Brand journalism dismantles the PR silo

King’s English has promoted three main business components for the last 12 years: advertising, public relations and Internet development. Picture this on a pie graph, sliced into equal thirds. But over the past five years, things have changed.

The line between “Internet” and public relations has eroded.

The concept of “brand journalism” comes into the picture here. While traditional media is still important for PR messaging, electronic media makes it possible for brands to publish their own online magazines.

The public relations service PR Newswire hosted a panel discussion on brand journalism earlier this year and the report from that event does a great job summing up the opportunity:

As might be expected, both panels spent time answering the question, “What is brand journalism?” The panelists offered a variety of different ideas, which together form a comprehensive description:

• An editorial approach to brand building

A nonfiction attempt at advertising

Thinking more like publishers

It’s not a choice, it’s a clear imperative

It’s all about real time marketing, brands acting as media in real time, as life happens

It’s the responsibility of companies to help their customers succeed

Read the whole article here.

Not many people want to voluntarily read promotional messages. They prefer engaging content aligned with their personal needs and interests that may not even mention a product or service.

“Branded content” is a similar term and it’s now a practice unto itself in our business. It can refer to hard copy magazines that a company puts out simply to get readers into the sphere of congruent interests and, increasingly, it can be the basis for blogs and social media.

If you’re selling pocket knives, write about fishing. If you’re selling business process improvement, write about innovative ideas from your clients. If you’re selling dinnerware, write about food or party ideas.

So much time spent NOT promoting product features will make old guard marketers nervous, but in the permission-based world of our Internet lives, it has become a cost of doing business.


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