Many businesses believe that to brand smart means to practice brand journalism. The content is factual and authentic, like a journalistic article, aimed at relevance and transparency. When you brand smart it pushes content to customers, fans, and influencers with facts, not fluff.
To brand smart means you must begin to think like publishers think, and create stories that are interesting, and factual. Wide and real-time distribution are important, and so are strategies for repurposing content so that the bigger marketing engine within your company can get the most out of it.
Marketing strategist David Meerman Scott (author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR) has said in interviews that in the new world order, brand journalism is winning over direct marketing, traditional advertising, and PR attention-getting techniques. He says the key is approaching your content as publishing—journalist-quality writing—that others within the organization can use as raw material for their own content.
The material might include: videos, blog posts, photos, charts, graphs, essays, ebooks, and white papers–all aimed at the best and brightest of your readership. The theory here is that readers are capable of deciding whether the content is interesting and accurate or self serving propaganda.
Brand journalism is not about obfuscation, trickery, and “marketspeak.” It’s about balance and facts. The purpose of brand journalism isn’t to showboat, it’s to be compelling with content that demonstrates why your company is in business. Brand journalists tell stories to educate, not market. Your audience shares it and becomes smarter and more engaged with your mission.
There are huge benefits in providing trusted content. When you offer value selflessly, when you don’t make content about your brand all the time, you gain the benefits of relevancy and credibility. It’s not altruistic; it’s authentic—and it can be a competitive advantage.
Measuring the return on investment of this journalistic content can be by page views, but also by how much your content gets shared, by whom, and also watching the conversations it sparks. Treat your audience like adults, with great, accurate narratives, then enjoy the “seminar” of commentary that evolves from your content.
Try brand journalism and see if it resonates with your coworkers and your audience. You can get started with this article, Corporate Blogging Basics: Think Like a Reporter . And here’s another wonderful resource to check out.