Persuasive content and Web advertising

In the past, journalists generated content to serve one master—the public good—while advertisers generated content to serve another—the private good.

Journalists’ content provided evidence that it was serving a different master by criticizing the products produced by advertisers. That aspect of the past should continue.

The purpose of OpinionPath’s research methodology is not to change how journalists’ content is produced.

It is to help advertisers communicate better online.

In the past, the objective of advertising was to persuade. But the overt effort to persuade sets up conscious obstacles to being persuaded.

Suppose the most persuasive path is dialog, and the second most persuasive path is content that overtly delivers some value other than mere persuasion. Some advertisers recognized this long ago; recall their early sole sponsorship of TV shows dedicated to delivering entertainment and information values. Now advertisers are working to find comparable ways of working on the Web—ways that allow them to simultaneously deliver immediate value and longer-term persuasion. So persuasion still has its place. But, for many product categories and brands, the timing for the delivery of overt persuasion in the marketing process has shifted toward later stages. In the earlier stages, different forms of marketing-driven content are needed.

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