I applied for an Arch Grant toward the end of last year. I didn't get it, but if I did, I would have put that money into a brilliant idea I have called The Stirring Standard. This idea is essentially an online newspaper that syndicates all of its content from business blogs. Nothing like it exists, at least not yet. I'd like to see the Stirring Standard live and thrive, and perhaps be a game changer for news and content marketing.
Why Is This Needed?
As someone in the content marketing industry, more and more businesses are buying into the idea of content marketing, starting business blogs and venturing into other types of content. This is great, however, businesses lack channels to get this content in front of consumers. Companies currently have their own website, search engines, social media, and co-marketing/guest posting opportunities. The first three are great, and there's nothing wrong with them. However, it's incredibly difficult to find and to build guest posting relationships (co-marketing isn't as difficult, but you don't want to co-market all the time, or co-market with just one or two folks all the time). Businesses want to get their content in front of more people, build their audiences, and to build backlinks, but all that is tough to accomplish with the channels that are currently available. The Stirring Standard is designed to be that additional channel, something that accomplishes those three goals but rewards great content that is of value to the audience.
Rewarding Great Content is Key
With content marketing on the rise, it's going to be tough for companies to have content that stands out from the competition. It'll come down to more than optimizing it right, and covering the right topic for your audience. Those methods will work for those who started creating content early, but it won't be enough for those who start this year. The Stirring Standard will be an entity that will set the standard for great content, and will make an effort to have that great content rise above the mediocre stuff. It'll also level the playing field between those who've been in this awhile and those who are just starting. As an online publication, there will also be additional opportunities to feature content that isn't a blog post. Calls-to-action will appear in the sidebars and at the bottoms of posts, leading to eBooks, whitepapers, webinars and other long forms of content. It also forces content creators to think about the audience, instead of writing about company announcements, products, and services.
What Do You Think?
If you have any thoughts on this idea, please let me know in the comments. Since I didn't get the grant, I am strongly considering getting this done on my own. I already have two separate companies submit their business blogs for consideration, and this is through no advertising and no action on the site since September 2012. Something must have caught their attention to submit their blogs, despite five months of inactivity on the website. I believe that businesses have a story to tell, and have stories that consumer would be interested in. I believe that businesses are some of the best experts in their field, and aren't driven to create sensational content or false content, which has plagued online and print publications in the past. That is my vision, and I think there's a lot of merit to this vision. I think a lot of businesses would be interested in this opportunity, and would be willing to pay money to be syndicated. So, please, let me know your thoughts here.