Brand Journalism: Take charge of your own story

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 | 1 — 3:30 p.m. ET

Who’s telling your story? These days, it better be you. To do so, you need to be a brand journalist. Skillful storytelling can boost your company’s reputation in the marketplace, improve your media coverage and attract new talent to your organization.

Brand journalism is more than just a better way to tell better stories. It is about positioning your organization to break your own news and rise above the din of a crowded and noisy marketplace. Storytelling also can drive culture, by giving voice to your values and your point of view on the issues facing your industry–and the world.

Join Ragan Consulting Group Co-founder Jim Ylisela on Sept. 21 for this highly interactive workshop, Brand Journalism: Take charge of your own story, to learn from top communicators on how brand journalism will help engage the stakeholders crucial to your business, tear down the barriers between teams to integrate your communications newsroom, think creatively to tell the same story in fresh, new ways and much more.

Top takeaways for you and your team:

  • Determining your brand journalism goals with customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders
  • How to develop a brand journalism checklist that includes defining your editorial standard and structure, content delivery methods and measuring the success of your efforts
  • Understanding the six kinds of brand journalism stories and figuring out which ones are right for you
  • Learn how to refine the journalistic elements of your story, including headlines, teasers and image placement
  • How to shift focus from writing for your internal team to writing for an external audience
  • And more!

Bonus Takeaways:

  • RCG’s Brand Journalism Checklist
  • RCG's "Brand Journalism on the Inside" Guide
Don't miss this unique opportunity!

1-1:05 p.m.

Opening remarks and workshop overview

1:05-1:25 p.m.

Making the case for brand journalism

Why should your company invest in brand journalism? Give that some thought before you log in to this workshop, because you will write your business case during this workshop.

The Assignment: How will brand journalism help your business:

  • With customers?
  • With investors and other stakeholders
  • With employees
  • With news media
1:25-1:50 p.m.

Your brandjo checklist

Brand journalism is not for the faint-hearted. You may need to reorganize your comms department, or at the very least tear down the silos that have long stood in the way of effective, integrated communications. You’ll want to create a new digital platform, or greatly improve the one you have, to showcase your content. And you’ll want to raise the skill level of those who plan, create and deliver great content to your many audiences. In this session, you will learn the brand journalism essentials and how to:

  • Integrate your comms newsroom by tearing down the barriers between internal comms, PR, marketing and IR
  • Develop editorial standards for your content
  • Create an editorial structure and process for delivering timely and relevant stories to your audiences
  • Build your digital platform
  • Develop your strategy for delivering content, through an e-newsletter, social media, news media and other third parties
  • Boost the storytelling skills of your content team, subject matter experts and thought leaders
  • Measure the impact of your efforts

Exercise: You’ll do a brand journalism SWTO (Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities) analysis, instead of a SWOT analysis. This exercise should end on a positive note: opportunities.

1:50-2 p.m.


2-2:30 p.m.

Case study: The Statement

If information is currency, what is financial information? All too often, it’s hard to find.

That’s the opening of the business case for The Statement, the brand journalism platform for BOK Financial Corp. What began in 1910 as a regional source of capital for the energy industry has grown into a top 30 banking and financial services powerhouse across eight states in the American Midwest and Southwest.

In this session, The Statement’s Executive Editor Sue Hermann and Managing Editor Megan Ryan will detail how a small but mighty band of communications pros launched The Statement in March 2020–at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic–and have been going strong ever since.   Be sure to bring your questions. This is your chance to pick the brains of two brand journalists who will give it to you straight, warts and all.

2:30-3:10 p.m.

Let’s get cracking

There’s lots to do to get your brand journalism program up and running. But here’s one thing you can do from Day 1: Start telling better stories. This  session will speak to the techniques of writing and producing good stories. You’ll learn how to:

  • Creatively craft and tell the “same old” story
  • Shift your focus from writing for the organization to writing for your audience
  • Get the big stuff right: headlines, teasers and images to get readers’ attention and pull them in
  • Publish six kinds of brand journalism stories:
    • News
    • Access (Behind the curtain)
    • Analysis (Data and trends)
    • Culture (DE&I, ESG, human interest features)
    • Point of view
    • News of the weird

Exercise: Our news meeting: Pitch your own list of these stories.

3:10-3:30 p.m.

What’s next?

We’ll wrap up the workshop by taking your questions and talking about your next (or first) step toward brand journalism.

Megan Ryan, Sr. Strategic Content Manager, BOK Financial
Sue Hermann, Director of Corporate Communications, BOK Financial
Jim Ylisela, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Ragan Consulting Group



Co-Founder and Senior Partner
Ragan Consulting Group

Jim Ylisela is Co-founder and Senior Partner of Ragan Consulting Group. He is an award-winning veteran Chicago journalist and a former publisher of Ragan.com. He brings more than 30 years of experience in writing, editing, communications research and consulting. Ylisela has designed and organized newsrooms for many companies and organizations, including Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he served as a faculty member and co-director of Medill News Service from 1988 to 2001. He works with communicators to create brand journalism news sites, organize and train writers and editors and restore reporting (and creative storytelling) to internal and external communications.

Director of Corporate Communications
BOK Financial

Sue Hermann is director of corporate communications and content for BOK Financial and executive editor for The Statement. She has three decades of experience in corporation communications and public relations, and would gladly include a reference to St. Louis Cardinals baseball in everything she writes. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism at University of Missouri–Columbia and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Wright State University.

Sr. Strategic Content Manager
BOK Financial

Megan Ryan is a senior strategic content manager for BOK Financial. With a background in public relations and corporate communications in a variety of industries, Megan enjoys bringing company and employee stories to life. She is a graduate of Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Hospitality Management.


If you work in:

Internal communications • Employee engagement • Corporate communications • HR communications • Intranets • Culture

Join us for Brand Journalism: Take charge of your own story workshop.
Early Bird Rates
(until 09/10/21)
Regular Rates
Registration $500 $575
Ragan Insider Registration $400 $475
$350 $425

Phone registrations and group pricing: For group orders please contact our customer service team at 800-878-5331 or cservice@ragan.com