I recently read an article about a new brand journalism site being produced by the U.S.-based organization Duke Energy, via an article on Ragan.com by Paul Working.
This site is a great example of brand journalism. According to the news release, this is an online destination for stories about remarkable people, innovations and community and environmental issues. And there are some solid, well-written articles that are examples of brand journalism best practices on this site. There is one on Duke Energy’s environmental director who is a national leader in devising ways to prevent wind turbines from accidentally killing bats. There is another about a North Carolina (where Duke is based) couple that is on a crusade to preserve the memories of a now-vanished 1940s village that sprang up beside a power plant. The site even has a piece entitled: “6 ways to improve your love life” – in relation to saving energy around the home.
Duke Energy has created a well-produced online destination for the average person who is interested in this subject matter – and I would expect that schools will find this site of value too. The news release outlines that media outlets are welcome to republish, with attribution, any content on this site – including stories, photos, videos and infographics. The company also hosts a multimedia news centre for journalists too.
Brand journalism provides an opportunity for you to inform your stakeholder groups. Over the long term, it will help you to build more authentic relationships. Not every organization has the resources for a site like the one Duke Energy has launched, but there are things you can do to shift to an approach that includes brand journalism.
- Think about developing an article for your e-newsletter or website that is less promotional and more editorial in style.
- Review your current communications vehicles to see if there is an opportunity to include short video segments and interviews – not just of your senior team, but also of individuals throughout your organization.
- Ask yourself what the toughest questions you might get from a journalist are and how you would answer them. Take a look at how you provide this information in a compelling, engaging and informative way that educates your audience and positions your organization as a thought leader.