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3 Questions to Ask Before Diving Into Brand Journalism

Do the marketing tools and tactics you use actually keep your brand top of mind?

It may be time to say out with the old (traditional TV advertising) and in with the new (brand journalism).

Want proof? Brand journalism is found to be 92 percent more effective at increasing awareness and 168 percent more powerful when it comes to driving consumers to the buy button.

To help you implement this effective tactic, we’ve outlined three key questions to ask before you switch to a journalism mindset and set up your brand’s own news hub:

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1. Why Are You Writing?

A brand journalism program, like any marketing strategy, must include goals, metrics and outlined measurement tactics. Without defined outcomes to aim for, you won’t be able to prove your articles’ success; and without data to defend your content’s performance,  your news hub could be quickly called to the budget chopping block.

Take these goals and combine them with your brand’s overall mission to develop a specific editorial mission statement for your news hub. Think about the values that already guide your brand, how your standards will keep your brand on track as well as what will keep your writers motivated and inspired along the way.

Ensure all departments are aware of your brand journalism vision, especially if you plan on collaborating with them on content development. You could also publish your editorial mission statement on your news hub to make readers aware of what you aim to do.

2. For Whom Are You Writing?

To succeed in brand journalism, or any writing endeavor for that matter, you must know and understand your audience. Editors and writers should take advantage of their brand’s social listening tools to see what industry concerns, topics and questions are surfacing most frequently.

If you’re able to pinpoint your target audience’s main pain points, you’ll have a better grasp on how to grab their attention and gradually point them to the solution: your brand.

Readers often proclaim loyalty to a particular news outlet due to a reporter’s writing style, the publication’s frequency or choice in covered topics. Check out other websites, news hubs or media outlets to learn from their examples and see what they do to keep people coming back.

3. What Are You Writing?

Evergreen-Content

Brand journalism is often confused with content marketing, but there are a few differences between the two, including what type of content you write.

Readers who turn to brand newsrooms want to be in the know before their competitors. Focus on breaking news and emerging trends, and visitors to your news hub will not only come back for more, but also identify your brand as the industry leader.

Ensure your journalists keep a neutral tone when writing content for your brand. Brand journalism is all about guiding readers towards the sales funnel, not force feeding product descriptions, competitors’ weaknesses or current offerings.

Finally, don’t jump ship just because one story didn’t perform as well as others. Instead, recycle and reuse the key takeaways in another format. Current events could make for great examples in evergreen content, like white papers or tip sheets, down the line.

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Images: Joe Shlabotnikrzepak (Creative Commons)

About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.

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