gawker’s move to being a newsmagazine shows that even traditional formats such as TV news shows like The O’Reilly Factor and Countdown to Keith Olbermann are still very effective. Traditional news properties are catching up and are distributing news and videos more quickly and effectively, social media is losing their strangle hold on instant news and rich content. With more videos, more headlines, and more video ads, the new Gawker will be very close to being like their counterparts on TV.

Brands who kept true to core marketing principles should see Gawker’s move as a confirmation that they are still on the right track. All of the tools of social media are important, but none are a single-solution by themselves, just as TV spots, direct mail, and print ads are not a single-solution by themselves either. It’s about integrating your marketing. This will also force the SEO world to readjust as well. If more bloggers and web sites turn to becoming video base sites, SEO companies will have to change strategies.

Stay tuned to Gawker news TV. It should be interesting.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.


  1. Tips for brands on using YouTube and videos « Bebranded's Blog - November 16, 2010

    […] find you, and gaining some insights from your customers along the way. Just as I had blogged about Gawker’s move to a new video format, YouTube is where the online is […]

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