A few days ago, a story in one of the major business publications here in New Jersey caught my eye. It was about how Short Hills-based Investors Savings Bank has rebranded itself as Investors Bank. It’s a subtle but important separation from its heritage as a savings bank into a new and more dynamic form as a local bank aiming to attract small business and consumer customers dissatisfied with the service they get from the giant superregional and national banks that have devoured most of the banking market in New Jersey.
As you can see elsewhere on this site, it also happens that we just produced a video podcast for the New Jersey Bank Marketing Association, in which the president and CEO of Investors, Kevin Cummings, described the rebranding of the bank in extensive detail for an audience of bank marketers and business leaders.
Partly as a promotional effort, but mainly because it was content relevant to the business publication’s story, I added a comment to the story (by the way, I pay for my subscription to this publication) pointing out that readers of the story might be interested in hearing more about the bank’s rebranding by viewing the video. The comment included a link to the podcast.
I received a terse email from the publication’s editor that informed me that “comments like this will not be approved on our site.” I wrote back that it was a shame the publication was so worried about posting links to outside content that it would deprive its readers of any opportunity to get more information on a story in the publication.
I haven’t received any answer to my response. I suspect I won’t, either.
Ironically, this publication has gratefully accepted — for no compensation — my digital images of various executives appearing on regional economic panels in the past, and once, even paid me to license photos of a state official for use in the publication. And in fairness, I have tried on several occasions to forge a formal partnership with them that would enable their readers to benefit from the audio and video content we produce.
One of the challenges for mainstream, traditional publishers, is going to be deciding how to deal with independent content producers like me. We produce what we think is pretty good content for our clients. A lot of it is straight reporting, no commentary, just a recording of a seminar, what people said and what questions were asked. Why wouldn’t a publication want to amplify its own reporting by linking to content like this?
So what if it sort of promotes the content producer a little bit? Isn’t that why they invented bylines, anyway?
What do you think? Should mainstream media be willing to let independent content producers link content that relates to their stories or not?