For the last year or so, content marketing specialists have been buzzing about brand journalism. Forbes proclaimed that brand journalism is “one of the most quietly talked about areas in the media industry today, ultimately destined to shake up 100 years of journalism.” Social Media Examiner recently predicted that “brand journalism will be the biggest thing in blogging over the next few years. The basic idea is simple: A percentage of your blog content should be created with an eye toward being reusable and repurposed across multiple media platforms.” From Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop shops, every business is clamoring for brand journalism. But what is it exactly?
Think of brand journalism as a way to generate articles and press coverage for your business — but instead of using traditional media channels, your company blog or online magazine does all the work. By covering your industry like a reporter and generating posts that read like news stories instead of commercials, you have elevated your blog into a real source and a legitimate media outlet. Sure, brand journalism blurs the lines of advertising and journalism, but let’s be honest… those lines have been blurry for a long time. Brand journalism, if anything, makes sponsored news stories more transparent. What brand journalism does is empower companies to break stories happening inside of their industries instead of waiting to be picked up by big media platforms. Used in conjunction with social media marketing like Facebook and Twitter, brand journalism becomes a powerful tool to instantly promote stories.
If, by chance, you are already blog writing for your company on a regular basis, congratulations! You are ahead of the curve and are already practicing brand journalism. The advantages of brand journalism are vast as Lisa Ostrikoff pointed out in The Globe and Mail:
“There are huge benefits to providing content that educates and informs, and it’s easy to measure the return on investment,” Ostrikoff writes. “How many hits did it get? Was it shared? Did it spark conversation? As the public and businesses become increasingly ‘social,’ brand journalism can make communicating with consumers more interesting, while setting a company apart from outdated ‘push’ marketing approaches.”