Savvy consumers long ago began tuning out marketing messages that contained blatant commercial slogans or content that tried too hard to convince them to buy something.
The internet has accelerated this process. Between going online and watching television, people are bombarded daily with marketing messages. They’ve learned to ignore them and move on.
Brand journalism, however, has changed that. The switch is in the approach. Rather than making a pitch to consumers, organizations instead provide them with information they can use in making their purchasing decisions or on general topics of interest.
Brand Journalism Explained
Generally speaking, brand journalism employs the professional standards and practices of journalism to create content that both engages consumers and provides them information they need while considering a product or service purchase.
Some of the features of brand journalism sound like the major points from a Journalism 101 class. But they are effective in the business world. They include factual and accurate content, a journalistic “reporting the information” style, content that is relevant to a consumer’s interests and features that tell the story behind how a product or service is developed and used.
- Red Bull’s publication of the Red Bulletin, which highlights interviews and articles with interesting people involved with the active lifestyle that Red Bull promotes
- Cisco’s The Network, which publishes articles on technology trends
- Randy’s Journal from Boeing, written by Vice President for Marketing Randy Tinseth. He brings a personal touch to stories about a corporation that many would otherwise find monolithic and unapproachable
Other organizations create blogs and resource centers that offer articles on topics around a company’s product or services. The idea is to engage customers, not sell them.
Components of Brand Journalism
There are several key components to brand journalism that are important to remember before launching your own.
Know Your Audience
It’s important to have expert-level knowledge on the topic which you create content on. It also vital to offer content that is relevant to your current and potential customers. One way to accomplish this is by simply speaking with current customers and finding out their likes, dislikes and interests. It seems a simple step, but many don’t make it.
Building content around your customers’ interests often proves difficult. It’s hard to get people on staff to handle what can turn into a time-consuming job. That’s why many companies turn to outside agencies such as Bayshore Solutions to handle content creation and development.
A Content Mix
Brand journalism can be delivered in many ways. They include:
- Information articles (such as the one you are reading)
- How To Articles (steps on how to accomplish a task)
- Listicle (simple lists built around a specific topic)
- Video (people increasingly are willing to watch videos, if they are short and informative)
- Interviews (with people who make the product, those within an organization or satisfied customers)
Keep It Up
The internet is overrun with sites that started content and then abruptly stopped. The regular creation, development and posting of content can prove difficult to maintain (another reason organizations often turn to outside agencies).
But posting content on a consistent basis eventually reaps rewards, both in engaging customers and with search engine results on Google and Bing.
Think of brand journalism as a service to customers and a way to engage them continuously on topics around your niche industry. People want to hear about products and services, they just don’t want to be constantly pitched. Brand journalism offers a way to accomplish that goal.