As public relations professionals, we know that storytelling is a powerful way to connect with our audiences. Brand journalism is, in essence, a type of storytelling with the goal of gaining your audience’s trust by publishing content that is credible and informative.
At its most basic, a corporate blog is a form of brand journalism. Instead of writing a press release, a company might write a blog post and share the content on its social channels. However, brand journalism goes beyond blogging about company news.
But before you make your foray into brand journalism, you need a plan.
Step 1: Define your goals.
Why do you want to begin creating content? Organizations are creating content to build brand awareness, educate the media on industry topics, gain media exposure, position themselves as thought leaders, and generate leads. What is the goal for your organization? When setting your goals, be sure they are SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound. Consider how these goals are aligned with your organization’s business goals.
Step 2: Identify target audiences.
Like traditional journalists consider their readers when developing content, brand journalists must consider their target audiences, or buyer personas. Knowing your audience will allow you to produce more relevant and valuable content.
Buyer personas are generalized representations of your ideal customers. They help you understand your audiences better, and help you tailor content to their specific needs, behaviors, and issues. Creating comprehensive personas is an involved process that’s based on market research and insights from your actual customers through surveys and interviews.
Step 3: Decide on types of content.
The types of content you create will depend on your goals. If your aim is to build brand awareness, then you will likely publish stories you want people to know about your organization and articles that might get picked up by other industry blogs and media outlets. If your goal is lead generation, all of your content should include calls-to-action for offers that are put behind registration gates. The offers generate leads, which are passed to sales.
There are also different content formats to consider in addition to a company blog, like ebooks, newsletters, podcasts, SlideShare presentations, and videos. When you create your editorial calendar, remember all your content doesn’t have to come in article form. You can publish quizzes, interviews, tutorials, tool reviews, infographics and so much more. Building the editorial calendar is the time to get creative.
Step 4: Put a content management system in place.
Brand journalism requires you to know how you will organize and manage the content you create. You need to develop an editorial calendar that identifies the topic, content details, keywords, target personas, and the offer or call to action, if your goal is lead generation, for each piece you publish.
Additionally, you need to determine the metrics you will use to measure the success of individual pieces of content as well as your broader campaigns.
It seems like a lot to consider, but we are here to help! Let us help take you through the process of becoming a brand journalist for your organization, defining your goals, creating audience personas, building a content plan and developing your editorial calendar. Give us a call, or fill out our contact form, and give us some more information about your specific needs.