Over the last few years naysayers have hinted at or been convinced that the death knell of print media is sounding ever louder.
As we like to say: The printed word is far from dead. In fact, it’s more ubiquitous than ever before thanks to the internet, social media, and thousands of ads a day. Like art, it has just changed over the years: from caves to contemporary.
Sometimes used interchangeably (but not necessarily a synonym for) with ‘content management’, brand journalism uses industry relevant stories to relate to your target audience. By ‘story’ we don’t mean a fairy tale bedtime type story, but rather written communications that use carefully chosen and measured words to convey who and what you are while maintaining your organizational messaging.
Because companies and organizations tend to see the world through bottom-line glasses they often miss a variety of opportunities for connecting with customers on an everyday basis in a human to human way. Being human means cultivating a real, honest and transparent connection with people. It’s about being responsive and simultaneously proactive and it’s certainly about being accessible. It’s not all about pushing out information, but pulling it in as well.
You don’t want your customers to feel bossed into purchasing your product or service, but to want to do so willingly. This means crafting stories that make them feel less mass marketed to and more part of the process and the success of your business. The best thing about using this approach is that they’ll become brand ambassadors thereby exponentially increasing your reach.
It sounds easy, right? Just change a few words here and there, use ‘we’ instead of ‘us’? Make all your customer communications fuzzy and feel good?
Actually, brand journalism is about three things:
- Authentic stories filled with real people doing real things
- Crafting messages and content with brand specific, “owned” words
- Within those stories, messages and social media content: studious use of a thesaurus
Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter. It’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” One word often has a slight nuance over another synonymous word; on the surface they basically mean the same thing, but in relation to what you’re discussing one is usually better than another. Furthermore, you want your copy to be fresh and intriguing not stale and cliché. Finding the perfect word is like finding the perfect outfit: you might try many on, but not all of them work. If they don’t fit or feel right you simply move on to the next. It needs to look good, convey your personal style and give you that jolt of confidence for success.
You need to own it.
The printed word is indeed far from dead: it’s commonplace. In a commonplace world make sure your business is uncommon by employing brand journalism.