The New/Old Brand Journalist
I have a degree in journalism from a major university, but other than a few newspaper stringer stories, I’ve never been a practicing “real” journalist.
I’ve mostly operated in the world of brand journalism (try saying that around a J-school). Some people call it content marketing, but for me, brand journalism says it best. Brand journalism uses the skills found in traditional journalism to tell a story on behalf of a company, organization or cause.
As a brand journalist, you worry more about the audience than you would as a “real” journalist. Yet you still must find the story, research the story, edit the story and publish the story. Yours is a difference of purpose — you don’t need to be objective as a brand journalist. Some believe objectivity has left the building for regular journalists as well.
To me the goal of a brand journalist is to write stories that strongly connect with people on a personal level. This connection subtly provides a favorable impression about the brand. When you think about a brand personality, brand journalism is where it is forged. It is not created with a bunch of indiscriminate content creation.
I was always amazed when one of my brand “stories” would run in a local paper — sometimes on the front page and sometimes word for word — but with someone else’s byline. My goal was not to promote my name, but the name of my client or employer.
Brand journalism is not engagement journalism (and that is for another blog post).
The brand journalist is here to stay because digital is allowing for the brand to publish all the “news” that’s fit to print. If you want your brand personality to shine, bring on the brand journalist.
Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.