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Brand journalism: Four tips for covering your company’s beat

By Mikela Dennison

In this post, we will look at four tips for businesses to follow when creating original, interesting stories about your brand and team.

1. We are shifting towards original content creation

Gone are the days when a company only communicates when it has to; the latest communication tool that is sweeping businesses across the globe is brand journalism.

Just what is brand journalism you might ask?

Brand journalism is when a company creates original content and shares it on its website, across social media channels, and in corporate communications like magazines and newsletters.

At its heart, brand journalism is telling stories about your brand and the world around it, in an interesting, news-style manner.

PR Daily has the latest stats on the power of content creation and brand journalism, which helps to set the stage for the growing importance of telling your brand's stories. The statistics show that a whopping 80% of business decision-makers would rather get company information in a series of articles than in an advertisement.

Even more appealing, research shows that content marketing as opposed to traditional outbound marketing costs 62% less – if that doesn't present a compelling business case to your CEO then what will?

2. So what is the appeal?

The benefits of doing brand journalism are numerous:

- It places your business at the centre of the conversation because you are adding value through original content and an insider's view of your industry

- It means your business is likely to be more active online, as this is the primary publishing platform of brand journalism

- Being more active means more people will be exposed to your brand as your content appears in different search engines and social media channels.

If thought-leadership is one of your organisational goals, what better way to lead conversation and stimulate discussion than to publish timely, interesting and well-informed stories that position you and your company as the source of expert opinions and commentary?

3. What is holding you back - and what are the solutions?

A common drawback that can put people off adopting the brand journalism approach to business communications is the amount of time it takes to create original content and the concern that your business has 'nothing interesting to say'.

Let's put some of those concerns to rest, because creating content doesn't have to take a lot of time.

If you use streamlined, efficient processes and spread the work across the team, it means the load is shared and a more diverse range of opinions are offered to your audience.

If one person is doing the lion's share of the content creation, it can be helpful to create an editorial calendar so there is an outline and timeframe for ideas and content.

A great way to encourage your senior team to be involved is to capture their ideas with short voice recordings that can be transcribed and mined for content at a later date – an efficient time saver and also a good way to capture ideas of the team without spending excessive amounts of time brainstorming ideas and writing it up from scratch.

4. How can you get started?

You can start your brand journalism programme by treating team meetings like news meetings; ask around and see what your business is doing that is new and different and interesting:

- What is happening in the industry? Are there any big issues brewing?

- Are there any relevant events coming up or helpful resources you have found?

- Can you create a top tips list for your audience that will be short, accessible and helpful?

These are all ways to create original content that will be of interest to current and prospective clients and the more you treat your business team like a news team, the easier you will find it to create new and exciting stories that your audience will enjoy reading.

Here is a short article detailing the essential components of brand journalism, which will add to your understanding of this emerging form of corporate communication.

Check out some examples of companies doing brand journalism well

HSBC Business without Borders, Survey Monkey and Mail Chimp are all great examples of companies who are leading the way with their brand journalism efforts.

Business without Borders is a prime example of how HSBC offers interesting and relevant stories to its audience, not by constantly talking about its financial services but rather, by telling stories and offering advice that its audience is interested in hearing about.

If you are keen to explore brand journalism as an effective way to communicate with your clients and potential clients, we would be happy to talk you through some ideas and options for maximising your messages in this exciting space.