Want to be a Better Content Marketer? Think Like a Journalist

This past weekend, my husband and I traveled to Atlanta to watch Mizzou take on Auburn for the SEC Championship.

A few days prior to the game, I received an email from the Missouri Journalism School. The journalism students were offering full coverage of the game and offered up at least a dozen ways for people to follow along with the action.

Whether you were heading to the game or following along from a distance, this gave fans a phenomenal way to stay connected to the team and be engaged in the action.

Multimedia Journalism Coverage

Although the game didn’t end up as I had hoped, the coverage from the students was great.

Here were some of the highlights:

  • Social Football page. The journalism students encouraged use of the #MIZ2ATL hashtag throughout social media sites and then used RebelMouse to curate posts on the newspaper website.

Missourian Social Football page


 

The Power of Brand Journalism

I know what you’re thinking – what does all of this have to do with your business?

More than you think.

In today’s world, you don’t necessarily have to rely on traditional media to get the word out about your brand. In fact, as traditional media continues to decline, brands have the opportunity to fill the void.

Your prospects, customers and fans are looking for information. You can be the hero by providing it to them.

We’ve been talking about content marketing for awhile now. But brand journalism takes the concept one step further. Instead of merely providing informative content to educate potential buyers, brand journalism is more like becoming a media company or trade publication.

The companies that are doing brand journalism extremely well aren’t just throwing a blog on their website. They are creating an entirely new destination for readers that looks less like a corporate website and more like a news magazine. This gives companies the opportunity to be the go-to resource in their industry.

How to Think Like a Journalist

However, for this concept to work well, you can’t just provide non-stop promotional information about your company. Instead, you need to become more like media publisher and think like a journalist.

If we look at the Mizzou students as an example, we can easily see some ways to do just that:

  • Be curious and ask questions. If you were new to your industry, what would you want to know? What are the burning questions that are not getting answered? What are the angles that are not getting covered? Think like an investigator and work to answer those questions. Or, better yet, get your audience to weigh in on their biggest questions.
  • Tell great stories. People love a great story. What stories can you tell about your brand? Uncover interesting stories about your customers or employees. Find shining stars in your industry and highlight them. We often bemoan that the news has become so negative – you can help change that by sharing the good things you see every day.
  • Be unbiased. Although the temptation may be to turn your content marketing efforts into a giant press release, that reads more like advertising than journalism. People can sniff out advertising messages a mile away. Readers will be much more likely to trust content that is unbiased and presents both sides of a story.
  • Involve the audience. Journalism is no longer a one-way street. Encourage reader participation through social media channels, article comments, surveys and contests. It’s a great way to learn more about your readers and get additional content ideas.
  • Become an expert curator. As the student journalism team displayed, sometimes the best stories and ideas can come from your audience. Learn how to find what your audience is talking about and even give them credit for their photos, tweets and ideas. 

Have you seen any great examples of brand journalism? How could you use this concept at your company?

Image credit: graur codrin – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.

  • http://twitter.com/HowieGoldfarb HowieG

    These are great tips Laura. I ask clients all the time for content and they refuse to understand how much more powerful it is coming from them. People would rather see you baking cookies and read about you as a baker, than curated cookie and cookie baking related content from elsewhere.

    What is very similar is you prefer reading journalistic content from a publication than seeing a blurb and a link on their site to somewhere else written by someone else. And I think businesses mistake business transparency with human transparency. We have no idea if the business owner gives money to PETA or to the Tea Party. That is business transparency each has to decide based on what it is and their customer base. But human transparency seeing the work being done, the personalities, etc. Just like the Sports Star photo op at a charity event businesses can do the same within their daily operations. And publish!

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      Curated content CAN work, but if that’s all you do, it’s going to do little good. You’re right – businesses need to learn how to create their own content so their audience can connect with the business on a more personal level. It takes some time to figure it out, but once companies get the hang of it, it can be very powerful!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Howie!

  • http://www.swordandthescript.com/ Frank Strong

    Never pitch a product, always pitch a story!

    • http://flybluekite.com/ Laura Click

      Yes!!!

  • http://www.callbox.com.my/ Dara Lin

    Being content marketer is not a joke thing because everybody would have to make sure everything that they are showing to the public is accurate. However there are times drained mind comes to content marketer and better thing’s to do is to be aware on companies happening and changes and having news junkie attitude. Curation is a big help too.

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