Today’s ferocious need for 24/7 content has forced a critical shift in communications, marketing, public relations, and advertising and they all must work together in order to tell a brand's true narrative. Organizations are evaluating their team’s skills and what disciplines are needed inside and what should be outsourced to supplement the rise in demand and consumption for authentic brand storytelling. Focus on the needs and interests of your audience. The primary goal in brand storytelling is to have your mission come alive by tapping into an emotional core that adds a human face to connect it to the people you wish to reach. Brand journalism isn’t just news style content—it should actually be newsworthy to your audience. Brand journalism focuses on understanding your target audience’s needs and interests and how it aligns with your brand’s objectives. Brand journalism tells your story without hitting someone over the head with heavy selling or slick brand messaging. It seeks to create real, authentic engagement with your audiences. The important take about brand journalism is that it’s not about you….it’s about what you do for others. Understand news values as it relates to your business strategy. Brand journalism must combine journalism with an understanding of strategic communication. In order to do it correctly, you must be able to identify if a story or particular angle is right vs. a topic that is too commercial or appears too sales related. There is a delicate balance between the two and brand journalism hits right in the sweet spot of both. It must also take into account the overall timing and distribution of the story in paid, earned and owned channels for distribution.
Create a nimble and integrated culture of storytelling. A brand journalist understands the commitment to ongoing relationship-building efforts that go along with uncovering compelling brand stories and topics. The unexpected angles and storyline twists must align with timing and the ability to create the story and share it across multiple channels is key. Strategy led storytelling is all about your mission. A brand journalist uses research, timeliness and strategic priorities to create content and campaigns. Everyone charged with creating content for your brand should be looking at it through the same story lens and asking, "is this content steeped in your larger mission?" Create two-way conversations. A brand journalist values engagement and the ability to have two-way conversations around their stories on social media. It’s not enough to be able to identify and tell your stories…you must be able to share them and allow your audiences to engage with the content and stories you are creating. Integrity, transparency and truth. No #fakenews…ever! You must take an oath of creating stories that are factual, well-researched and true. When you embrace the brand storytelling model you will be amazed at the stories you will find inside—the voices of your employees, customers and the wider community that you serve. Trust me…you have the stories….they are inside….you have had them all along. No looking back. Once you discover your true brand story and see the impact that it has on awareness, retention, recruitment, engagement and bottom line.... you will never go back to the traditional way of thinking when it comes to communication, marketing, public relations, and advertising.