As the popularity of content marketing grows, companies continue to struggle with the question of how to produce effective content. A recent survey of B2B marketers showed that one of their biggest challenges is producing engaging content that customers connect with.
One creative way to solve this problem is hiring brand journalists. What are brand journalists you ask? Often, they’re former journalists who are hired by companies to report from inside the company and produce meaningful content.
As Brian Holtz puts it: “Marketing is what companies do to promote and sell products or services. Organizatons produce plenty of it. Brand journalism, though, is different. This is content that could be inspiring, clarifying, funny, useful or just plain interesting. Because it has these characteristics, people will want to link to it, share it, talk about it precisely because it’s not trying to pitch something. As soon as it begins to smack of The Pitch, it loses its appeal.”
In a recent blog, Ann Handley of Marketing Profs broke down the main strengths of brand journalists. Specifically, journalists are trained to find a story and tell it in a truthful, compelling way that’s backed up by facts and sources. They also know how to think about what the audience wants and put those needs before the needs of the company. It might seem counter-intuitive, but customer-driven content can actually end up doing more to meet a company’s needs than traditional company-driven content.
Todd Blecher, communications director for The Boeing Company, discussed some of the success the company has had with their brand journalism approach in a recent guest blog. For example, a dramatic video of the exercise run to test the brakes on a new plane (Spoiler: It ends with the brakes catching fire.) went viral.
“We’ve had more than 1.1 million views, and our key messages about safety and durability reached more people through our website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page, than we would’ve reached with a traditional news release,” Blecher explained.
And that sounds exactly like the kind of results that companies are hoping to achieve.