Brand journalism: how to own your audience and create your own news

Brand journalism: how to own your audience and create your own news

Brand journalism allows companies to create their own news.

Branding and journalism go together like peanut butter and celery. That is to say, for some people it’s a delicious combination; for others it’s off-putting. That’s part of the reason brand journalism has been seeing such strong interest these days. It’s an outreach effort that the brand can control, rather than giving control over to the person reporting the story. 

Brand journalism is more than just publishing content on a company blog. There are additional types of content that can fall under this umbrella, such as:

  • Curating content from others in the industry
  • Newsletters
  • Long-form (skyscraper) content
  • White papers
  • News stories
  • Videos 
  • Webinars

Here’s a look at why you should use brand journalism and how it can help your company.

Taking Things Into Your Own Hands. 

One of the big risks of using journalists to get the word out about your company has always been that you lose control of the story, if you can even get in a story at all. Though you can serve up experts and thought leaders to the reporter, you can’t see the story before it is published and you can’t control what is written. You also can’t force the reporter to mention or link to your company in the article. 

With brand journalism you can take back control of the story by bringing consumers interested in your company’s specialty straight to you. There is no middle man. Plus, when you produce your own content, you’re establishing your company’s authority on the topic, which will drive journalists looking for experts in the area right to you.

This doesn’t eliminate the need for journalists, however. Newspapers, online publications and broadcast news will still play an important part of your PR campaigns. 

Implementing Brand Journalism

Though the idea of starting a new program can sound intimidating, taking small steps will make it easier to do. One key to effective brand journalism is planning. You’ll want to develop an editorial calendar to plan out your content months ahead of time. Make sure it is relevant, consistent and engaging. Watch for any holidays or big events in your industry that will make for natural tie-ins to your plans.

One exceptional way to tell your story is using longform content, also often referred to as skyscraper content. There are several advantages to this approach. First, it allows you to present a bigger and better picture of the issues and innovations in your industry than a short blog post. Second, search engines love long, in-depth explorations of a topic. You’ll get a nice boost in rankings from these pieces if you target your keywords correctly. 

Brand Journalism in Action.

One of the best ways to use brand journalism is to tell your brand’s story. For instance, one of my clients, CJ Pony Parts, which sells parts for Mustang enthusiasts, is putting together a series of longform posts on Mustang’s history, targeting the company’s target audience of Mustang enthusiasts. These longform pieces give CJ Pony Parts the chance to tell the brand’s story in their own voice, as well as providing a variety of information, from videos to facts to statistics. There’s even some novel-style writing in the pieces to draw in the reader and keep them engaged.

Every brand has a story to tell. By using brand journalism, you can get the word out about what is unique and interesting about your brand, without giving up control of how that story is presented. 

Have additional thoughts on brand journalism? Share them in the comments below!

Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Business Insider, and Spin Sucks.

Photo: News sign via Shutterstock

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