By Brooke Parker
“Consumers today are less responsive to traditional media. They are embracing new technologies that empower them with more control over how and when they are marketed to.” – Jim Stengel, global marketing officer, P&G
One could say the brand of traditional media needs some serious PR help. Reports have stated that people trust search engines more than traditional media. In the recent presidential election, conversations of fake news were spread across social media concerning the ethics of the media. With polar opposite news channels and few in between, view points were separated and were fed news that was not from a credible source.
Thankfully, people immediately began to notice the curated fake stories and made great attempt to find the real ones. Although major news sources weren’t cranking out completely false stories (we hope), it is easy to blame them. This of course leads to an overall distrust in all traditional media outlets. However, any public relations professional can see this as a major opportunity.
The public relations industry needs the media and the media needs public relations. The traditional media won’t cease to exist, but it may see a major change in the near future. Lucky for public relations professionals, we have a way to influence it.
As consumer behavior changes and advertisements are looked past, public relations has become a large part of marketing a product. Instead of directly pushing a product toward consumers (interruption marketing), public relations use permission marketing that involves communication from the producer to the consumer and vice versa. To do this, public relations professionals must create content that consumers want to interact with. Think, blogs about how products change lives, a story on a life long customer or a social media campaign.
News from a brand keeps consumers updated on products just like friends on Facebook. This public relations phenomenon is called brand journalism and we will soon see much more of it.
Although brand journalism doesn’t tell consumers about the weather, it may share a story about the chicken noodle soup that will help you through cold days. Brand journalism relates to the public in real time and is influenced by what is going on throughout society. Sound like news jacking? Well, it can be. However, brand journalism is more than stealing the fire from news.
Brand journalism can come from an organizations interior, such as a feature story on an employee that may resonate with an audience. Creative thought from public relations professionals can lead to content around philanthropic events, the community, cause marketing and events the organization is hosting. Brand journalism gives an organization the opportunity to be transparent with its audience and share its story.
So, will brand journalism take over traditional media? No. They are two different ways of telling news. However, at the height of distrust in traditional media, brand journalism may have an influence on it.
Traditional media isn’t meant to sell a product and either is brand journalism. Telling a brand’s story is meant to make the public aware and in their minds when they go to the store to pick up a box of cereal. Brand journalism can be difficult to measure in terms of profit gain, but will make consumers more aware of a brand.
Brand journalism may not become more apparent in traditional media, but will be throughout varied organizations. Most organizations have a blog along with social media that is updated frequently. It keeps consumers updated on the brand but won’t tell the weekly forecast.
Follow Brooke on Twitter @parkebrooke