Brands now have the ability to bypass the traditional press and tell their own story in their own voice in a unique and compelling way. As I see it, good content isn't about storytelling; it's about telling a true story well.
Unfortunately, many businesses don't tell their story well. In our recent survey of more than 1,000 B2B marketers (conducted with the Content Marketing Institute), we found that creating compelling content is the biggest pain point for businesses. Which is why I favor the idea of hiring or contracting content creators who function within your company as embedded brand or corporate journalists.
The phrase "brand journalism" was coined in 2004 by Larry Light, then McDonald's Corp.'s chief marketing officer, who said in a speech at an industry event that McDonald's has adopted it as a new marketing technique. The term has evolved since then, although the basic idea of customer-driven versus corporate-driven marketing remains fundamental.
A brand journalist or corporate reporter works inside the company, writing and producing videos, blog posts, photos, webinars, charts, graphs, e-books, podcasts, and other information that delivers value to your marketplace.
Such content creators will convey your company's true story in a compelling way by uncovering the stories about your brand and how your customers are using your products and services; narrating them in a human, accessible way; and sparking conversation about your company, customers, or employees.
In other words, brand journalists bring a journalist's sensibility to your content. They bring an editorial approach to building a brand.
Here's why I like the idea of hiring brand journalists.
Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded ClickZ.com, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.