Emerging markets… in Journalism?

A new, uh, spin on corporate communications reached me via The News Hook’s post How HSBC uses journalism to reach new customers. 

Essentially, HSBC bank has found a niche in the knowledge market – in this case, how to expand into emerging economies – and is filling it with niche content. The article explains:

HSBC’s tack was to start a news site focused on helping American and Canadian businesses that want to expand abroad. Recent articles explore how changing policies in China could impact international companies, whether international companies need political risk insurance and why American companies should consider going public in Canada. Some of the content is behind a subscription wall but membership is free (the site claims 10,000 members and over 10,000 visits a day).

According to News Hook, the site has 10,000 members, and HSBC is using the gap in the market not to push its services, but to meet users search needs and, I assume, convert them into customers if possible.

“HSBC has been very progressive in understanding that in having more voices with their content, that it’s just a better way of creating a dialogue with viewers to the site who are ultimately potential customers,” says Deborah Stokes, who edits the site… “[It is] independent content and independent voices.”

I’m intrigued. Trinity Mirror has a number of writers in the regionals whose roles includes anticipating and responding to users‘ online searches – for example this on WalesOnline.co.uk

I’m not sure if a bank moving into journalism is a brilliant innovation or a bit ‘all your base are belong to us’ but it does raise the question that, beyond the mainstream media and the independents, there is another funded strand for journalism and professional journalists.

As an aside, I use a Zemanta plug in on this blog, which helpfully throws up linked articles around what I’m writing. I thought it’s related articles choices for this were... illuminating.

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