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Coke Revamps Web Site to Tell Its Story

Coke Revamps Web Site to Tell Its Story | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
The venerable beverage company is repositioning its Web site as a consumer magazine called Coca-Cola Journey.
Paige Lowe's insight:

                Coca-Cola has now joined the league of brand-journalism companies with their new website Coca-Cola Journey, after the employee magazine Journey that ran from 1987-1997. The re-launch of their corporate website takes the format of an online magazine with articles discussing entertainment, the environment, health and sports, along with features on interviews, opinion columns, video and audio clips, photo galleries and blogs. With 1.2 million unique viewers a month, this new and improved consumer-focused site is projected to increase traffic to help spread the Coca-Cola story.

            Marketers everywhere are focusing in on storytelling as a strategy rather than the more classic tactic of advertising. The idea is to create real and unique content that is universally accessible on any form of technology through their “liquid and linked” plan.  For the last year, Coca-Cola’s on-campus digital communications and social media team has been reshaped and organized into an editorial team, production schedule and all. 40 freelance writers and photographers are creating original content alongside employees throughout Coca-Cola. However, there is emphasis on the information being subjective material. The articles on Coca-Cola Stories should shine a positive light on the brands, products and interests of the Coca-Cola Company while also working to be a credible source. In the future, the site should play host to columns that represent ideas that do not necessarily reflect Coca-Cola. But, by allowing a variety of opinions to be expressed on Coca-Cola Stories, the company works to increase their perceived credibility.

            The tactics that Coca-Cola used to develop their new online strategy is perfectly reflective of Jeremy Porter’s article: “The two emerging media-relations skills ever PR pro needs”. “Smile and Dial is Dead”; with the plummeting number of available journalists to publish information on your company or organization, In-bound Media Relations is the way to go (Porter, 2013). When journalists are out of your reach, get them to reach out to you. Coca-Cola took the initiative on their story and wrote it themselves (Porter, 2013). In order to receive sufficient media attention, Coca-Cola kept up with their content, and realized the importance of being perceived as a credible source, making them relevant to their publics (Porter, 2013). Their online strategy intends to publish user-content helping their team to realize what is important to their publics and adapting accordingly (Porter, 2013). And because of their preexisting, and incredibly extensive, global reach as a company, they can continue to adapt Coca-Cola stories to their publics’ wants and needs and build their audience (Porter, 2013).

 

Porter, Jeremy. (2013). The two emerging media-relations skills every PR pro needs.

PRDaily. http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/13938.aspx. ;

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Hospital network's brand journalism site attracts media, patients and employees | Articles | Main

Hospital network's brand journalism site attracts media, patients and employees | Articles | Main | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Hoping to grab attention in a distracted world, Advocate Health Care launches a website structured like a media outlet.
Paige Lowe's insight:

                Advocate Health Care provides in-home services to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the Chicago area. So rough, in fact, that home health nurse, Atundra Horne, is provided with an armed escort while visiting patients. Her story could be the perfect pitch, but instead of hunting down journalist after journalist to get her story published, she has done it herself and posted her article on Health enews, the new brand journalism site for Advocate. That was where she pointed Stephanie Smith, an enthralled CNN producer who will be writing a rendition for CNN.com.

                Health enews has quickly become the leading market for brand journalism campaigns because of their unlimited access to rich, dramatic, life-saving stories regarding relevant health issues people care about.

                More importantly, brand journalism gives reporters a reliable and factually accurate source on issues that are interesting and newsworthy to their target publics. Since Advocate is located in the suburbs of Chicago, they are often over-looked by the media who tend to focus on the larger hospitals located downtown. Their new brand journalism campaign is bringing them to the forefront, allowing them to be noticed and taken seriously in a competitive market by reaching out to both health consumers and the media.

                Along with increased media attention, the articles published on Advocate enews link the stories to their resident experts, this allows readers to follow a link for more information, and make an appointment. First readers are drawn to the site for its quality information, and then they are directed to Advocate physicians. The only advertisements presented to the readers depict those services that Advocate Health Care offers for free, such as: blood pressure screenings, a weight-loss clinic, or an informational lecture on living with cancer, thereby dually increasing their value and credibility to their publics.

                Advocate keeps 7 communicators on-hand, some who are placed in their individual hospitals. This “news team” along with doctors, nurses and other staff produce unique content under umbrellas like bone and joint, brain and neuro, cancer care, and specific topics regarding seniors, men and women. For more specific medical conditions, patients who have experienced things like shingles, acupuncture treatments, or whooping cough write first-person narratives describing the treatment process. In an effort to promote health in the local area, tips and suggestion pieces are also included with topics like: snacking guidelines to help parents keep their kids healthy. Organizational culture videos and articles will also be included with topics regarding things like what music surgeons listen to while in the operating room; “What Music are You Being Healed to?”.

                The Advocate “news team” posts at least five new stories to the site on a daily basis. Those same five articles are also sent out to consumers and reporters who have signed up to receive them. With the “Don’t tell me. Show me.” attitude, Advocate is working to encourage user sharing, commenting, and discussion in order to guide the flow of fresh content for the site.

                Health enews perfectly utilized the two tactics defined in Jeremy Porter’s article on PRDaily that elaborated on the strategy behind In-bound Media Relations and Real-time Media Relations. Advocate sought out those topics that were relevant to their publics, the surrounding community, and used the experts they had on hand to create their own content (Porter, 2013). Because the facts are collected directly from on-sight experts, their articles are guaranteed to be credible and likewise link reporters to expert sources automatically. Solid credentials along with the dramatic and life-affecting events that happen in hospitals make Health enews a phenomenal source for reporters (Porter, 2013). Add on a way for them to instantly receive notice when you post fresh content, like the email list reporters can sign up for to stay connected to Health enews, and you are golden (Porter, 2013).

                By encouraging consumers to comment and elaborate on topics themselves, and by paying attention to what their publics say, Advocate is primed to create content that is exactly what the public is asking for (Porter, 2013). Relevant and timely information, along with the inevitable fact that people need and use hospitals frequently, as well as the understanding that medical knowledge constantly changes will allow Advocate to maintain their current audience and expand (Porter, 2013). 

 

Porter, Jeremy. (2013). The two emerging media-relations skills every PR pro needs.

PRDaily. http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/13938.aspx. ;

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Wells Fargo launching into brand journalism with 'Wells Fargo Stories' - Charlotte Business Journal

Wells Fargo launching into brand journalism with 'Wells Fargo Stories' - Charlotte Business Journal | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Wells Fargo is debuting a new website focused on telling stories about its customers, employees and communities.
Paige Lowe's insight:

Though the Wells Fargo and Co. reach has more traditionally been limited to the financial marketplace, they are looking to expand their brand beyond “debits and credits”. Wells Fargo Stories, a new in-house online magazine, was launched this past March. Their new publication showcases interesting stories regarding their target publics, including: employees, consumers, and the surrounding communities that Wells Fargo does business with. The goal: to tell their own story. After a year of development, the site launched with 22 original pieces, with daily additions and updates. In order to maximize accessibility, the Wells Fargo team extended user-friendly access to both tablets and mobile devices in order to link the new website with the company’s preexisting social media hubs.

            The project originally extended from internal communications; employee’s increasing interest in ways to share company culture as well as details on the Wells Fargo Vision & Values mission statement regarding the public and stakeholders. Wells Fargo Stories allow a new and improved mode of access to the company’s vision and values. Employees are now encouraged to share the Wells Fargo culture with their customers and communities in order to help them better serve their publics. The online features written by employees of the company express their experiences deeper than the more traditional social media outlets.

As a pioneer of brand journalism in the financial sector, Wells Fargo stands as an example of what in-house publications can do for employee, consumer, and investor relationships. Working to adapt to the evolving U.S. demographic, self-published journalism helps companies like Wells Fargo to reach out to their up-and-coming consumers: millennials. As their target publics become increasingly tech-savvy and skeptical of corporations, companies are being forced to increase their transparency in order to inspire brand loyalty. For newer generations, the values are just as important as the company’s products and services. Banks have yet to successfully tap into the millennial market, but Wells Fargo is quickly making headway.

This is a great example of employee relations; Wells Fargo heard the internal outcry for more information on company policies and used that employee feedback to shape Wells Fargo Stories (Guth & Marsh, 2005). By increasing access to the corporation’s public policy as well as its Vision and Values, Wells Fargo gave its employees the information they needed to work toward continuous improvement within and outside of the company (Guth & Marsh, 2005).  This also allowed employees to be directly connected to the business goals and strategies by publicly highlighting the innovations and improvements they developed (Guth & Marsh, 2005). By highlighting their employees’ achievements, Wells Fargo also incorporated rewards; outstanding team members receive recognition for their efforts through Wells Fargo Stories (Guth & Marsh, 2005). Wells Fargo also made sure to optimize the site for tablets and mobile devices in order to leverage technology and make Wells Fargo Stories as accessible as possible to their employees (Guth & Marsh, 2005).

 

Guth, D. W., & Marsh, C. (2005). Adventures in public relations: case studies in critical thinking.

Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

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MWPartners

MWPartners | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
MWPartners is an accountability-based, results-oriented firm that offers all the professional services found in a traditional full-service advertising agency plus a depth of client-side, operations and media experience that is rarely found in America’s advertising community.
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PR pro: Journalism was all I knew

PR pro: Journalism was all I knew | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
A journalist faced a major decision when his newspaper shuttered five years ago. Now he works in PR. Find out how he got there—and whether he misses the newsroom.
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Pitching reporters in the age of pageview journalism

Pitching reporters in the age of pageview journalism | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
As pageviews become the currency for digital journalism, public relations professionals need to adjust the ways they reach out to reporters. Here's how you can make that adjustment.
Paige Lowe's insight:

Earning mainstream media coverage is harder than ever. The recession left newsrooms with 30% less staff and those reporters that remained covering a whole industry to multiple industries alone, along with reduced pages. If you think they did not care about your pitch before, they have less time for you and your pitch than ever before. On top of a decline in space and time availability, news has gone wireless. And where subscriptions and newsstand purchases once stood as measurements of coverage, now there are “clicks” and “views”. Reporting is now a game of numbers; clicks, shares, space, time, etc. And this climate is making it increasingly more difficult to get your story covered.


Pageview Journalism

Making the number of pageviews the most important goal for a reporter inevitably leads to poor reporting. More emphasis is placed on being the first to report than on the relevancy and credibility of the information. Being the first to publish a big story, even by mere seconds, can mean gaining even thousands more views than competitors. If your pitch will not lead to “clicks”, you will not get published.


PR vs. Pageview

Obviously, your pitch must doing everything to convince the reporter of your story’s appeal to their audience. However, with the new found focus on “clicks”, your pitch must also include a traffic strategy. Inform your audience (the media) on what steps you are going to take to work toward increasing traffic on their story. But, in order to do this, you must know what each potential audience is looking for. Send your pitch to journalists, keywords included. Know what will attract their audiences to them. Link their story through any online social media, community, blog, corporate website, etc. to increase visibility. Share the link with experts and influencers while encouraging them to respond to and share what they read. Buy keywords on behalf of your client in order to put your story above others in a list of organic search results.

The most important thing for PR professionals to remember is that stories do not have to be big to be read. The challenge is in finding the right audience for your story and making sure that they are given the opportunity to be exposed to your message. Though the work that goes into a pitch has become much more complex, if it is done right, the payoff should be worth it. If your team honestly does the research and the ground work, you have a much better chance of getting a story and getting the attention of your audience. Getting a pitch made into an article is no longer a viable measure of success; it is the number of pageviews that has become the most timely definition of your campaigns success. Understanding the goals of journalists and working along side them to complete their goals will ensure you and your clients better results than ever, and those reporters will be happy to take your call again in the future.






Putting Your Best Pitch Forward

Always remember to ask yourself the following questions when pitching a story:


1. Does the story affect a large portion of the reporter’s audience? (Guth & Marsh, 2005)

- Especially in reference to their “beat”, or the industry/subjects they report on.

2. Is it happening now, or is it about to happen? (Guth & Marsh, 2005)

- Is the story time sensitive?

3. Is the story unusual for the reporter’s audience? (Guth & Marsh, 2005)

- Even if it is unusual, is it still relevant to their interests?

- Is this reporter used to storytelling in the style your pitch would be most successful in?

4. Is the story relevant to the reporter’s audience? (Guth & Marsh, 2005)

- They may be the right audience, but is this the right medium?

5. Does it involve someone the reporter’s audience knows? (Guth & Marsh, 2005)


And to help your pitch survive to publishing:


6. What can you do to promote the reporter’s story?

- Where can you add links to their page?

- What expert’s/influencer’s commentary would draw the most traffic to their content?

- What can you guarantee your reporter in exchange for a story?


Guth, D. W., & Marsh, C. (2005). Adventures in public relations: case studies in critical thinking.

Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.


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Why journalists don’t always make the best PR pros | Poynter.

The head of the Public Relations Society of America responds to a recent Poynter article.
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Has the British PR industry grown too big for journalism?

Has the British PR industry grown too big for journalism? | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
It’s tough for print media. Chronic declines in circulations and a loss of advertising income means titles are closing and jobs are being lost. The one thing that hasn’t dried up for print journalists is the stream of calls from public relations teams, trying to get publicity for a client’s product.
Paige Lowe's insight:

Slowly, but surely, the internet generations are pulling news reporting into cyberspace; at the same time, they are filling the positions that are created to deal with their own desire for a more electronic media. Those generations that are just now hitting the job market are both the supply and demand of electronic news reporting. But, as newspaper circulators continue to dry up, public relations keeps calling. Could the incessant emails and phone calls from PRs have been what weakened the power of the press? If you really think about it, it sounds similar to lobbyists approaching lawmakers; PRs reach out and request a story from a reporter who, more than likely, already has plenty of material to sift through. At a time when print media is dying and working Journalists are few and far between, there simply are not enough Journalists to keep up with the amount of PRs.

Today, relevancy becomes a topic of concern when PRs look to their communication options. Robert Phillips, UK CEO of Edelman asks a tantalizing question, “Who is more important- a journalist from The Sun or Radio 4, or a mum blogger?” The truth is: “One significant newspaper article can be supplanted by a powerful blog, which in turn can be usurped by a sudden rush of tweets.” However, is this particular situation not the ideal in which a message goes “viral”? Inspiring continuation of the desired message in the public is what I would consider the ideal result to a PR campaign.

In light of the fact that the public has now officially integrated itself as the dominating presence in the creation and circulation of the media there is no one medium that denies them their desire to directly respond.  And, considering how universal social media is, can we even justify the Two-way Asymmetrical Model of Public Relations anymore? at least in favor of the media being dominant? I would even go so far as to say that there are no longer exclusively “controlled” channels. Though the main portion of information can be distributed by an organization, the public obsession with stating their opinion and the opinion of others does not allow for broadcasts, online or not, to go unanswered.

These conundrums are where the social media generation come in. With the introduction of specialized sites come the experts on how to successfully maneuver through them… because we have become, as a generation, expert consumers. Any and all online information is accompanied with an ongoing conversation between the publishing organization and the public.

Public Relations no longer requires reporters, but that is no reason to break off from print media altogether. Writers are evolving too. They are continuing to publish, but on news websites instead of newspapers, and will continue to be a valuable asset to PRs. Which is why it is still so important to create and maintain any contacts in the media.

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TOMS Shoes: A Closer Look | Tiny Spark

TOMS Shoes: A Closer Look | Tiny Spark | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Paige Lowe's insight:

According to the TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, there are millions of children worldwide who are in need of shoes. With an emphasis on the organizations “one for one” campaign, or buy a pair of shoes and a pair goes to a child in need, this for-profit organization has become a $100 million global enterprise. The TOMS website, itself, is equipped with a wide array of statistical information regarding the need for shoes in impoverished communities along with first-person accounts from the many “Shoe Drops” where volunteers can accompany the organization overseas to personally fit shoes for children. With record-breaking coverage hosted in an array of top media sources, from Vogue to the Wall Street Journal, it is no doubt that Mycoskie has found success. But, how is the company getting shoes to children? How are the recipients chosen? And, more importantly, is TOMS really helping the global community?

                The TOMS corporation works with “Giving Partners”, or pre-established aid foundations located in impoverished areas, to deliver shoes to those in need. Though this method allows for ease of access to distribution targets, many are skeptical about the style of delivery. TOMS claims to be a non-political, non-religious business and prohibits giving to be connected to any religious ideology. As Mycoskie put it, “To serve children in need regardless of their beliefs. Participants will never be required to participate in any religious propaganda in connection with shoe distribution.” However, there are discrepancies found within the brand journalism the organization publishes. For example, eight of TOMS’ “Giving Partners” are Evangelical Organizations, some of which actively couple shoe donations with the teaching of Christian beliefs. The Evangelical aid group “Heart for Africa” specifically targets Christian schools and churches in the surrounding communities, so much so that the window to receive shoes is before and after the service on Sundays. In 2010, TOMS partnered with “Bridge to Rwanda”. Both “Bridge to Rwanda” and TOMS have videos of the event on their websites; “Bridge to Rwanda” has a video that includes a prayer circle before shoes are passed out, the children who received shoes singing a song about Jesus, and a scene where “Amazing Grace” is being sung to the children by American Idol winner, Chris Allen, who was along for the trip. TOMS included the prayer circle in their video, but removed all footage of the children singing praise and “Amazing Grace”. On that same trip, fifty local Christian schools were the delivery locations, while only one non-Christian school was chosen. Based on these instances, it is apparent that children who are not of Christian faith are being overlooked despite the fact that they are usually more impoverished.

                Mycoskie’s favorite argument is the advocacy for changing larger social issues, like children being allowed to attend school, through the distribution of shoes. However, a large percentage of their recipients are already in school. At the same time, TOMS depicts these impoverished children being shoe-less, when many of them arrive to the “Shoe Drop” wearing shoes. The brand journalism that TOMS publishes supports their “movement”, but is not based in facts. In actuality, TOMS is hurting local micro-economies.

                The “one for one” idea is, in itself, flawed and unsustainable. It begins with a solution that the donor thinks is appropriate instead of starting by asking the receiver what he or she needs. Patrick Woodyard, founder of Nisolo, went on a “Shoe Drop” in Peru only to find that what was really necessary was a way to empower the local community and create a sustainable micro-economy. Passing out shoes to the impoverished does not provide them with a legitimate way to help themselves, it makes them dependent on outside donors.

                First, as an international organization, TOMS has not been thinking long-term. By giving hand-outs to impoverished communities, TOMS has made them dependent on outside aid instead of empowering them to improve their standard of living. But what stands out the most is their lacking of Professional Codes in regards to the depiction of the TOMS brand through their personal publications (Guth & Marsh, 2005). PRSA’s code includes advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness (Guth & Marsh, 2005). The promotions that TOMS has done on their own website have not honestly depicted the actions that they are talking abroad. The facts and figures used to advocate for the “good” TOMS is doing are twisted to appear benevolent. They have also failed to be fair in regards to how recipients are chosen and have dually hidden that from their consumer publics.

                As a previous advocate for TOMS, I was very disappointed in their actions. However, I did discover Nisolo, a shoe company founded by Patrick Woodyard. Nisolo links Peruvian cobblers to the American market so that they can create a sustainable income and economy within their communities. This is the kind of advocacy we need. Then, people will not have to depend on TOMS; they will just buy their own shoes.

 

Guth, D. W., & Marsh, C. (2005). Adventures in public relations: case studies in critical thinking.

Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

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Did Burson-Marsteller Kill Brand Journalism with the Facebook Fiasco?

Did Burson-Marsteller Kill Brand Journalism with the Facebook Fiasco? | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
The real question behind the Burson-Marsteller Facebook Fiasco, is not why they decided to violate the ethics of public relations – for money of course, but instead did they kill brand journalism as a communications tool by failing to effectively address the crisis after being exposed.
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Content Marketing/Brand Journalism

Content Marketing/Brand Journalism | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Explore The Story Bureau's hand-picked collection of Pins about Content Marketing/Brand Journalism on Pinterest. | See more about content marketing, marketing and infographic.
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5 B2B Brands That “Get” Storytelling

5 B2B Brands That “Get” Storytelling | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Corporate storytelling is nothing new. Presentations and books on telling a great story – opposed to shilling product – are abundant. But examples of brands
Paige Lowe's insight:

                Though brand journalism is not necessarily an unheard of tactic within the corporate world, it is a little hard to find examples of the proper use of this abstract strategy. One of the most common instances of successful “story-telling” marketing is in Business-to-Business instances, where the market is competitive and standing out is key to survival.

Cisco. The former site called “News@Cisco” has now been relaunched as “The Network”. Cisco’s new corporate story-telling site focuses in on topics such as: social media, collaboration, video and data. Using top-notch journalists with extensive technological experience, Cisco provides its publics with entertaining content regarding what their company does best; technology.HSBC. With a focus on global companies, Business Without Borders, HSBC’s brand journalism platform, works to inform both companies that have gone international and those that have an interest in expanding across the globe. By using original content from the Wall Street Journal, HSBC is dedicated to providing quality information and advice to their publics.Intel. Curation, or the collection of articles in regards to a particular topic, is a largely untapped, but important aspect of brand journalism. Based on the searches, “likes” and retweets of its own staff, Intel has created a curation forum called the IQ Project. This site is entirely based around the most up to date interests of the field, making it an incredibly timely source of information.GE. By tapping into its substantial history, GE Reports, the GE brand journalism campaign, extends the stories of GE’s past to the public. Alongside these epic stories of old, they present current tales of their spear-heading technological innovations.Boeing. This online brand journalism reveals the Boeing way of building and testing products to its publics. The Boeing Site takes readers through the successes and failures of one of America’s top engineering companies.

All of these companies are creating valuable relational connections with their target audiences. When these organizations revealed deeper levels of their interests to their publics, they increased their validity. Intel, for example, promotes the new market innovations that their employees are interested in, which helps the overall industry evolve faster (Guth & Marsh, 2005). At the same time, employees are made to feel valuable because their opinions and stories are being told to the entirety of the market (Guth & Marsh, 2005). Both of these help employees to focus on continuously improving what they do and what tactics they use to do it (Guth & Marsh). GE Reports inspires trust and loyalty in GE’s customers by reminding the industry that they have been around for a long time, and are still a relevant and innovative member of their market (Guth & Marsh, 2005).

 

Guth, D. W., & Marsh, C. (2005). Adventures in public relations: case studies in critical thinking.

Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

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A 5-step guide to starting a brand journalism program

A 5-step guide to starting a brand journalism program | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
It's time to transform your communications department into a publishing firm. Here's how.
Paige Lowe's insight:

 

The newest Public Relations strategy? The not-so-new “content marketing”. But do not be confused; “content marketing” is not “marketing”. “Marketing” is defined as the process of researching, creating, refining, and promoting a product and distributing it to targeted consumers” (Guth & Marsh, 2005). “Content Marketing” makes attention-grabbing information the product, while indirectly working to promote your company or client. “Content marketing”, or “Brand Journalism”, puts PR professionals into the role of the journalist, if the journalist were working strictly on behalf of your company or client. Essentially, you become the reporter; and with the proper understanding of what your audience wants paired with unique and attention-grabbing content, your campaign will have “pull” over your publics rather than “push”. So, how do you start?


1. Understand the changing face of Public Relations.

Content Marketing is not Marketing. There is no room for me-oriented messages in Brand Journalism. The angle here is to tell a compelling and credible story to your audience from the perspective of the industry, not your company. Your content must be entertaining, engaging, relevant and diverse, covering a multitude of media outlets and must inform your publics on topics that are related to your company, but avoid promotion entirely. The ultimate goal is for your target audiences to come to you. In order to really get a feel for what your audience is looking for, start small; make a few posts a week that are relevant to your industry. Add links to your article from your company’s social media sites and links to social media from your content to promote audience sharing. Actively request feedback to gain further perspective on what was most timely and interesting to your publics. Content must be unique and attention-grabbing so that your audience feels comfortable adding or requesting further information.


2. Mimic the Media.

Each PR professional is now a reporter. Be knowledgeable on your audience’s interests and concerns, then provide content in order to address those concerns. This will also open up future communication from your audience who knows that you are listening. Keep an eye out for any shareable content; remember, you do not have to produce everything you post, this will lessen the pressure to produce unique content, especially for smaller businesses and bring you closer to the members of the community you are targeting. By extending the reach of the pre-existing community, you increase your presence within special publics, or organized stakeholder groups formed out of a common interest, giving you access to market experts, news, and related topics you may not have come across on your own (Guth & Marsh, 2005). Make sure that your content is current and is updated on a schedule so that consumers know when to expect new material. And, of course, share your work any way you can.


But, what do we create? By utilizing the “Elements of News” as found on pg. 115 in Adventures in Public Relations: Case Studies and Critical Thinking” by David Guth and Charles Marsh, we can better conceptualize what seeing our industry as “reporters” would be like, while equally considering our clients:

1. Does the story affect a large portion of the reporter’s audience?

2. Is it happening now, or is it about to happen?

3. Is the story unusual for the reporter’s audience?

4. Is the story relevant to the reporter’s audience?

5. Does it involve someone the reporter’s audience knows?


Here, of course, the reporter is you, but these are all still viable thought processes to work through in order to create valuable, relevant content for your readers. And, again, think of these questions in reference to applicable news, not company advertisement. You want to become a legitimate, trusted source of expert advice for your audience, never a salesman in Brand Journalism.


3. Campaigns are not for Brand Marketing.

Brand Journalism will not work if your content leads to self-promotion. There should be practically no product or service mentions, and absolutely no launch dates or discounts. This is not a space for advertisements; it is a space for creative ideas, unique experiences and industry-related strategy. Your stated goals for Brand Marketing should not include anything to do with sales or the bottom line. Make sure your content is translatable across multiple outlets as well as dynamic in showing your expertise on industry goings-on.


4. Research is Key.

To create meaningful content, you must be aware of the needs of your audience. Find pre-existing forums and communities where your publics participate; this is your new “beat” (Guth & Marsh, 2005). After managing relevant content and learning everything there is to know about your publics, to stay relevant, you must continue listening. Brand Journalism is all about longevity and keeping from becoming obsolete. You have to be dynamic and flexible in order to keep up with the demands of your public (Guth & Marsh, 2005); think long term (Guth & Marsh, 2005).


5. Promote Participation.

Earned content is golden. Content created by others and published by your business leads to more discussion, and therefore, further earned content. To reach this golden-goose of a goal, increase your visibility by providing your quality content to websites affiliated with your industry. Similarly, invite those that create quality work for them to freelance for you. Credible sources will also increase visibility. Finally, content contributors should eventually include any and all audience groups, including: co-workers, clients, partners and experts (Guth & Marsh, 2005). By using a multitude of sources, media and content, you increase the likelihood that you will be seen and that your content will be considered relevant.


Guth, D. W., & Marsh, C. (2005). Adventures in public relations: case studies in critical thinking.

Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

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Sarah VanSlette's comment, April 15, 2014 10:43 AM
Good use of your book, Paige!
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Marketers, keep your hands off of your company’s brand journalism

Marketers, keep your hands off of your company’s brand journalism | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
The surest way to kill your company’s brand journalism efforts is to let the marketing department interfere.
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Scooped by Paige Lowe
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The Journalist And The PR Pro: A Broken Marriage?

The Journalist And The PR Pro: A Broken Marriage? | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Carroll Hall at the Univ. of North Carolina (Photo: Peter Himler) Last week my former Associated Press client Tori Ekstrand invited me to speak at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After a two–hour snow delay in New York, I finally [...]
Paige Lowe's insight:

The media has entered a new era where each company and individual has the capability to both create and syndicate media content. Small news upstarts like Buzzfeed, Politico, Huffington Post, and TMZ, using the art of histrionics, have managed to pull a nice portion of the audience away from the older “legacy media”. Stations and organizations that are historically more influential. Media altogether have drifted toward money-makers like “native advertising” and sponsored content, whatever will benefit their bottom line.

So, what really is wrong with the relationship between public relations and journalism? And why is it that public relations seems to be sneaking into the foreground of the media?

The number of “pitching PR pros” to “pitchable journalists” is 4 to 1, leaving journalists with an overload of requests for stories.

Newer, more “data-driven” vendors automate the PR process of media relations, again leaving journalists with an overload of requests for stories, but this time many of them are worthless and boring pitches sent in a “fill-in-the-blank” format.

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, there are many other sources for journalists to choose from.

Often times in large companies, media relations falls to junior staffers who communicated with journalists under little to no supervision.

In our multi-media world, journalists are under more pressure to produce stories in different mediums. This leads to more pressure and even less tolerance for carelessly thrown about pitches.

However, all may not be lost. There are still those media sources and news reporters, such as The New York TImes’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Kafka, Bloomberg News, the FT, and many more, who utilize PR sources that they trust for information. Though, more recently, the numbers of these trusted and reliable PR pros have dropped, when reporters and producers are in need of timely information a reliable PR pro is very valuable.

Though the landscape of shaping media presence has changed, “earned media” still unites the talents of both PR professionals and journalists alike. Unfortunately, it is the media relations skill set that has become the most lacking.

To help make media relations more successful, PR professionals should:

Make sure that their pitches are relevant to the receiver.

Keep the information valuable by not informing every and any journalist who may or may not be applicable.

Keep the pitch short and to the point.

Keep the email subject line informative, not artistic.

Take the time to research what the pitch covers. PR professionals should be the first source of viable information on the subject of the pitch.

Always deliver on promises; interviews, photo opportunities, etc.

And Journalists should:

Make sure to respond to pitches, most importantly when the story will be pursued. And, if the story is not relevant, a response stating such is also valuable.

If the story does not fall under what you cover, but appears relevant, pass it along to someone who will.

Understand that if pitches are ignored, the story will be taken elsewhere.

Know that, whatever you need to complete a story on a pitch that we provided, we will work our very hardest to get.

We are both just doing our jobs. Why not be civil?

Despite the more recent trend to bypass media relations and provide content directly to the target audience, there is still relevance and a level of legitimacy that journalistic attention provides for an organization. We see this in the 2006 study done on Under Armour. Warschawski’s PR professionals worked to attract and maintain the attention of “legacy media” such as CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today’s “Money” section, TIME Magazine, National Public Radio, and many more in order to create a rise to a level of respect and legitimacy among its competitors that was impossible without the acclaim of a higher entity.

 

 

(2006). Building the most successful american ipo debut in the past five years under armour performance apparel.

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Hospital's media coverage increases nine-fold using brand journalism

Hospital's media coverage increases nine-fold using brand journalism | Public Relations and Journalism | Scoop.it
Nationwide Children's Hospital is hearing from high-profile news sources it never even pitched. This is all due to pumping out brand journalism stories.
Paige Lowe's insight:

The Public Information Model casts the public relations professional as the “reporter” within an organization. A “reporter” whose job is to “report” the news; essentially to provide objective and current information to the public, but with a delicate mention or slight spin on the story that puts their employer in a good light. “Brand journalism” is direct or indirect brand promotion through the act of providing informed and relevant information directly to the public. But how successful could this sort of campaign be? Apparently nine times as successful as Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s usual campaign strategy in Columbus, Ohio.

In an effort to become a trusted source of medical news, Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s public relations team has worked to not only provide information on the services they offer, but extend their reach to other topics that interest their target audience: parents. Working with more journalistic techniques and toning down the brand does avoid directly selling the institution to the public, but it promotes more opportunities to be put at the forefront of medical stories on local news sources. Because branding takes a backseat, and dissemination of facts becomes the priority, third-party sources view Nationwide as more of a “specialists group”, and look to them for detailed opinions on the public’s current medical interests. Because they decided to broadcast that they are a source of information over the fact that they are a hospital, they have managed to generate third-party recognition on a huge scale. Their reputation is to the point that news sources reach out to them for medicinal disclosure, minus the pitch. It is genius!

In order to successfully execute brand journalism, two things are necessary according to Nationwide: Buy-in from executives, despite the fact that how the resulting publicity is achieved is anything but aggressive, and a group that is comfortable enough around one another, as well as able and willing to put in the time to brainstorm and shape successful stories. In my opinion, dynamism is also incredibly important for this team. Especially considering that they are located in a metropolitan area, diversity within the brainstorming team and the stories themselves is pivotal. If the stories become repetitive, irrelevant, boring, etc., public interest is lost and the campaign is a waste. Each member of this team is an insider to some community in the city or surrounding area, their ability to report and comment on communal concerns from within their social circles is priceless insight to the target audience.

Though brand journalism is potentially a risky tactic, if used properly, it can transcend your organization to a position of informative power.

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