Brand Journalism


I posted a couple of years ago that all large brands should have departments dedicated to social media. Any smart company with 1,000 people will have a social media group. It’s not the case now but you see signs of it. The department will have a writer, videographer, photographer and coder at the very least.

Shane Snow, co-founder of Contently, published a very strong piece on referring to this phenomenon as “brand journalism.” There are lots of good obs and strats in the piece, yet I will take issue with one thought — and that is the use of the word “newsroom.”

He cites Mashable and the Verge as examples of newsrooms and he is correct. But large companies that sell product and services should not follow this newsroom model. Just as in-house advertising departments fall short in creating quality work, so will in-house news orgs; partly because of talent, partly because of mission.

Brand journalists need an editorial plan to excel and that plan must tie to the brand plan. The claim and the planks. Adam Ostrow, who knows a thing about this topic says:

“I think the biggest things that brands need to think about are the topics and themes that matter to their customers and how can they be a valuable member of that conversation – not just the conversation that is trending at any given moment in time on social media.”

This is how we develop band plans, by prioritizing things customer care about. Then we prioritize things the company is good at.

Newsroom is misleading. News is rarely organized. Brands need a plan. Social media departments need a plan. Consumers purchase based upon your plan – not based upon news. It’s probably semantics, but words matter. (I absolutely love this topic. It is an important part of the future of marketing.)