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Posts Tagged ‘brand journalism’

Red Bull Publishes Its Own Magazine

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Uh…nope. Had no idea. But could there be a better example of what we call “brand journalism” (oh, BTW, that’s 2.7 million copies in print)?

For some context, check out the first three stories presently visible on the web version of the mag—which exists to “[shift] away from branded stories…and explore the exceptional”—after the jump.

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Public Relations: The Journalist’s New Frontier (Part 2)

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Today we bring you the second half of our guest story by  Orbit Media Studios founder and content marketing specialist Andy Crestodina (find him on Twitter and Google+). Click here to read the first half. 

Teaching: The New PR

In September I participated in a panel at Chicago Social Media Week and our moderator, Brian Burkhart of SquarePlanet Presentations, called me the king of “free beer.” While I’m not one to mooch free beers from people (though I do enjoy them), I do believe in giving away your knowledge and content—even your best stuff. That’s how you teach people.

Why give it away?

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Hack Turned Flack: Former Journalist Explains the Transition


Some in the media world are under the impression that journalism and PR are basically much one and the same. While that’s obviously not true, the two disciplines require some of the same skill sets, so the differences are well worth noting—especially if you’re a journalist looking to make the transition or a PR pro who wants a better understanding of the journalist’s perspective.

In a recent post on Contently‘s Content Strategist blog, former journalist and current director of content and media strategy at Bateman Group Elinor Mills explains those differences in greater detail. It’s well worth a read, but we’ve picked some highlights:

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Fortune Will Create Custom ‘Trusted’ Content for Brands

Fortune MagazineEarlier this week we made a big deal over The Washington Post‘s decision to enter the ongoing brand journalism sweepstakes by featuring sponsored advertorials on the front page of its website. That was an important step in the evolution of paid content, but today Fortune took the industry-wide shift in a slightly different direction: the magazine plans to write honest-to-goodness editorial pieces on behalf of its partners/advertisers.

What does this mean, exactly?

Fortune calls the project “Trusted Original Content”, and it will involve the magazine’s editorial teams creating Fortune-branded articles and video/other media content for marketers and PR pros to distribute on their own channels. So these pieces will bear the Fortune name and be written by real journalists, but they won’t qualify as native advertising. And brand reps won’t see them until they’re done–according to Adweek, Fortune’s editors will “have the final say”. Capital One will be the first party to participate by soliciting complimentary stories about small business.

Will promoting posts backed by the power of Fortune give a brand greater credibility? Time Inc. thinks so.

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10 Questions for Entrepreneurs Seeking PR Services

Earlier this week we delved into why PR services are a good investment for startup companies. Today we came across a related post in Entrepreneur magazine listing 10 questions that small business owners should ask themselves before hiring a PR firm.

The overwhelmingly positive response to Jane Porter‘s article tells us that it is extremely relevant to those ambitious businessmen/women wondering whether they should make the move. Because it approaches the PR “deliverables” issue from a small business perspective, we also believe it to be crucial reading for folks in the industry (and of course we agree that “a successful [PR] campaign can help you expand your business in ways you never could on your own”). Here are the 10 questions:

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What’s ‘Native Advertising’ All About, Anyway?

Native advertising: you’ve heard the term, and you’re going to hear it quite often in the months ahead. We haven’t directly addressed it on this blog yet, so here goes:

First: any web surfer will tell you that banner ads (aka “traditional paid media”) are on the way out. They do provide “impressions” or glances, but very few people actually click them.

A debate on the topic within the PR industry has all but resolved itself at this point: integrated or “native” spots created through “brand journalism” are part of the PR/marketing landscape along with “sponsored” tweets and the like. They’re here to stay, and PR teams need to start creating more of them ASAP or they’ll find themselves replaced by other third-party content creators and media buyers. (Here’s a great post on the issue from our friends at Spin Sucks.)

Right. But what does “native” mean, exactly? Well, this Mashable infographic made our heads hurt, so we’ll give you a better example: Check out The Awl, a sort of literary/culture blog that happens to be one of our favorite web destinations. Scroll down the page a bit and you’ll come across at least one post that looks slightly different than the rest (they’re usually hosted on a grey background and filed under the “sponsored stories” heading).

These are stories commissioned and created by brands like Pillsbury, HBO, Samsung, and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. These brands (and the firms that represent them) want to court members of The Awl’s audience, and they came up with a good way to do so: create original content that complements the site’s existing stories.

It’s fairly simple, really:

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Driving Brand Journalism Through Social Media (Pt 3)

Over the past two days, we brought you posts on the intersection of brand journalism and social media (co-written by Tim Gray, content strategist at online marketing/web design firm Blue Fountain Media). Today we conclude the series by reviewing distribution issues and offering several more examples of “owned media” sites that get the new PR equation just right.

The final step in the three-part journey from traditional PR to brand journalism:

3. Achieve Maximum Participation

In order to succeed as a brand journalist, you must be an expert in your field—not just a producer/distributor of goods, services and press releases. Your best content will reach across social media by appealing to readers who’ve never heard of your brand but have a vested interest in the products you offer.

Create content that can be re-used and re-purposed as often as possible. Write multimedia stories that can simultaneously serve as tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts, and sharable video files. Hit all avenues at once for optimum exposure. And, again, facilitate interaction by explicitly encouraging followers to “tell us what you think in the comments.”

  1. Making the most of all social media channels will boost your traffic numbers while building your reputation as a trustworthy source of information. The larger “conversation” will ultimately revolve around those who create original, high-quality content—no matter which channels they use.

Social Key: You should encourage every member of your team to promote all your content across multiple social media channels—but you also need to make sure you don’t repeat yourself too often. Followers will quickly tire of a rep who just re-posts the same material in different venues. At the very least, you should learn to update, alter and re-frame your material to make sure it’s still fresh for your audience.

For example, if a follower tweets a story that you ran a couple of weeks ago, re-tweet his/her message and add a comment. This simple act may re-kindle interest in a post that no longer shows up in your followers’ feeds but remains relevant.

If you don’t have any original material at a given moment, share something from a source you follow that you believe your own audience would enjoy. Small touches are still touches.

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Driving Brand Journalism Through Social Media (Pt 2)

In yesterday’s post on using social media to drive brand journalism (co-written by Tim Gray, content strategist at online marketing/web design firm Blue Fountain Media), we discussed  moving beyond the traditional self-centered PR mindset. Today we go into greater detail about researching and creating great content–and making it social.

We’ll start with the second step in the journey toward successful brand journalism:

2. Establish “The Newsroom Effect”

Brand journalism requires marketing/PR professionals to start thinking like journalists (or, at the the very least, bloggers).

Learn your beat by listening through social media channels. If you have a personal Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account, then you’re already something of an expert—you just have to practice observing channels that are relevant to your target audience through their eyes.

  1. Share and share alike: You don’t just need to share your own content—send your audience a few pieces from other sources that you follow. They’ll appreciate the effort as long as the material is relevant to them.
  2. Develop an editorial calendar: Everyone likes consistency, and readers want to know that they can expect fresh content from you on a regular basis. If scheduling is a challenge, encourage team members and others at your business to contribute ideas or posts of their own.

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Driving Brand Journalism Through Social Media (Pt 1)

This week we bring you a special three-part post co-written with Tim Gray, content strategist at online marketing/web design firm Blue Fountain Media. Tim believes that brand journalism is indeed the future of PR–and that the best way to promote a brand is to create that crucial content yourself and promote it via social media.

The first step on the way to making brand journalism work: abandon the self-centered approach to messaging that formed the basis of the traditional PR playbook.

  1. Move beyond the standard PR mindset

For decades, brands bombarded customers with me-first messages pushing “my product, my service, my plan…that you the customer now have the pleasure to purchase at my command”. This approach worked because customers didn’t have too many options when searching for information. It doesn’t work any longer, because most web surfers will quickly abandon your page unless you present them with compelling, easily accessible stories that truly engage, entertain and inform.

The “if you write it, they will come” maxim feels a little too simple though, doesn’t it?

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Pulse News App Bets the Farm on Sponsored Content

In the era of brand journalism, we talk a lot about “editorial”, “earned” and “sponsored” content–and the respective value of each. Now, leading news app maker Pulse plans to turn the dominant revenue model on its head by relying exclusively on sponsored content for its advertising dollars.

It’s a bold move that reflects the growing influence of branded materials as the line between PR and editorial grows ever fainter.

The company’s primary rival, Flipboard, made headlines as the first app to bring “glossy print-style ads to the iPad”, and Pulse just made a big move in the opposite direction. Their explanation? Mobile is a brave new world for brands, and betting on the success of traditional banner-style promos would amount to “short-term thinking”—however tempting it might be in the moment.

The fact that big-name publishers began pulling their full-page ads from Flipboard this summer strengthens Pulse’s case, because the publishers who dropped out mentioned the downsides of sharing revenue with a third party and noted that they would make more money with traditional banner ads. They also believe that, by partnering with Flipboard, they are discouraging readers from using their own sites and apps.

Publishers who work with Pulse don’t just get increased exposure; they also get a cut of the ad revenue earned “if a sponsored post runs within their content feed or if they bring the advertiser to Pulse”. The fact that advertisers pay on a “cost-per-read basis” is undeniably appealing as well.

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