04 Feb 2014

The March Toward Brand Journalism Continues

Brands as media

Yesterday we shared a brilliant post written by Jay Baer about the greatest hoodwink ever, social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are primarily media companies. The social aspect? That’s everyone’s job. If you’ve shared links, discussed the news with friends, or written a lengthy post about current events on any of the social sites above, you’re now a content creator for each of these media networks.

Brands are being squeezed with each new algorithm update to pay more to get their content in front of the eyes of their customers and fans, not to mention potential customers. One clear and much discussed example is Facebook, with a clear 30% QoQ increase in advertising revenue. A part of that revenue is from brands paying to boost their posts in the news feed and get seen.

Yesterday (yes, it was a busy day!), Facebook released their new app, Paper, as we covered on our blog. It’s a new way of viewing Facebook content that restores the balance between ads in our newsfeed and actual updates and stories from friends. (I’m much hoping that Facebook keeps it ad free, adds the option to pay to keep ads out, or narrows the focus of the ads relating to the categories that you get to choose to see.) Additionally, Facebook is showcasing top tier media in relation to specific areas like tech and food.

Apple is reportedly building an infrastructure for content delivery that I suspect will bring them into the world of media and brand journalism, while challenger brands like The Verge are quickly over taking the cable news networks of the world, like MSNBC.

new media sites overtaking the old[click image to expand]

What does this all mean? Brands now need to achieve credibility as a news source in their industry. Much like the tech news sites, I believe eventually we’ll see news sites focused on content in PR and marketing. We already see this happening in some other industries, The Food Network is an excellent example because the recipes from shows are featured on their blogs and their hosts are commonly bloggers, like The Pioneer Woman.

This will not be a feasible approach for every company. However, those who start early will be the ones who succeed in this technique keeping them in the front of everyone’s minds and in turn growing their business. Essentially, by following the brand journalism path, brands will be able to take their seat at the media table instead of at the advertiser table.

Want to get started on the path of brand journalism? We’ll come full circle back to a concept branded so well by Jay Baer in his book Youtility: is your content good enough to buy on its own? If you put up your corporate blog as a paid subscription on Amazon, would anyone not employed by your company buy it? Crucially, would your best customers buy it from you? If the answer is no, then that’s where your brand journalism journey begins. Brand journalism is media, and media worth buying is media worth sharing.

Chel Wolverton
Senior Marketing Analyst

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