Brand journalism can be a valuable tool to help public relations professionals achieve their goals.
Whether you’re already smitten with brand journalism or you’re still in the courtship stage, here are important reasons why you should fall head over heels with this PR tactic:
1. It controls the storytelling. Brand journalism gives you the ability to tell the story in your brand’s own words. Instead of relying on press releases and hoping that the information will be picked up by journalists, brand journalism gives PR pros the ability to share the story without any intermediaries.
2. It connects directly with the audience. When you create stories on behalf of your brand, you can speak directly to your key audience. This is something that press materials and media alerts could never do. It’s also the reason so many organizations are adding brand journalism to their communications toolboxes.
3. It transforms creativity in brands. Never before have PR practitioners had so much creative leeway in so many ways. Brand journalism affords communicators a vehicle for innovation in their storytelling techniques, including rich multimedia such as photos, videos and infographics.
4. It boosts credibility. The foundation of brand journalism is built on storytelling in a journalistic style. These types of tales boost your brand’s credibility to your target audience. Brand journalism can also enhance your trustworthiness and relationship with reporters, editors and producers. The result: more news coverage.
5. It increases sharing. For years, PR pros have struggled to find ways to make their press releases outshine others. People rarely share press releases, but they do share great stories. The core of brand journalism is emotion and the human factor in storytelling. If you tell your story in a memorable way, people are likely to pass it along.
6. It brings high ROI. The content your brand journalists produce should ideally be distributed using a variety of methods, including both company-owned and earned media channels. Brand managers who use this dual distribution strategy see their content yield big results.
7. It factors in the “Ron Burgundy” approach. Brand journalism allows organizations to transform their PR departments into newsrooms. In all newsrooms you can expect to find certain, stereotypical personalities. This is no different in a brand’s newsroom. If you don’t have a Ron Burgundy-esque figure on staff, be forewarned that one may emerge to help your team “stay classy.” What’s not to love about Ron Burgundy?
[Take this quiz to find out if you’re more like Ron Burgundy or Clark Kent as a brand journalist.]
Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.