Brand Journalism – Who is Telling the Story of Your Brand?
At first glance, this popular YouTube video of Cristiano Ronaldo drinking tea at a local café doesn’t seem like brand journalism or product placement.
Maybe not, that is, until you see the counter indicating it has been viewed almost 9 million times on YouTube and also click the “Show More” button in YouTube to reveal…
…that the seemingly impromptu video of very amateurish quality is essentially a “let’s make a viral ad” for the Roc headphones bearing Ronaldo’s name. Whether you like Ronaldo or not, most marketers would be thrilled for their video to be viewed 9 million times on YouTube.
But none of us has a Cristiano Ronaldo in our back pocket to promote our brand or could afford a celebrity spokesman of his caliber.
So what is a B2B marketer to do if they want to start telling engaging stories about their brand that will resonate with target customers?
• Make your content outward- rather than inward-focused: One mistake many B2B brands make is assuming that their target audiences care about, or even understand, their product or service. Start instead by assuming that THEY DO NOT. Instead of leading with content that hones in on all the wonderful features of your product or brand, focus instead on a commonly known problem facing the market within your industry – and detail how your product can provide relief to a common pain point. Solution-focused marketing will always be more universally relevant. Make it about them, not about you.
• Consider your audience(s): With your audience personas in hand, look at how all the pieces in your communications toolkit address the needs and wants of different buyers across your product lifecycle, and tailor your marketing communications accordingly. Aiming your content at a CEO or owner? Keep it high level and remember this audience will care mostly about ROI. Aiming it at a tech or financial audience? The details on technology and costs may be most pertinent. Consider the unique selling points you want to tout and then tailor those for your different audiences.
• Try it out first on Social Media: Not sure where to start? Why not begin with a campaign or two on the Social Media channel most relevant to your brand. Once you see the type of engagement from different audiences, you can go a step further with sponsored Social Media posts (very targeted and cost-effective). This enables you to see what types of stories and media are working well before you invest in more content or media buys.
• Focus on objectivity and credibility: Consider having your content drafted by someone with journalistic experience, rather than by a marketer. A journalist can help create targeted content that doesn’t feel too sales-oriented, one-sided or Pollyannaish. Your goal with content that reflects well on your brand is for people to 1) find value in it, 2) read it and want to read more, and 3) take an action. All of that is easier if you aren’t beating them over the head with a sales pitch.
• Give more than you take: Nobody likes click-bait. So when you are creating any type of branded content, remember that your audience will only trust you for so long. They will read your piece thoroughly if it truly brings them value. Don’t take advantage of that trust – or they’ll never read again.
Mach Media doesn’t have Ronaldo in our back pocket to do videos about your brand either. But we do have a track record of creating engaging and informative content for a variety of media. Let us know how we can help you.
By Cameron Heffernan, Director North America