Brand Journalism is the process of going directly to your critical audiences, taking on the role of a journalist or reporter in telling about your company, your values and why you are a good business partner. Ask yourself: what makes a good story? Think about the last time you were drawn to a book, newspaper article, or a radio or television program.
Committing to Brand Journalism requires fresh thinking and an open mind. VHPR starts by looking at it as a process in which clients take an honest look at how creatively they have been telling their brand story. Now is the time for innovation, planning and understanding how your organization will generate a consistent flow of new content. Focusing on these three elements is a great way to start, and makes the move into Brand Journalism less daunting.
Next we help you develop your brand journalism program. Consider how you are different from your competitors, what do you provide that is unique and what are the values that reflect how you do business? Since no one can be all things to all people, it’s critical to really develop brand values and messaging that reflect who you are as a company. Here are five elements that will likely be involved. Over time your Brand Journalism program should utilize all of these.
- Feature Stories and Profiles that tell about the company’s activities. Pick topics and start writing, tell the story first and then decide which channel will be the best for getting it in front of critical audiences.
- Direct Customer Communication – Too often companies are reluctant to talk directly to their clients until a problem has reached a crisis level. If you have clients who trust and respect you, they don’t want surprises and want to hear from you in both good times and bad.
- Industry Leadership – By sharing thoughts on a range of topics of interest to your client base, you gain credibility as a trusted advisor. Not everything your clients receive has to be about you and your needs. As industry and topic experts you can gain goodwill and engagement by sharing your knowledge.
- Presenting a Balanced Approach – Don’t be afraid to weigh in on challenges your industry is facing, even criticizing things that are happening if you aren’t participating. Open, transparent communication is a key part of Brand Journalism.
- Executive Support and Advocacy – It is impossible to have an effective brand journalism program if your leadership team is not visible, supportive and engaged in telling your brand story and reinforcing your values.
An Added Bonus – Monitoring and Protecting Your Brand
Companies that commit to a Brand Journalism program by definition have more contact and connection to their critical audiences on many social media platforms. That gives you a leg up when it comes to monitoring what is being said about you. In addition, preparation of your brand story gives you most of what you will need in the event that something happens that threatens your brand. You will know how to react and have the tools to do so.
Change Management Consulting
If your company is going through a merger, consolidation or other major corporate change, a program providing additional outreach through Town Hall Meetings, Online Q&A’ s and forums, and additional face-to-face communication is often necessary. These programs deliver an immediate impact in terms of reducing rumors and anxiety, fostering greater employee trust, and improving customer service. VHPR implements strategies that enhance employee communication, utilizes new digital channels for your message, and improve engagement.
Metrics Play a Key Role in Outreach
- VHPR uses traditional and social media metrics for establishing a baseline and tracking the impact of the work that we do for our clients. These metrics are selected in advance and the baseline reviewed regularly so you can evaluate the return on your investment.
- Metrics can range from customer inquiries and lead generation to sales and profitability. For workplace communication projects, they might involve employee job satisfaction, trust, engagement, and even turnover.
- Brand metrics can include overall awareness, trust, and product knowledge. The important thing is that the metrics are put in place at the start and monitored carefully throughout, so you know what each dollar you spend.
- The VHPR tailored online media monitor is an important, cost effective part of the effort. We utilize the latest in automate online search techniques to generate a daily report of what is being said about your organization in traditional media and on blogs, websites, and Twitter.
- This data is presented to you in a monthly summary format, broken into categories that are important to you, so you can evaluate trends and changes. You have a complete history of your coverage at your fingertips.