How to make brand journalism work for you: tips from experts

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Digital media has transformed the manner in which brands interact with their audiences and customers. The new age consumers are now empowered and informed, conditioned to ignore traditional advertisements, relying on online commentaries and word of mouth instead. This critical shift calls for a change in the manner in which brands reach out to their customers. Exit traditional PR/marketing and enter brand journalism. Brand Journalism is an approach to content creation based on the principles of journalism, wherein marketers combine the tenets of journalism with brand storytelling, thereby creating a new kind of value to its customers.

To understand how to successfully adopt brand journalism, you need to first understand the very reason for your customers’ preference of this type of messaging over traditional marketing communication. Customers are busy ignoring your promotional emails, and are browsing their twitter feeds and facebook feeds to explore interesting content shared by their friends/networks. This shows their aversion to the conventional promotional messages bombarded by corporates which has resulted in them losing basic trust in these marketing messages. Instead, they are constantly on the look-out for interesting and unique information from authentic and credible sources. This trend has led to the evolution of brand journalism, wherein customers are given concrete information in a neutral way, without promoting a brand and instead quoting in-house subject matter experts to showcase thought-leadership and expertise. HSBC’s site business beyond borders is a classic example of a brand providing high-quality content, tools and analysis from leading in-house experts from all over the globe.

Practicing this form of communication can be tough, especially for marketers who are too used to the conventional norms of advertising and PR. Here are some tips to help you use brand journalism effectively to win the trust of your target audience:

  • Keep your content transparent and tone neutral

Your customers are now conditioned to ignore marketing speak and welcome factual credible information communicated in a neutral tone by their trusted sources instead. Make sure you keep your content as transparent as possible, while using accurate well-researched facts to win the trust of your target audience.

  • Keep your content fresh and engaging

It is crucial that you adopt a storytelling approach while churning out content. Articles published by you cannot be stories that read like marketing brochures. Showcase your unique opinions and point of views and give people relevant information in a conversational journalistic manner, while keeping the content fresh and engaging.

  • Adopt a storytelling approach

Have you noticed how journalists report events by publishing small pieces that follow each other, in a story-like manner? It is important that while using brand journalism, you follow the same approach and publish articles that have a flow and provide solutions to problems, like fitting the right pieces to a puzzle. While doing so, it is also crucial to ensure that it is done in a free-flowing conversation like manner.

  • Hire a team with excellent writing and editorial skill

Brand journalists are required to be fast thinkers, be articulate, have clarity of thought and a keen eye for detail. To be successful at your brand journalism efforts, it is important to hire people with the above mentioned skill sets, not necessarily from a journalistic background although they will have a natural advantage.

  • It’s not always about you; in fact it’s almost seldom about you.

To be seen as credible experts in your field, you should refrain from talking about yourself and your products and services. Instead, talk about your niche, your industry and give your customers valuable information on the latest trends and movements in the industry impacting them. Position yourself as the go-to place for all matters pertaining to your industry, and maybe sometimes but rarely pertaining to you.

Embracing brand journalism will enable you to use journalistic principles to create your own content that informs and entertains your audiences, and makes them come back for more.

As a marketer, does this form of communication appeal to you? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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