Brand journalism: A proper definition

With one button, everything changed. Before it was a noisy world – and getting noisier. So many advertisers with so many messages, and they just kept coming…growing louder so you could hear their messages from the other room. They knew you’d gotten up during commercial breaks to run to the refrigerator, or use the bathroom, or let the dog out, so they increased the volume to make sure you could hear them from afar.

Brand Journalism

But that all changed when Eugene Polley of the Zenith Radio Corporation did humanity a great service and created the first wireless TV remote that could turn off the sound. In other words, he gave us the mute button.

Remotes have evolved to record live programing, allowing us to skip ahead 30 seconds at a time, or switch between programs. Bottom line: we can now avoid commercials at altogether. And that’s a beautiful thing – unless you are a person with goods or services to sell.

You now live in a world designed to avoid your marketing and advertising effort all together. One of the biggest reasons people generally hate advertising, whether broadcast or print (which includes online advertising) is because we feel we are being played; that as much as you say it is about us, we really know it is about you. The more we feel played the more we tune you out.

So how do you break through?


Quit shouting louder than the other guy and tell us some stories about how your goods or services have benefited people.

Now you’re engaged in brand journalism.

Brand journalism builds your brand by telling your organization’s story in a journalistic way. It raises questions stakeholders and customers would ask about your organization and it answers them through stories about real people. Brand journalism goes deeper than just building a customer base – it builds relationships with customers.

Yes, brand journalism takes more effort than cranking out marketing and advertising copy, but what’s your objective: to say you had an ad campaign or generate quality leads and deepen customer loyalty?

If you truly want to be effective, start telling a story; that, in essence, is brand journalism.

How would you define brand journalism?


The above post is an excerpt from a forthcoming eBook on Brand Journalism by Ben Stroup and Chris Turner, and is Part 1 of a series.

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