Great PR is about educating and informing

January is an interesting month. People are setting goals in both their personal and professional lives. It’s a time of new beginnings, of focusing (or refocusing), of excitement and hope. We’re no different here at AHA. We took some time over the holiday season to set our goals and to outline what we want to achieve, experience and create in 2012.

One of my professional goals is to work with more clients who realize that great PR is about building relationships, about educating and informing, and about engaging with your target market or stakeholder group. Social media has made a huge impact on public relations. There are many avenues for great PR and they include traditional approaches and new media. One of the areas I am excited about is in the area of brand journalism. Brand journalism allows organizations to create interesting, useful pieces – video, articles, Q&As and more – that share relevant information that is of value to the stakeholder group.

We recently worked with a client who was concerned that if they took a brand journalism approach it would mean that their objectives would be left behind – that they would be putting budget towards something that doesn’t have measurable results. Their CEO was committed to creating a different avenue to communicate directly with stakeholders (who were consumers). They were surprised (and relieved) when we explained that not only can (and should) a brand journalism approach support the organization’s objectives, but also that response and reaction can be measured.

Brand journalism is about telling your organization’s story in an interesting and compelling manner. When we start a brand journalism project, we work with our clients to define their objectives and goals, we research and develop interesting (and authentic and true) story angles, and we define how the story should be told – articles, video, podcasts, town hall meetings, online live question and answer sessions, etc. – by understanding who the target audience is and what they want. In order to measure, we need to clearly understand what the goals and objectives are and we need to know the current status – where are you now and where do you want to go?

Brand journalism is an editorial approach to telling your organization’s story in a credible and interesting way. Think about a segment you might see on the morning news and how it shows more than just the sales pitch for an event, a product or a service. It talks about trends, about why something is becoming popular or important, and it focuses on why it matters to the audience. It focuses on the human interest component – the heart and soul. It’s about people, the experience and about providing some type of information that is of value to you. That’s what a good brand journalism piece or campaign should be – what it should do is make the person reading or watching feel like their time was well-spent, that they learned something, and that they have a new or different perspective. They should never feel like they are being sold.

Here’s to a fun, challenging and successful 2012 – filled with great and authentic stories and clients!

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  1. From my perspective, brand journalism is the essence of the new public relations that David Meerman Scott has written so much about. It’s all about creating compelling stories that connect a company’s communications program to their business goals.
    Yes, am indeed looking forward to a 2012 filled with great authentic stories!

  2. Ruth Atherley

    Thanks for commenting, Randy. David Meerman Scott is a favourite around the AHA office. I really believe that we are currently in a golden era for public relations — there is so much opportunity to help organizations to authentically connect (and to support their business objectives — it’s awe inspiring. Nothing makes us happier than when a client is open to a brand journalism approach. It’s so much more interesting, it provides great value for their budgets and it allows us to generate excellent results for them. Here’s to 2012 – The Year of Brand Journalism!

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