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Vollrath Associates

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The Shift to Brand Journalism

March 26, 2013

pen and notepad, pen and paper, brand journalism, brand, public relationsBrand journalism is the opportunity a company has in being the news source for its industry, business and clientele. A hybrid of PR, reporting and marketing, brand journalism allows a company to share its story beyond press releases and traditional PR methods. In PR, media content can be paid for, earned or owned. Brand journalism fits into the owned category of media – allowing a company to control and own content about itself and the channel in which the content is shared.


Blogging, social media and company-created videos are all methods companies are choosing to communicate through brand journalism. Some companies have gone as far as creating “brand newsrooms” which provide journalistic responses to internal and external events. Brand journalism is not an easy endeavor, however, for a company to start doing on its own. With that in mind, we’ve collected a few points to keep in mind when considering promoting your brand through brand journalism.


Relevance – Content must be relevant to the audience in order to create interest – just like traditional journalism and reporting. Furthermore, if your company decides to incorporate promotional information in its storytelling content, it cannot be overwhelming in trying to sell a service or product. The moment brand journalism content appears to be lingering behind a sales pitch is when the audience will lose interest in the material. A company can still communicate its philosophies and values, but should consider using real life examples from the organization, again, just like traditional journalism. For instance, if environmental awareness is a foundation of a company, the brand should consider communicating examples of its team planting trees or cleaning public spaces. Another thing to keep in mind is not to create content for the sake of creating content. Such communication could annoy the audience and prevent them from seeking any additional information from your business.


Credibility – Any content that a business releases needs to be evidence of your organization’s expertise. Singling out your own niche market(s) and individual specialties is one way to ensure the information being relayed is credible and unique knowledge. If a produce grower specializes in growing watermelons, it only makes sense the business produces information regarding watermelons over other topics. Compare a brand’s journalistic media to a magazine – focused on a specific audience’s experiences and needs. Likewise, it is key to remember when telling the story of your brand to maintain a clear brand value. Utilize your company’s mission statement and marketing objectives to lay out how to best focus your brand’s message.


Videos / Show and Tell – Having a great story to tell is the first step. Portraying that story through interesting and engaging media is the all-important next step to effective communication. If video is not appropriate or possible for certain content, there is a wide range of other visuals that can be used to communicate your message best. Infographics have become incredibly popular and powerful communication tools that take viewers through a journey of information and images. For example, your company can use an infographic to display a timeline of research and development goals and expectations.


video editing, editing software, brand journalism, public relationsQuality
– If your company decides to communicate information through infographics, video or even traditional text-based media, it is important that the content is of high quality and professionalism. All written content should be spelled and formatted correctly with correct grammar usage. Remember that online blogs are no exception to grammatical rules and proper spelling. Videos should be edited using professional tools in order to produce high-quality media. Raw footage from a video-recording device is not professional media and should not be used to communicate the values of a brand. If infographics are used, they should be designed through proper imaging software and not look as if they were put together at the last minute. Content should also be original, exemplifying the thought leadership your company utilizes within your industry. Quality content also ties back to relevance, and making sure all content has purpose.


Conclusion – Remembering these components is crucial when telling the story of your brand. In a climate where poor media usage can have very damaging effects, companies need to remember to stay within the scope of their expertise by delivering relevant and useful information. If done well, brand journalism can be a fun and exciting way for you to take ownership of your company’s story.


This article was developed through insight from “’Brand journalism’ grows as traditional journalism shrinks,” by Lara Sinclair and “Inside Forbes: The Birth of Brand Journalism and Why It’s Good for the News Business” by Lewis DVorkin.