Monday, January 16, 2012

There's a difference between marketing and journalism

MikeW brought this to my attention; as always the fun is in the comments section.  Paul Helinski of GunsAmerica threw the following hissy fit therein:

Now the question is when you are going to start qualifying internet media?   We have to crawl over nobodies who can install wordpress and have nobody reading anything they write, It isn't so hard to qualify internet media using and  Why do you waste the manufacturers' time and make the real internet media have to deal with wish I were internet journalists who are just using your stamp of approve to solicit review guns and accessories?  You've created this giant gorilla in the room and we all have to deal with it, and you may think the industry takes your numbers seriously, but everyone sees things for what they are.  If you are serious about bringing value to your exhibitors, you need to vet the press list.
He is, of course, fisked quite soundly in the comments section.  Quite plainly, he fancies himself a big fish in a small pond, and moreover wants to drop in some dynamite to get rid of the minnows.

There's a problem with this, of course.  This is the problem:
(Click for pretty much full size.)

There is a blog.  You can see it up top, just to the left of Dealer Services, and on the left navigation bar, all the way down at the bottom.  But it is obviously not the point of the website.  And therein lies the problem.  If the SHOT Show folks vetted their media badges the way Mr Helinski claims to desire, GunsAmerica would not make the cut.

See, Mr Helinski is correct that merely claiming to be a journalist does not make you one.  By the same token, adding a blog to your company website doesn't make you a blogger, it makes you a marketer who somehow was given the idea that a blog was a nifty marketing tool.  And it is...but in order for it to be an effective one, you have to interact not only with your readers and with the people whose products you want to market, you have to be able to positively interact with potential customers.  And, duh, that means not alienating them by claiming you are oh-so-much-better than they.

I am not a gunblogger, nor do I play one on the Internet.  I do not claim to be either a journalist or a marketer.  I did take Journalism in high school, so I know the basics, and I pay enough attention to know marketing when I see it.  Mr Helinski is a marketer--not a very good one, mind you, but a marketer.  He is not a journalist.  His blog serves to further the commercial aims of GunsAmerica as a whole.  There is nothing wrong with that, but to proclaim that he's the Real Journalist® is patently false, no matter what college degree he might have.  Bloggers like JayG have far better claim to journalism insofar as guns go, because that's what they do, on the Internet at least.  Now, I think (though I'm not positive) that JayG is in sales in real life, so maybe if Mr Helinski asks nicely while they're both in Vegas, Jay can give him a few pointers on not showing your ass in public and alienating potential customers.

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