Brand Journalism – Marketing Through Journalism [Definition]
Let’s admit it: this strategy isn’t brand new by any means, it is just becoming more and more prevalent as brands try to find ways to connect to customers and engage a migrating digital audience. “Consider the way we buy. Knowing that trust is the biggest factor in driving an online buyer from interested to customer, brands have been trying to find a way to infuse trust in the consumer in a way that is non-intrusive and moreover helpful. ” – explains Daniel Newman, the founder and president at Broadsuite.
Another fact: these days pretty much every company has some kind of a corporate blog. They are no longer focused on sending traditional press releases to media. The printed press release is all but dead. Why? “The vast majority of its recipients can’t be bothered to read it.” – answers Joanna Drabent in a PR Daily article and continues about a new form of the press release – “You can gather loyal readers and spectators without a media title. This shift, on the one hand, makes media relations more difficult, but on the other, thanks to technology, reaching the end user with our brand’s message is much easier. And the press release has taken on a new, disembodied, electronic social form.”
The Idea of Brand Journalism: Strategic Storytelling on Behalf of a Brand
So, at the most basic level, the idea of brand journalism is to use the blog instead of press releases. Of course, there are different models of corporate journalism. Some companies create content in order to generate leads. For them, the news is just another form of content, and it has to attract an audience of readers who might be converted into paying customers. Others produce news as a kind of service to their customers. For them brand journalism is communicating without selling; they don’t expect a direct return on investment. The goal for them is brand awareness and using storytelling to create a new image of the company.
Put simply, brand journalism is the concept of a company creating content, in-house, that covers their business or industry from a thought-leadership standpoint.
Here are some highlights from Ike Pigott’s (spokesman for Alabama Power) Demand Success presentation on what corporate journalism is:
Sarah Mitchell underlines that brand journalists should never slam another brand:
She also gives some clear guidelines on what’s required for brand journalism. First and foremost, it is telling the truth. Then goes being transparent, telling (the right) stories, being persuasive, and supporting brands.
“Brand journalism is marketing through journalism” – writes Newman in Forbes – “instead of using content that directly promotes the brand through traditional marketing tactics, corporate journalism focuses on building stories and other informational content that highlights value from a different point of view. Companies that embrace brand journalism use interviews and article-based websites that provide journalistic information to support a product’s offerings.”
The Power of Brand Journalism
Is it worth considering? Here are some stats that prove the power of brand journalism:
• 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement
• 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company
• 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content
• 90% of consumers find custom content useful, and 78 percent believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them
• content marketing costs less than traditional outbound marketing. Statistics show that content marketing costs 62 percent less per lead than outbound marketing
And one more significant stat from yesterday’s Twitter:
— PR News (@PRNews) March 14, 2016
Need more motivation to start? Read this. And remember: brand journalism is journalism produced on behalf of a brand. Any brand, any kind of organization, or for any cause – like Andy Bull, journalist and educator, writes in his article:
If your company has a collection of topics that fills a missing niche for your consumers, create your own affiliated site. Take a look at how Allegro, a European e-commerce giant, and Spotify did it with our help. Some other great players in the field of brand journalism? Adobe, American Express, Red Bull, and Coca-Cola. They all know how to do it.