"Any marketing pieces today should not be just an announcement - they should be a conversation"
As 2011 closes its final pages, companies project numbers, assess and set up short term and long term goals and take a look at their yearly plans, losses and gains.
This past year, a lot of companies shifted towards becoming digital, and organizations take clear steps towards digital communication, towards crowd-generated content, and empowering both their external and internal teams of influencers. It is now the time they shift towards thinking like journalists when creating stories around their brand. This is when we talk about what is being called "brand journalism".
What is Brand Journalism then, and why do we need to distinguish it from content marketing?
Brand journalism is being described as a nonfiction attempt at advertising and an editorial approach to brand building which focuses mainly on real time marketing, and having brands acting as media in real time. Brands and professionals are now thinking more like publishers.
The whole purpose is to tell a story. While content marketing emphasizes a neutral tone, this new form of communication does not lean towards your brand, nor is every piece promoting an aspect of your company directly. Instead, stories could be about anything considered newsworthy for an audience, in the editorial sense.
Simon Sproule, head of global marketing communications at Nissan, says, “It’s about killing press releases. We decided that if we’ve got good stories to tell, we’ll tell them ourselves.”
The goal with branded content, explains social media expert Shel Holtz, isn’t necessarily to solicit profits, but to make companies visible, because these days, if your business doesn’t have content on the world wide web, you’re essentially invisible-even if you have a company website
Last year, companies and brands started becoming media houses and we see that continuing next year maybe even going a step further to convince media people to make the switch from journalism to PR.
As a communicator your content should be focused towards noteworthiness and value while thinking of all audiences, not just journalists, and sometimes without focusing on oneself.
Therefore, keep in mind is that branded content isn’t interested in covering the news (political campaigns, crime stories, etc); instead, branded content is interested in reporting the stories relevant to that brand’s industry. Brand journalism is about starting a conversation and inviting others to take part, its all about storytelling.
Brand journalism develops credibility for your brand across a variety of channels. In a world filled with poor marketing and loud advertising, better stories are needed today more than ever.