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How to Incorporate Brand Journalism in an Online Video Strategy

Brand journalism is nothing new when it comes to communications. In fact, media companies have been using it for years.

In a nutshell, brand journalism involves creating journalistic-style content for your audience. This involves storytelling about not only your company, but also its industry and any related current events. For a more detailed explanation, check out this article [1] to get the 411.

What’s fresh about brand journalism today is the means by which brand implement it into an online video strategy. Consumers and audiences are bombarded with traditional advertisements across the board. In return, viewing behaviors and patterns have shifted from passive to active.

Without a large ad buy, it can seem difficult to get brand videos in front of the right audience. But taking a brand journalism approach helps reach many different target audiences and leads to more powerful and engaging stories. But, it’s important to identify the proper video distribution channel. Content along with messaging needs to be tailored to the platform’s user experience and audience.

Here are some tips on how to get started with brand journalism and examples of successful campaigns.

Be a Source Expert

One of the main goals when using brand journalism is becoming a go-to resource for the audience. Whether it’s industry news, trending topics, or expertise, brands need to create a media-style content plan that keeps people engaged.

Creating this type of content can be done through video interviews with industry experts both in and outside the company. Also, look at creating custom shows with hosts from the brand’s industry.

Intel [2] is a great example of a company using brand journalism successfully. The Intel newsroom produces blogs, podcasts, and videos that cover a wide range of topics related to its industry.

They’ve established trust with their audience and keep people coming back.

Consistency and Syndication

When it comes to brand journalism campaigns or videos, publishers need to be consistent. It’s perfectly fine to mix in content marketing, traditional commercials, and educational videos across brand channels.

Just keep in mind that when going the brand journalism route, it’s important to stay consistent in creating that content.

Producing one big brand journalism video is not worth the effort! Rather than spending a lot on one project, think about ways to cover topics with an expanded brand journalism mindset. This means producing several videos over time. The release of each video can be timed with an industry event or trending topic, for example.

The idea here is that brand journalism content hopefully starts to become syndicated and leads to the company building audiences across multiple channels.

GoPro [3] is a great example of a brand staying consistent in its journalism videos. In its “Beyond the Race” series, for example, it covers competitive cycling.

The videos shared new insights and behind-the-scenes footage around the preparations for Tour de France 2016, and covered the most intriguing stories from the event. Browsing through GoPro’s content, it’s easy to see how consistent GoPro has been in producing videos that identify with its target audience without directly selling a product.

Build Awareness

Every industry has something that motivates its customers. One way of adding brand journalism to the content mix is by creating videos focusing on those topics. Think about ways where the brand can create a movement within its vertical.

Is there a product the company has created that revolutionized the way customers do business? Does the company offer a solution that simplifies customers’ lives? These are all great examples of personalized stories brands can tell with their journalism efforts.

Charles Schwab created a series [4] of powerful stories titled “Why This Road” about people who live life like they own it.

Rather than a traditional testimonial, the series focused on telling the story of people the audience could identify with in the world of first-time business owners.

Personalizing stories in this manner helps build trust with the audience. It also helps create conversation around the content, which can lead to more shares and views across the board.

Think About New Audiences

One of the benefits of brand journalism is that companies can attract new audiences with their content. Since the videos don’t sell directly, the content is more likely to be shareable.

Creating powerful stories that connect with a target audience is a great way to gather followers on social platforms or lead people further into a content journey.

This example [5] from John Frieda emphasizes the point.

In its “Your Hair Talks, Make a Statement” campaign, John Frieda shares a story about the importance of hair in Native American culture. Focusing on influencers within that community and telling their stories introduced the company’s products to a whole new audience.

Viewers won’t notice many products in the videos, but the underlying theme focuses on hair and lifestyle. These are the things at the core of the target customer.

Have a Clear Goal

It may sound like simple advice, but having a concise and clear message is crucial to the success of any brand journalism campaign. It’s easy to get swept up into the storytelling with topics that are important to the brand and company.

Before starting, get all the stakeholders together and come up with specific goals for each campaign. While the messaging and content may vary, the company voice needs to be consistent across the brand story.

Think about how this is going to help drive business in the end. Discuss goals, such as whether the brand wants to raise awareness, drive people to a destination, get more followers, or any of the other items mentioned above.

Brand journalism is a tried-and-true way of engaging customers. With a little planning, every brand can find a way to make it work for that company’s industry and customers.