With the rise of brand journalism, the old rules for boosting your company’s image don’t work anymore.
Building your presence no longer means logos and marketing messages. Organizations that incorporate brand journalism into their communication understand that our new industry rules focus less on branding and more on storytelling.
Successful brand journalism is built on telling stories, not selling products. This style of content helps an organization to become an authority by providing information that its target audience wants.
It also demands that your organization recede into the shadows. As customers move into the spotlight, there’s no room to plaster your logo everywhere and toss around a lot of “brand speak.”
The industry is changing at lightning speed. With behemoth companies like Apple and Google offering ad blocking technology, it’s evident that today’s consumer wants content that is free of self-serving copy.
The switch to brand journalism
It can be difficult to go from heavily branded content that’s been around for decades to “unbranded” material that’s found in storytelling. Here are a few tips to get started:
1. Focus on the audience. Turn the focus away from your brand and toward your target audience. Consider what people care about and how they will benefit from your products or services. This will naturally shift the spotlight from old-school jargon generated by your company to real-life customer experiences.
2. Think like a journalist. Unbranding your material doesn’t mean stripping the “salesy” content from every ad, post, radio spot or direct-mail piece. Would a professional journalist include your company name in a headline? Probably not. You should follow their example and find a way to include the name further down in your content.
3. Get buy-in from the boss. The idea of going brand-free can make company leadership nervous. However, it often brings extraordinary results. From Mayo Clinic to Coca-Cola to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, major organizations (and their products or services) can benefit from a brand journalism approach. After your unbranded content becomes successful on company-owned and/or earned media, highlight the results to leaders and stakeholders. Show them the benefits of the less-is-more marketing philosophy of brand journalism.
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 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.
This article was created in partnership with MediaSource.