I was recently at a talk on journalism first time ever. I actually enjoyed it a lot and thought about zillions of related things while at it. A couple of days later, I realised that the talk had reinforced my views on three main issues that matter a lot for Content Strategy as a field.
The talk was on Brand Journalism, and it was given by the journalist and content strategist Carlos J. Campo, in the March session of the Content Strategy Barcelona Meet Up (to which you’re all invited, whether you live in Barcelona or are spending a couple of days in town).
Campo shared his views on how Brand Journalism is the unavoidable future for big, leading companies, and talked thoroughly about the changes that these companies will have to undergo in order to adopt this new type of journalism.
As I said, I think at least three of the things he mentioned about Brand Journalism are really worth bearing in mind for Content Strategy in general:
1. “It’s a long process, it will take time for companies to get ready and implement all the necessary changes to do Brand Journalism, and even longer for results to be visible.”
In a world of immediacy, it is crucial to bear in mind that things take time, especially complex things. Introducing Content Strategy practices in a company means introducing a lot of changes. And we all know human beings generally find change hard.
As Misty Weaver puts it in Content Strategy is change management, “Change isn’t just slow in academia and government.” Change is slow pretty much everywhere.
So let’s all bear in mind that introducing Content Strategy in a company may be a long, slow process. And that that’s ok. Of course, the sooner we start the process, the better.
2. “In companies that adopt Brand Journalism, the Marketing Department should depend on the Communications Department, not vice versa”.
While this is already so in many countries (though probably not in Spain), the point here really is that we need a unified approach, a general framework that gives all types of communication in a company a clear, coordinated direction.
Basically, we need to take the unified content strategy approach seriously. Diana Railton actually puts marketing and communication in the same slot in her diagram on content and strategic communications, but she unsurprisingly has them both under the general “Business Strategy” label, and talks about integrated strategic communications, which is what we all need.
When implementing a content strategy, remember to look around to make sure you’re not forgetting anyone.
3. “We do Brand Journalism to achieve a result that cannot be measured: influence.”
That was music to my ears. So the idea is to get big companies to invest a lot of money on something that will generate results that cannot be measured. I think this is an extremely important point.
There’s a general tendency to find it all very natural to link content with ROI, but I still believe that it’s highly difficult (and expensive) to measure the benefits of good content accurately, and that well, it doesn’t always make sense.
I’m not talking about content marketing here, I’m talking about investing on a good content strategy that makes it possible for organizations to create and manage efficient content in efficient ways.
The more we hear about investments that have intangible results, the better. Brand Journalism seems to be an interesting case. Here’s some more food for thought (and probably disagreement!): 3 Reasons you can’t measure social marketing ROI.
Campo’s talk raised many other interesting issues, most of them specific to Brand Journalism. If you want to know more about it, you can have a look at his own views on what is, and what isn’t Brand Journalism: Pistas para saber cuando algo es periodismo de marca. Or read Cristina Aced’s post Periodismo de marca: narrar la actualidad desde la perspectiva del cliente