Things that are NOT Brand Journalism


My name is Ike Pigott, and you arrived here because someone you know passed along a link from a presentation I made. (If you are reading this Friday morning, June 21, 2013 – then I might still be speaking. How cool is that?)

My session on Brand Journalism was part of the Vocus PR Demand Success conference in Washington, DC.

You got here from one of these tweets:

“Brand Journalism isn’t puffery, isn’t tweaked releases, and isn’t easy.” @ikepigott #Demand13

“Brand Journalism is NOT Content Marketing. No funnels, no campaigns.” @ikepigott #Demand13

The traditional Public Relations function has always been about people and relationships, but mass media tools have stripped away much of the personal interaction. As a result, it’s natural to gravitate toward “vanilla” descriptions and over-blown adjectives. The more homogenized the message, the less it means.

Brand Journalism strikes a different tone. It’s not one of empty marketing claims, and should not be considered one-size-fits-all. This requires a level of creativity that we typically avoided in the past, because it’s not easy to do consistently well.

The phrase “content marketing” has become the hot ticket because of Search Engine optimization. “Content is King,” we hear. Customers will be fanatically loyal to you and love you if you just give them the content they crave!

However, when there is a glut of content, that just creates more noise.

The big difference between Content Marketing and Brand Journalism has to do with the end result. Most of your Content Marketing efforts eventually get tied down to a bottom line. “What are you selling, exactly?” In the case of Brand Journalism, you’re using storytelling techniques to humanize your organization. There is no “funnel” to pushing people toward a product. Not that funnels aren’t important, but if you are counting on a series of posts on your online newsroom to goose the sales of your widgets by 22%, then you aren’t really doing Brand Journalism.

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