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Why You Might Need a Brand Journalist to Tell Your Story

May 16, 2012  

Telling ordinary, made-up stories isn't what makes your content marketing engaging for your customers and would-be customers. What matters is telling interesting true stories that help your audience understand your product, service, or business. So, to help your company unearth real-life stories from within your organization, consider hiring a brand journalist.

"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," explains Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, in her Daily Fix blog post titled "Seven Reasons Your Content Marketing Needs a Brand Journalist."

So why might you hire a brand journalist for your business? Here are three reasons, based on Handley's post.

Brand journalists recognize good stories. Journalists are trained to sift through massive amounts of information and separate the stories that people want to hear. As Handley puts it, "Their innate understanding of audience means that every time they sit down at their desk to create content, there's always a little voice in the back of their head reminding them, 'Nobody has to read this.'"

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  • by Gina de Miranda Wed May 16, 2012 via web

    The biggest problem that people have when hiring writers is that so many people are calling themselves "journalists" today. The training that we, as journalists, receive is pretty comprehensive. We learn to research. We learn to extricate facts from fiction. We learn to build stories that are readable AND feed facts and information in a cohesive and methodical fashion. We understand the concept of writing to a specific audience level.

    For those looking for actual journalists, here are some key characteristics:

    They ask a lot of questions like: who, what, where, when and how.

    They want to know who the audience is, what is their educational level, what is their income level, are they an audience by virtue of an industry/profession/ethnic background? What binds them together?

    They will probe for "the news hook." A news hook is the enticement to read, it is the salient fact or concept that sucks readers in.

    Real journalists write in second or third person and not first person.

    Real journalists check facts. They don't necessarily accept what they're told. They want to know the truth about what the subject that they are engaging with. This is just as much to the benefit of those that a journalist writes for as well as their audience.

    Real journalists concern themselves with their credibility as well as that of their employers. Credibility is fast becoming the real "coin of the realm" in today's world.

    From my perspective, the marketplace is fairly confused at the present time. People like me have to compete with relatively unskilled people from all over the world. We have been put in this position because there isn't enough awareness of the differences between the trained and untrained writer.

    Thanks for this article

  • by Dave Young Thu May 17, 2012 via web

    As a person with a degree in journalism, I agree with the premise of this article. However, some companies may not be big enough to create a new full-time position.

    We use radio broadcasters to interview CEOs and other brand experts for content that can be purposed into blog posts, press releases, ebooks, email and more. Start small and if you find that you need to fill a bigger pipeline, consider a full-time hire.

  • by Astrelfrog Fri May 18, 2012 via web

    Real journalists write in second or third person? Fail. Real journalists write in whatever it takes to tell the story. Usual mode is third person impartial. Occasional mode, when a feature story demands, is first person or a mix of first and third...if the story truly is personal, reader engagement goes up if a personal anecdote is used when appropriate. No one, except for a few literary types, ever writes in second's damnably hard to do. The "addressed you" .. "You'll really like what Bloxo does to your laundry" is actually first person once removed...the implied speaker is still "I."

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