Two weeks ago, I attended a workshop on Brand Journalism with Mark Ragan of Ragan Communications. Here at ND&P, we’ve been recommending the brand journalism approach to clients for some time, and Ragan Communications took the lead on this communications method several years ago.
What is Brand Journalism? In the past, marketers and public relations professionals would take the time to write a press release or white paper, pitch it to a journalist, and cross their fingers that it would get published. Thanks to today’s technology, that’s simply no longer the case. Brand journalism is creating your own news stories, publishing them on your own channels and sharing them across multiple platforms on the Internet. In fact, Mark advocates doing the work yourself by having the story 100% ready to go, then pitching the story to the media with a link to your website where the story lives.
For me, this was a huge takeaway from the workshop. We advise clients on their brand journalism efforts, but have yet to push them to go the extra mile and prep their materials to be a complete package for the media. I’m excited to work with clients and encourage them to give their content that extra attention to entice media to run their stories.
Mark advises to run your brand journalism initiative just like a newsroom, including publishing editorial guidelines for your content. Set an overall strategy and objective and include what you will publish – and what you won’t. This gives your efforts a focus, and allows for consistency in voice. Include your subject matter experts in the stories – and always go to the person closest to the story, advises Mark. He adds that the best person to add value to a story is not always the person in the suit.
With regard to content, Marks says that if you don’t think it’s good, no one else will either. We have to stop producing just for the sake of posting something new.
Finally, he advises to take a good look at your posts – what was it about one particular post that worked? Think about how you are going to measure success and then implement that measurement system.
I just got back from once again joining the Ragan team for a social media conference in Orlando. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to share insight from what I’ve learned there.