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Becoming a Brand Journalist by Finding Stories from Within Your SMB

ImageLet’s start out by addressing the giant elephant in the room. Yes, brand journalism is one of the most recent buzzwords to have taken over the world of Internet and content marketing. A brand journalist has been defined in many ways; from “one who tells journalism-style stories about a company that make the reader want to know more,” to “one who records what happens to a brand in the world and creates communications that, over time, tell the story of the brand.”

Chances are, your startup or SMB is unlikely to find a specialized brand journalist, let alone one you can afford. This leaves most businesses between a rock and a hard place. How will you be able to supplement your traditional content marketing with brand journalism that tells interesting stories and keeps your audience interested?

The main part of this answer is to look inward. Taking a news-based approach to sharing insider information from within your company is the most basic way to pique the interest of your audience. These stories can range anywhere from a humorous anecdote explaining the origin of a product name to a sincere vision statement from top management. It’s highly likely (and hopeful!) that things are occurring among your colleagues and within your company as a whole – share these things with the world. Giving your clients and potential customers an understanding of what’s going on internally is an excellent way to build trusting relationships, which is the first step to making your next sale.

As Bill Calder, managing editor of Intel Free Press put it, “don’t think ‘product message’ think ‘compelling story.’”

The key to finding and telling great stories in a way that will make your your audience not only want to engage with them but share and even repurpose them is to commit to trying new things. Brand journalism isn’t content marketing, nor is it sponsored content. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It is meaningful, quality storytelling. Push the marketer inside your brain aside, and let the stories do the work. It’s likely that you have yet to write a lighthearted piece about how your entertaining employee tells jokes every morning to motivate the rest of the team, or the inside joke between your two co-founders that led to the creation of your most popular product, and that’s okay. The rise of brand journalism is giving you the opportunity to try these new things and appeal to the human side of your audience.

Lastly, here’s a challenge. Instead of reading this piece, thinking to yourself, “Hmm, yes that would probably work. I’ll do it another time,” and moving on, go walk over to your colleague and ask what he or she is working on. Ask a few more questions, and within minutes, you will have gathered enough information to tell a story. Write that story down in a logical, mildly entertaining way, and you’ve successfully completed your first piece of brand journalism. Soon, you’ll be providing the world with inspiring pieces of writing that echo through the Internet and create love for your brand (and let’s be real, love = conversions).

image: brand journalist/shutterstock

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