As Fixate continues to innovate in the area of influencer marketing by recruiting technical practitioners who create persuasive, authentic content marketing for technical markets, we find there are many aspects of this approach that are still undefined. Among them is the all-important question: What is the code that governs ethical practitioner content marketing?
To answer this question, we examined our own rules and processes for our contributor network. We also looked at the current accepted standards for traditional influencer marketing. From this, we distilled them into a practitioner content marketing code of ethics.
What is practitioner marketing?
A practitioner is a powerful influencer for a skeptical market because, unlike many journalists, a practitioner is still technically active. A practitioner lives and breathes the problems and solutions in the world of the customer. Practitioner marketing makes use of content generated by a practitioner.
A practitioner has technical credibility and personal credibility because they are experts in their fields and they are not part of the companies where their writing appears. For this reason, the content they generate is particularly persuasive to a skeptical, technical audience. However, practitioners are paid to write technical content that shows up on vendor blogs and websites.
Why bother with a code of ethics?
A code of ethics is called for partly to protect the integrity of the practitioner, and to protect the effectiveness of this approach to content marketing. Without ethical principles governing the behavior of Fixate or our contributors, the entire approach is called into question. Then, the skeptics (i.e. customers) run away from practitioner content and the vendors that use it. This renders the approach useless.
What are Fixate’s standards?
Our standards for contributors are publicly available on GitHub. However, they can easily be summarized as five principles that protect everyone’s reputation—the practitioners, Fixate, and our vendors who use the content.
There shall be no direct exchange of money, goods, or services by a company for practitioner-written content. Fixate pays contributors for content. A vendor who procures practitioner content cannot pay directly or indirectly for content using goods or services. If a practitioner needs access to vendor products or services to create content, Fixate always procures that directly from the vendor on behalf of the contributor.
Practitioners are not obligated to accept any topic assignment. Sure, once they commit, that is the topic they will write about. But no practitioner in our network is compelled to write about anything for anyone. This means that content generated is content a practitioner can truly get behind
Practitioners are encouraged to share their statuses as a Fixate contributors. They can proclaim it from every social media platform they use! Their statuses as content contributors is not only not a secret—We want it publicized. It helps them, it helps us, and it helps the vendors they write for.
Practitioners are encouraged to share the content they write. Of course, they must link back to the original publication location, but they can share it on social, and even summarize it on their own blogs.
Practitioners may not repurpose content. It’s basically a form of plagiarism.
Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Content marketing is about persuasion, not manipulation. By using practitioners as influencers to create technically sound content for skeptical audiences, we can increase the ROI for our customers. However, we have to have clear standards for our approach to content marketing.
Practitioner content marketing is an emerging practice of generating content from people close to the customer because they often are the customer. They are solving technical challenges that our vendors’ customers must solve.
They are like the customer, but they are paid for the content they create. As such, practitioners hold themselves to a high standard, and we do, too. Practitioner marketing has a code of ethics, and we are proud to hold ourselves and our contributors to that code.