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.
- Predict the score contest. The paper sponsored a contest inviting readers to predict the score of the game for a chance to win a gift certificate to a local and well-known pizza eatery.
- Multimedia of the weekend. They captured photos and videos throughout the entire weekend, starting with their long car drive to Atlanta. They snapped photos and videos of the SEC press conference, tailgates, fans and of course, the players before, during and after the game. The even created a gallery of fan photos on Facebook and encouraged people to tag themselves in the photos and used Storify to highlight some of their favorites.
— Ashley Colley (@ashleycolley) December 7, 2013
- Full reporting. Of course, the team also had full coverage of the weekend on the newspaper website – covering multiple angles of the weekend. The articles covered everything from the treacherous road conditions and a stranded bus of students to player profiles and a look at the upcoming game.
— Missourian Sports (@CoMoSports) December 5, 2013
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.
- Go behind the scenes. Journalists often have access to people and places that others don’t. Think about how you can give your audience insider access. A great example of this is McDonald’s Canada creating a behind-the-scenes video of a burger photo shoot to answer a question about why burgers look different in ads than in their stores.
- 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.
- Use multimedia. Journalism isn’t just about writing. It includes photos, audio and video too. How can you create content that goes across multiple mediums and platforms? Not only does this make your content more interesting, but it gives your audience multiple ways to connect.
- 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