by Jonathan Haile
This semester started with a question for Innovative PR: what is brand journalism? Just when we thought we had the answer, we scratched our heads and realized there was more to it. Ultimately, we concluded that brand journalists provide readers with different stories that cover different aspects of a brand. When readers piece these stories together, they have a general understanding of the brand’s image and values.
Our best example was Coca-Cola, which takes brand journalism to a new level with a site that looks similar to Mashable, but features all Coke-relevant content. While I’m a huge fan of what Coke is doing, I couldn’t help but think that “brand journalism” is just a fancy word for content marketing. So what’s the difference?
What is Content Marketing?
My commutes to and from Warrensburg are filled with the words of Joe Pulizzi, the author of Epic Content Marketing. Pulizzi is credited with coining the term. In his book, he explains that the content marketing, in the grand scheme of things, is about getting leads and driving sales. Business 2 Community, another great resource, agrees with Pulizzi and explains that content marketing involves a “customer” relationship:
“Content marketing goal: Influence audience behavior by publishing useful content that supports the customer journey, encourages loyalty and enables amplifications.”
When you start a content marketing campaign, Pulizzi suggests you begin with a “pilot,” which he compares to that of a new television series. The pilot is an example of what your readers should expect, and is accompanied by sales measurable objectives. With a successful content strategy, you will always understand why and how your content is driving the audience to make purchase decisions.
The two concepts have inherently different objectives, but are great compliments to each other and share similarities. Brand journalists and content marketers need to be strategic in their posts—knowing what is relevant to the reader and where the post will get the most exposure.
Both tools should function to strengthen the relationship between customers and brands, lower brands’ advertising costs, and be beneficial for brands’ internal audiences. They reinforce corporate values and keep employees updated with company happenings.
As a PR student, what is more appealing? Would you rather tell the unique corporate story as a brand journalist or drive sales and build leads as a content marketer? Let us know. “Follow” Innovative PR on Twitter and Instagram, and “like” us on Facebook.
by Evan Whittaker
For communication professionals, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on industry trends. It can help you get a feel for the current public relations climate and may give you new ideas for popular (or not so popular) ways to engage your audiences.
One growing trend is the use of social media takeovers, where an individual takes the reins of an organization’s social media page. Whether it’s Michael Jordan taking over the Charlotte Hornets’ Twitter account, CBS stars taking charge of their shows’ Instagram accounts or even students posting on behalf of their university, an increasing number of people are getting on the takeover bandwagon.
With so many examples of this practice taking place in recent months, you might ask, what makes them so popular? To answer that question, I’ve outlined a couple of reasons why the social media takeover has become such a popular choice for organizations.
Intrigue your followers and reach new ones
It’s no secret that engaging followers is key to the success of any social media page. Sometimes, though, it can be a challenge for an organization to find new followers to add to its roster. By allowing someone to take over your organization’s social media accounts, those who follow that person are also likely to follow your organization to keep up with its goings-on. What’s more, your current followers get a taste of something new and exciting when someone else posts on your behalf. This makes the takeover a great way to engage new followers and entertain those who already follow you.
A new, personal perspective
Another integral element of a successful social media page is providing new and interesting content. Since social media takeovers allow someone new to post for the organization, it’s a great way to break the mold and provide new content for followers. What’s more, takeovers often have a “see the world through their eyes” angle to them, which can seem more personal and relatable for followers. People like content that feels genuine and relatable, and the takeover provides an excellent way to bring that element into an organization’s social media.
With the growing popularity of the social media takeover, it’s a safe bet that we’ll be seeing more of them in the coming months. Be sure to keep an eye out for the trend and learn what you can from it. Who knows? Before long, it could be your organization handing off the reins.