In my last post, I pointed to a study that established that consumers see brands as media publishers. That means creating compelling content is not a choice but a must, if you want to engage with consumers and continue to make your company relevant to them.
However, the challenge and cost to continually produce quality content in the form of articles, blog posts, PDF ebooks, decks, podcasts, and videos can overwhelm even the biggest brand. Smaller companies struggle to keep up and many businesses wonder, “What’s the point? Is anyone paying attention to this stuff?”.
They hear, “create it and they will come”.
But companies large and small wonder, can it really work? Will my brand journalism strategy actually help grow my business?
In a word: YES.
When content is created and shared on the Web, it can take on a life of its own. Your company may share an article or a video that will live archived to the Web forever, even if your company took it down from its website. The content may already have been archived to the Web–just take a look at the Wayback Machine. It archives websites and gives visitors a snapshot of how a website looked in earlier years, a view of their progress.
Essentially content that’s created and paid for today has a “forever” shelf life. Yet, the company, typically, pays for it once.
When you advertise in a magazine, or on TV or radio, you’ll pay every time that spot is published or hits the airwaves.
But how can companies know if a brand journalism strategy is working?
To answer this we have to determine how the content is being used and we have to understand who it ultimately serves as well as the end goals.
Money may be the bottom line goal, but when it comes to brand journalism strategies, the return on investment is delivered in more ways than just money.
Brand journalism strategies are geared toward the consumer, or in B2B, the business decision-maker. But there’s another targeted market–the search engines. The more high-quality content that is produced by your company, the greater potential for you to improve your search rankings, for visitors to find you organically through searches, and the stronger your message is broadcast out over the Web, which ultimately helps you to reach new leads.
According to Nielsen, 67 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if they found it through an online search. Click to tweet!
Consumers are on the hunt for what they want online.
Will your brand be easily found and understood?
Brand journalism builds trust.
The creation of quality content and the use of strategic brand journalism strategies help companies gain trust with consumers. It gives the ability to gain not only more exposure but also more engagement and better relationships with consumers. Beyond that, this style of storytelling helps consumers better understand your company and its offerings.
Salesforce reported on its blog (a figure from TMG Custom Media) that 78 percent of consumers believe that organizations that offer custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
But is my brand journalism strategy working?
Top-level executives are typically looking for some distinct ways to measure the success of brand journalism. I use the following criteria in storytelling:
Consistency: you must deliver quality content regularly. Creating a piece once will not do it. Your company is a publisher, Think Like A Journalist and release stories that are about your industry as it pertains to the consumer rather than just sales pitches geared toward a quick sale. Influence through information and education.
Relevancy: be a part of your consumers’ lives. Share content and information that they’re already searching for by tying it into your creative storytelling. If you’re a real estate firm, talk to them about the real estate market and how they can sell their home using a new method such as, live auctions. Tell a story that offers education about the process. Showcase your company as the expert it is on this topic. (See video below).
Engagement: build a story that leaves room for questions. Create the desire to learn more; spark an interest and opportunity for questions. Using the above example, if homeowners are interested in selling their home, why wouldn’t they consider a new method that has worked in other countries? By providing some statistics and some knowledge about the home auction process, you invite sellers into a conversation to see if it’s a fit for them.
If the above three criteria are implemented,
- you begin to create a community that wants to hear from you–your active audience grows
- you establish relationships to interact with a targeted audience that actually wants to hear more about your products and services
- you develop greater understanding about what keeps your customers loyal to your company
- you learn from the engagement and can further structure your brand, brand journalism campaigns, and products/services to meet the need of your customers
- you become relevant and vital as a thought leader providing resources to solve problems.
- you evoke brand evangelism when your content is shared; sharing content is vital to a company…it’s the viral form of word of mouth and it carries an enormous amount of influence
This is ROI on brand journalism. So, yes, brand journalism will grow my business. If you’re doing this, your company can convert your community from viewers and visitors to actively engaged customers and increase its bottom line.
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Phoebe Chongchua is a multimedia Brand Journalist who teaches: Think Like A Journalist, To Increase Your Bottom Line. She is also the Host of The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast which features interviews with thought leaders from around the globe on marketing, brand journalism, and entrepreneurship. After 15 years in TV News as an Anchor/Reporter, Phoebe founded PCIN.TV. The Internet TV Station airs video stories from her online publications: Live Fit Magazine and The Plant-Based Diet as well as curates content from other sources. As a brand storyteller, Phoebe produces business videos, articles, and photos to engage consumers and create brand evangelists. Learn more:TheBrandJournalismAdvantage.com
Contact Phoebe to get started on your Brand Strategy.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.