Brand Journalism





At a recent client brainstorming meeting about brand journalism and how we could better tell the story of the organization, there was a senior staff member that was clearly not engaged in the process. For the purpose of this blog post, we’ll call her VP Skeptical. She sat back with her arms folded, checked her BlackBerry every minute or so, and in pure Survivor Tribal Council fashion – rolled her eyes when someone else said something that she didn’t agree with. Yet VP Skeptical didn’t speak up. So I asked her what she felt was the best story they could tell. Her response was interesting. She said (with a little bit of sarcasm in her voice): “I just don’t see the value in any of this. Why can’t we just buy an ad?”



That was an interesting comment and one I felt we had to address. As communicators, we often see the value and rationale for telling an organization’s story through a range of approaches such as media relations, videos, articles, etc. Not everyone’s brain works that way and it’s important to engage in discussion around this.



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HSBC has developed an online editorial style website that uses brand journalism. There are differing opinions on the value and benefit of the site. I have to say we lean towards the side that says this is a great site. I think it can be easy to criticize without taking into context that it is brand journalism – not journalism. While the stories should be credible, balanced, multi-faceted and provide value, it is still a brand that is responsible for creating this content.

Step by step, we are moving into a more credible approach to sharing the stories of our organizations.

This article is worth a read and the site is worth a visit.

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Ragan’s PR Daily has a really good blog post on brand journalism. Here is a snippet from Shel Holtz’s piece, who we saw present at a Ragan social media conference two years ago.

“Marketing is what companies do to promote and sell products or services. Organizations produce plenty of it. Brand journalism, though, is different. This is content that could be inspiring, clarifying, funny, useful, or just plain interesting. Because it has these characteristics, people will want to link to it, share it, and talk about it precisely because it’s not trying to pitch something. As soon as it begins to smack of The Pitch, it loses its appeal.”

Click here to read more. Shel “gets” it!

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We’ve been talking a great deal about the power of video lately. At AHA, we believe that video can be a valuable tool to help tell an organization’s story – but it is just one component. In Wednesday’s blog post, I am going to talk about other tools that are important when it comes to telling your organization’s story.



For today, I want to focus a little bit on how we, at AHA, approach public relations using video. Prior to opening our PR agency, I worked for both a larger PR agency and in-house as a director of communications and had many opportunities to work with videographers. One of the challenges that I often found was that the videographer showed up on the day of the shoot and asked: “What am I shooting?” It felt disconnected to me.



(Please visit our blog to read the rest of the post.)

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