Fort Lauderdale and Aspen-based Public Relations Agency Durée & Company recently launched its brand-new microsite, Psychdelicpr.com. One of the features of the site is a blog where the Dynamos dish out the newest developments in the world of psychedelic PR and other emerging industries. And this isn’t a new thing for Durée & Company. With the launch of its cannabis microsite in 2020 came articles about the history of the green rush, the 2018 Farm Bill, how to position hemp or CBD companies and more.
Brand journalism is not an afterthought, but a staple in the D&Co world, and in hundreds of companies, too. Believe it or not, the proliferation of this sector of journalism began in 2004 when McDonald’s faced a tidal wave of negative press after Morgan Spurlock’s award-winning documentary, Supersize Me, came out. For those who haven’t seen the film, it chronicled one man’s journey eating McDonald’s every day for a month, which ultimately led to significant weight gain and health issues.
McDonald’s CMO at the time, Larry Light, quickly grabbed ahold of “brand journalism” as the company’s lifeline – he began writing transparent, editorial-style stories about the brand – and it worked. Almost two decades later, brand journalism has revolutionized modern marketing and communication strategies.
So, what is brand journalism exactly? Is it the same as traditional journalism? Kind of. Today, consumers respond more to expert opinions, facts and stories rather than repetitive marketing or advertising copy. Consumers want to feel something – or better yet, learn something – when they’re shopping.
Brand journalism is a form of owned media that allows companies to get their story across to consumers in a meaningful way and, subsequently, drives engagement and sales. These stories or blogs are often written by trained journalists and read just like articles you’d see in newspapers or magazines. They have quotes, research and angles. They are meant to educate and connect with a brand’s audience, allowing consumers inside the brand’s world one byline at a time.
How does it work?
It’s no secret that the minute a television commercial break starts, your fingers can’t get to the mute button faster. We desperately try to escape the monotonous barrage of repetitive ad messaging. We X out ads on the Internet and purchase premium subscriptions just to avoid them. Consumers are quickly trading catchy jingles and gimmicks for actual insight into the companies they invest in.
Companies might hire a journalist or PR agency to help create and manage their editorial content. These professionals might be responsible for creating a content calendar and writing stories that clearly represent the brand, yet come across as credible and sincere. The last thing they should be is pushy. People respond to relatable, well-written stories that inform and don’t sell.
What Are Some Best Practices?
Brand journalism must be authentic and provide answers to questions people have about a certain industry or brand. For instance, when Durée & Company tapped into the cryptocurrency market, we began populating our blog with headlines like “The ABCs of Cryptocurrency: Terms You Need to Know” – a post which, thanks to SEO, will appear in a Google search for potential new clients to find, or anyone looking to learn about cryptocurrency for that matter.
It is also a good idea to look at real media outlets with great journalism to elevate your content. You’d be hard pressed to find an article in the Washington Post or New York Times without quotes or a nut graph. In short, use ample evidence, examples and experts to back up findings.
The fun thing about brand journalism is the creative freedom. Storytelling knows no boundaries. Great storytelling hooks readers and keeps them engaged until the last word. Just because you are constantly reporting on one brand doesn’t mean it has to be stale. Using unique angles is a must, because at the end of the day, you’re always competing for people’s attention.
Why It’s Important
Brand journalism is a handy tool in positioning your brand. At Durée & Company, we schedule and produce blog content, as well as adjacent social media posts, for our clients. Keeping in mind the brand’s core values, brand voice and key audience, we are able to write relevant content that proves helpful to customers and, in many cases, encourages them to make a purchase.
These brand-generated blogs dive deeper than traditional advertising messaging and can reach a wide net of people. A commercial or ad banner has to hit home universally. Brand journalism, however, provides an endless space to write to multiple different audiences. While some of our D&Co blogs speak to our psychedelic clients, others address our legal or food and beverage folk. The point is: there’s unlimited potential to connect with consumers.
Brand journalism is not a second-class form of journalism. Instead, it’s a burgeoning division of the industry that, frankly, shouldn’t be overlooked by any company. When done right – meaning sticking to an objective, informative stance – it is just as important as traditional journalism. And some may argue it’s even more useful – at least when you’re looking to invest in a product or service. If it was able to lift McDonald’s from the quagmire back in ’04, then brand journalism must be a pretty powerful tool.
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, health and wellness, cannabis and psychedelics, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, cryptocurrency and technology, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; cannabismarketingpr.com; or psychedelicpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.