The marketing world constantly evolves and new strategies and tactics are developing to help companies stand out in a crowded marketplace. One of the latest trends in the industry is the rise of brand journalism. It is a strategy that combines the best practices of journalism and marketing to create high-quality content that informs, educates, and entertains an audience. In this article, we will explore what brand journalism is, how it differs from content marketing, and why understanding the distinction is essential. We will also highlight some statistics and inspiring examples of brand journalism.
Defining Brand Journalism
Brand journalism is a marketing strategy that involves creating high-quality content designed to inform, educate, or entertain an audience without explicitly promoting a brand.
It is an extension of content marketing, but it goes one step further by using journalism techniques to create engaging, trustworthy, and credible content.
According to David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” “Brand journalism is a way to tell stories about your brand without relying on traditional media outlets.” This means that companies can use brand journalism to create their newsroom, complete with professional journalists who can produce newsworthy, relevant, and informative content.
Defining Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic approach that involves creating and distributing valuable content designed to attract and retain a clearly defined audience to drive profitable customer action.
The content can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, e-books, and more. However, the primary focus of content marketing is to deliver relevant and useful information that helps the audience solve a problem or achieve a goal, rather than simply promoting a product or service.
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” This definition highlights the fact that content marketing is not a one-time campaign but an ongoing process that requires a long-term commitment to building an audience and delivering value.
Brand Journalism vs. Content Marketing: A Comparative Analysis
While brand journalism and content marketing share many similarities, they are not the same thing. The main difference between the two lies in their purpose and approach.
Brand journalism is about telling relevant and newsworthy stories, while content marketing is about providing valuable information that helps the audience solve a problem or achieve a goal. Brand journalism focuses on producing high-quality content that is credible, trustworthy, and engaging, while content marketing aims to create content that is useful, relevant, and consistent.
One key feature of brand journalism is its use of journalistic techniques, such as reporting, research, and storytelling, to create more engaging and credible content. Brand journalists are trained professionals who know how to find and tell a compelling story, whether about a new product launch, a customer success story, or an industry trend. They know how to interview sources, gather data, and present the information in a way that is informative, objective, and balanced.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is more focused on creating content that is optimized for search engines and social media. While it also aims to be informative and engaging, it does not necessarily require the same level of journalistic skill and expertise. Instead, content marketers focus on identifying the target audience, understanding their needs and interests, and creating content that speaks to them.
Why Understanding the Difference is Important?
Knowing the distinction between brand journalism and content marketing is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps companies determine which approach is best suited for their needs and goals. For example, if a company wants to establish itself as a thought leader in its industry, it may choose to invest in brand journalism, which can help it create high-quality content that positions it as an expert in its field. On the other hand, if a company wants to generate leads and drive conversions, it may opt for content marketing, which can help it create content that speaks directly to its target audience.
Secondly, understanding the difference between the two can help companies avoid common pitfalls that can undermine the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. For example, if a company focuses too much on promoting its brand through its content, it can come across as insincere or self-serving, which can erode trust and credibility. Similarly, if a company neglects to provide valuable information to its audience, it may fail to capture their attention and lose them to competitors.
Statistics that Highlight the Impact of Brand Journalism
Brand journalism has been shown to have a significant impact on the success of marketing efforts. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, companies that use brand journalism are three times more likely to see a positive return on investment (ROI) than those that don’t. Additionally, companies that use brand journalism are more likely to have a documented content marketing strategy, which has been shown to lead to higher levels of success.
Another statistic that demonstrates the impact of brand journalism is the fact that companies that use brand journalism are more likely to have a documented content marketing strategy. Content Marketing Institute also adds that 60% of companies that use brand journalism have a documented content marketing strategy, compared to only 35% of companies that do not use brand journalism. This statistic suggests that companies that use brand journalism are more likely to have a well-defined marketing strategy, which can lead to higher levels of success and effectiveness in their marketing efforts.
Lastly, a study by the Custom Content Council found that 90% of consumers prefer custom content over traditional advertising, and 78% of consumers believe that organizations that produce custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
These conclusions highlight the significant impact that brand journalism can have on the success of marketing efforts. It presents a clear message that brand journalism is a powerful tool for companies looking to connect with their audiences on a deeper level and build trust and credibility. As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, brand journalism is likely to become an increasingly important part of the marketing toolkit for companies looking to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Inspiring Examples of Brand Journalism
There are many inspiring examples of brand journalism in action. Here are a few that stand out:
- The Red Bulletin – The Red Bulletin is a sports and lifestyle magazine published by the energy drink company, Red Bull. The magazine covers a wide range of topics, from extreme sports to music, art, and culture, and is produced by a team of professional journalists. By creating content that is relevant and engaging to its target audience, Red Bull has been able to build a loyal following and establish itself as a lifestyle brand.
- Adobe CMO – Adobe, the software company, has a blog called Adobe CMO that is dedicated to marketing insights and best practices. The blog features content from a range of marketing experts, including Adobe’s own Chief Marketing Officer, and covers topics such as branding, social media, and content marketing. By creating content that is informative and useful to its audience, Adobe has been able to establish itself as a thought leader in the marketing industry.
- IBM THINK – IBM, the technology company, has a content hub called IBM THINK that is dedicated to innovation and thought leadership. The hub features articles, videos, and podcasts that cover topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing. By creating content that is cutting-edge and informative, IBM has been able to build a reputation as a leader in the technology industry.
In conclusion, the emergence of brand journalism has blurred the lines between traditional journalism and marketing. Companies can now create their newsrooms, complete with professional journalists who can produce content that is newsworthy, relevant, and informative. By doing so, they can become their publishers, creating content that is distributed across their channels, such as websites, blogs, social media platforms, and newsletters. While brand journalism and content marketing share many similarities, the differences between the two lie in their purpose and approach. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for companies looking to create an effective marketing strategy that delivers the right message to the right audience.
The statistics highlighted in this article demonstrate the impact of brand journalism and its effectiveness in reaching audiences, building trust and credibility, and ultimately driving higher levels of engagement, loyalty, and revenue. By using the techniques of journalism to create high-quality content, companies can connect with their audience on a deeper level and succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace. As the world of marketing continues to evolve, it is clear that brand journalism will play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of marketing and communications.