Brand journalism is about sharing, not selling

Brand journalism is content written by a company but is not necessarily about the company or its products.

Think about all the how-to articles and recipes you find on the web. In almost all of them the focus is on the project or the recipe, and it’s only toward the end that you may discover the content was produced by a company that sells the products needed to create the project or recipe.

DixieAn example is Dixie, which launched a Dark for Dinner campaign. The social movement started June 14 and lasts for six weeks. Each Sunday families are encouraged to focus on the present and to “Be More Here.” Dixie products are shown but not discussed in the commercials.

Brand journalism is stories and custom content such as videos, blogs and infographics. It is timely, relevant and authentic. It is not a press release or a commercial.

Karen Corrigan, CEO of Corrigan Partners, a healthcare consultancy, says that brand journalism is the new marketing imperative. Most consumers today search websites, blogs and ratings before making a purchase. “Brands need to share, not sell,” she told communicators at a meeting of Virginia Professional Communicators.

Today’s consumers trust bloggers, reviews and social communities over what a brand might say about itself. “In the old days it was about controlling the message,” Corrigan said. “Today it is about influencing the message.”

To succeed at brand journalism, one must think like a publisher, Corrigan said. It’s important to recognize that every brand has a digital audience and to understand that audience. Content should be shared across multiple platforms, and the brand must engage with multiple audiences.

Are you using brand journalism or are you still selling?