Everyone knows that a story always sticks in our minds. No matter how long ago we might have heard a children’s story, we still remember it today. That’s because stories are simply communicated. They have a natural rhythm to them and they are more personal to us than simply stated principles or facts. Perhaps this is the reason why storytelling has become a must-have in modern marketing. Any brand that doesn’t have a story, not only becomes irrelevant – they become forgettable.
Enter brand journalism. According to BrandJournalists.com, brand journalism “involves telling journalism-style stories about a company that make readers want to know more, stories that don’t read like marketing or advertising copy. It means having conversations with your customer — not preaching at them or bombarding them with bullet points but giving them real and interesting stories they can relate to.”
Here are 10 other reasons why brand journalism matters.
In a time where consumers want transparency, brand journalism offers just that by offering authentic narratives about a company, its culture, its products or services, or it’s field. There’s a degree of trust in that narrative that beats traditional marketing copy alone.
Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi notes how “In the advertising age, 2 percent conversion on any ad is considered a success. That model is not only deteriorating, it’s simply not enough. Our goal must be 100 percent engagement in the brand.” Marketing through journalistic style and practices does that in a way that simple copywriter never could.
Your consumers don’t want to hear a pitch. Through the spike in social media and circulating stories, your group of consumers is far more involved and curious. They want to learn, think and explore. So simply telling them you’re relevant isn’t enough; being relevant is. You become relevant by providing targeted stories that appeal to their interest within your own business field.
Excellent journalism is about providing a question and offering a solution (or a set of solutions). This is probably the best marketing strategy nestled into journalism, and now perfectly within your reach as you explore brand journalism. Use the same techniques to give your customers a solution to their problem. Using a three step formula, first address the issue, identify the problem using supporting quotes, cases, and facts, before finally offering your solution.
The Director of External Communications for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, Todd Blecher offered the following thoughts on brand journalism as a communication strategy: “Brand journalism must be part of an overall communications strategy. If it’s not, its content will communicate in a vacuum, with little benefit to the organization and of little interest to audiences.” Blecher offers a rough formula for success that involves thinking like a journalist – a formula that involves all the elements of objective storytelling including.
The new PR, brand journalism has replaced the conventional ways that companies would talk about themselves. Take the Coca-Cola example for instance, who already converted their home page as extension of their brand journalism campaign. Ashley Brown, Coke’s lead point-person for its digital communications and social media efforts, notes how brand journalism goes a long way in developing content, integrating data, and cutting through the noise. In fact, Coke has launched it’s own brand journalism project, entitled “Coca-Cola Journey” – a wildly successful digital magazine that has them considering moving away from press releases all together.
It’s fairly easy to get started with your own brand journalism campaign. The first thing you need is a writer that has a marketing and journalism background – someone who can write like a journalist but think like a marketer. Their job will be to explore and curate the conversation in your business field, and then “newsjack” that content to create both human and analytical stories around your company.