Goodbye ‘push marketing’. Brand journalism is on the rise

Hurrah! It was tipped as being an ‘emerging trend’ but finally…the marketing copywriter (he or she who is charge of content marketing), has an industry recognised title of ‘brand journalist’, according to analysts.

girlIt makes sense.  Journalists have always been accomplished at telling stories, but the direct relationship with customers through social formats and digital publishing tools has shifted the landscape.

Once covered by a company’s public relations (PR) or corporate communications team, content marketing through websites, social media, e-newsletters and events, and other channels, is becoming increasingly diverse, and growing in popularity.

A study released  by the Association for Data-Driven marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and US-based Content Market Institute showed Australian companies allocate 25 per cent of their total marketing budget to content marketing, and 61 per cent are planning to increased that amount over the next 12 months.

The most popular channels are articles on a company’s own website (88 per cent), followed by social media excluding blogs (83 per cent) and e-newsletters (82 per cent), with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn being the most popular social media channels.

Brand journalism is not traditional PR

The mix of feature stories and sponsored advertorial spin…(er, content) in publications has always created a strong divide between what is considered editorial integrity and professional compromise.

Today, the fragmentation of media has meant that brand marketers can distribute engaging content that is far more interesting to their audiences. Whether it is thought leadership content (which I define as offering new ideas) that educates, or perspective that informs, it involves capturing attention by being helpful, interesting, or entertaining rather than interrupting consumers with ‘me centric’ messages.

Brand journalism has been deemed a more credible – and accessible – way to tell a company’s story and disseminate information that is educational, and engaging.  But a word of warning for executives charged with hiring – brand journalism is not simply a re-badge of the traditional public relations (PR) profession.

Brand journalism can foster a greater connection between journalists, consumers and marketers, but it can only achieve this if it takes advantage of the diversity of voices and styles within the organisation.

This means it shouldn’t be produced only for the board or the shareholders; and it shouldn’t be blatant marketing.  It is about helping the organisation to achieve competitive advantage by cultivating relationships, delivering value and remaining relevant to customers.

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