5 Ways Brand Journalism Will Drive Your Social Media Strategy
There is plenty of chatter about brand journalism these days. If this is the first time you’re hearing the term, listen up because you’re about to hear it a whole lot more. Big names are already capitalizing and practicing this new style of content marketing, often so effectively you may not have even noticed.
Done well brand journalism leverages social media to build influence, improve search results and spread ideas and excitement about a particular industry. At its most basic level, brand journalism involves storytelling that invites audiences to participate through digital and social media channels.
Essentially brand journalism is the practice of covering your business and your industry like a reporter. It also means transforming your marketing department (even if that’s only you!) into a publishing team that can produce content for readers and reporters.
The future belongs to businesses that become media. The key to your success is producing and hosting unique content designed to engage and attract a new audience. And how you leverage social media to drive this new style of journalism can mean the difference between success and failure.
Below are five tips on how to get started.
#1 This Isn’t Your Boss’ PR Program
For decades consumers have been bombarded with very “me” oriented messaging: My product, my service, my company, my plan. In order to thrive in the evolving digital landscape, you must get out of the “me” business so popular and common in public relations efforts. Instead, become a storyteller to attract, engage, entertain and inform your targeted audience.
Produce great content – articles, videos, infographics – and they’ll come to you.
This storytelling process is a fantastic inbound public relations approach that will pull consumers, competitors and media towards your business’s content hubs – company website, blog and important social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
For example, wireless telecom-giant Qualcomm is leading the charge in brand journalism and its efforts are often followed with savvy social media strategies designed to pull in a larger audience.
They understand it’s not all about the “me” approach.
The company’s publication, QualcommSpark, often focuses on cool and interesting gadgets and games which their products “touch”, and it rarely speaks directly about any chipsets or processors they may have created for use in these platforms (see below). It’s about creating interest around subjects they are involved in.
While there aren’t many of us with the financial resources of Qualcomm, remember many people once also thought blogging was the prevue of the big players. If you follow Qualcomm’s storytelling lead and learn how to talk about your company without actually talking about it (or at least not talking about it too much), you’ll attract an audience you’d never reach with old-style press releases.
- Start small with one or two posts a week about things that interest people in your industry.
- Hone your storytelling efforts by requesting feedback (put a comment section at the bottom).
- Share your story using social media channels (Twitter, Pinterest, Google+) to pull your audience toward you. Add social buttons on each content page to make it easier for readers to share.
- Develop interesting content that will encourage readers to make an effort to learn more about you and your business.
#2 You Are the Media Now – Start Acting Like it!
Now that you’ve decided to become a storyteller in your space, you’re better off thinking like a newsperson.
“You are now the editor of an online publication dedicated to following news and trends in your industry.”
The first step in this phase involves listening: learn the questions and concerns of your target audience. Instead of relying on “push” communications, such as e-mail marketing, direct mail and advertising, content is moving toward “pull” – pulling people to your business as opposed to pushing out information – which is a better long-term strategy.
“Our goal is to lead the conversation, to spark engagement, to identify trends relevant to our business and the industry,” Karen Snell, social media communications manager at Cisco, wrote on her blog recently.
Cisco Systems recently launched The Network, a technology news website tied very closely with its social media engagement program.