Making Your Own News: Introducing Brand Journalism Research

The dramatic shift from print to online media and from user-generated content to do-it-yourself digital deluge has been swift. This quote, pulled from a 2001 article in First Monday hinted at what was to come: “Top magazines lost 61 million readers, ages 18 to 49, between fall 1997 and fall 1998 … the study blames the decline on reader migration to the internet and predicts the effects will be ‘real and lasting.’ … 56 titles gained 18 million impressions, but 144 magazines lost 79 million impressions.” Real and lasting indeed.
 
GETTING OUT FROM UNDER THE CONTENT DELUGE

Today, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared each day (Nielsen/AOL). The volume of content produced by nontraditional publishers, especially brands, is staggering. And these aren’t simply cat videos; great writing, beautiful artwork, insightful commentary and breathtaking video is uploaded online hourly by contributors of all stripes, included erstwhile journalists.
 
Competition for attention within specific industries such as healthcare, technology and financial services is fierce too. But it’s all too easy to become just another voice in the crowd. Such is the lament of many marketers under pressure to deliver “high performing” content campaigns. Yet they soldier on, fueled by “all that existing content” they can presumably reuse. Privately, however, they harbor skepticism about its true value.
 
Diving into water that is vast without mapping its depth isn’t smart. This is certainly what befell many of the media titles that failed during the print-to-online migration mentioned above. Publishers failed to identify the deepest spots to jump in. Over-exuberance misguided them, and they failed to aim for the content voids.
 
FINDING YOUR CONTENT VOIDS

Brand journalism, like the great craft it borrows from, looks for arcing stories and seeks to make fresh, useful and honest contributions to the narrative. It also seeks out the content voids. Today, however, this is harder than ever. Especially re-purposed, reposted, mostly curated content that is unlikely to engage today’s overstimulated audiences. To counter this, our agency now offers our clients Brand Journalism Research. 
 
As you can read in our press release, our new Brand Journalism Research offering features a step wise methodology that produces standout content. In other words, it fills storytelling voids. Our research outputs now anchor integrated thought leadership/lead gen/media relations campaigns for clients that deliver a big bang and then sustain momentum over months. For one client, we’re now in the second year of an annual study showing how opinions about value-based care are changing. Based on the compelling results from last year’s study, we already have journalists champing at the bit for initial results.
 
REVITALIZING YOUR CONTENT CAMPAIGNS

Brand Journalism Research has been a revelation for our staff. Our media relations experts, many of whom are former journalists, and integrated marketing teams enthusiastically collaborate on study design, desired outcomes and ways to fully capitalize on the industry insights. In fact, the energy is akin to a newsroom where excitement builds as new data are ingested and shaped into short- and long-term stories for earned and paid media channels and campaigns. The process is genuinely enjoyable.
 
Is your content marketing strategy on autopilot? Are you interested in making your own news? If so, Brand Journalism Research might be a fit for you.

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