Faced with the same challenges experienced by many organizations—newsroom cutbacks leading to reduced media coverage—BNSF Railway, one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies, turned to brand journalism/content marketing to tell its story. The use of a blog to produce a full-scale brand journalism outlet has earned BNSF the top prize in the “Content Marketing and Brand Journalism Campaign” category of the PR Daily Awards.
The Rail Talk blog is the home to this effort, but Rail Talk goes beyond the basics of blogging. Its sections cover community (with stories demonstrating strong relationships with communities and tribal nations), heritage (covering the organization’s 170-year history), safety (because it comes first) and service (reporting on the importance of investing in the BNSF network, the advantages the company brings to the marketplace, technological innovations, sustainability and more).
Targeting a broad audience of public policy makers, employees, current and prospective customers, industry groups, the media and more, the team has used social media and internal communications to promote Rail Talk content, including $1,500 in paid promotions for every story (spent on either LinkedIn or Facebook, depending on the audience for the piece).
A little more than a year after its late 2018 launch, Rail Talk has achieved more than 300,000 page views. The brand journalism approach has paid off with media coverage, too, with articles repurposed in Aviation Week, Railway Age, the Dallas Business Journal and even The Wall Street Journal. The articles and accompanying imagery are best-in-class.
Congratulations to Amy Casas, Stephen Manning, Benjamin Wilemon and Anaisa Kalita.