What Journalism can teach Brand Journalism
September 9, 2013
September 9, 2013
By Solomon McCown Vice President T.J. Winick I was a broadcast journalist for almost two decades. What I loved most about my job was crafting a story: Looking for the great “character” to help tell my tale, finding a way to use the best visuals up front, and constructing a narrative that was thoughtful yet flowed effortlessly. Now I get to indulge that passion for storytelling in brand journalism: the ability of business (and those working on its behalf) to tell its own story. It’s been said every company is now a media company: capable of churning out original content, cutting out the media “middleman” and connecting with its audience. Sure, there are obvious differences between journalism (in its purest form) and brand journalism. But there are plenty of similarities as well. So, for the brand journalist, here are five things to remember about great story-telling: 1. Connect on an emotional level. Earned media, like advertising, is more effective when you don't just speak to your audience, but when you touch their heart or make them laugh. Even a single photo can do the trick: The picture of the President and First Lady locked in an embrace is the most retweeted picture in history. When the campaign could have gone with a more generic celebratory image, this was an inspired choice. 2. Use the power of video to your advantage. Sometimes images alone can be more powerful than a story told in words or through sound. As for short-form video, it remains to be seen how effective apps like Snapchat and Vine are as tools for delivering information or marketing a brand. Even so, companies like Microsoft are jumping in. 3. Always think of new ways to tell a story. Thanks to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, journalists and brand journalists are breaking news and telling stories in new and dynamic formats. The Hire Rabbit blog highlighted, for instance, how brands like Nokia and McDonalds have used the timeline tool on Facebook to share the colorful history of their respective companies. 4. Give them someone to identify with. Your audience doesn’t necessarily want to hear from a CEO, but they probably won't mind hearing from an individual whose business was enhanced–or life was changed for the better–by a product or service. Probably my favorite example is this short film about how IBM is helping the aging population in Bolzano, Italy. 5. Capture the viewer’s imagination. When thinking about a storyline, the question shouldn’t be “What is your business and what does it do?” Instead, it should be “What does your business make POSSIBLE?” On September 5th, Southwest Airlines posted a video (on their own Brand Journalism site) about its “Rapid Rewards program.” While you don’t get a whole lotta details about the program, you do get plenty of video of a loving couple living it up and traveling around the world.