Marketing is a trendy business.
A technique comes on the scene, we implement it, wait for some engagement, then pour over the analytics. And guess what trend is taking some solid roots in the content marketing space?
That’s music to this former newsie’s ears. I made the shift from traditional print media as a features reporter and photojournalist to content marketing a little over eight years ago, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the trend toward integrating journalism techniques into a solid marketing strategy.
So, What’s Happening to Marketing Writing?
A few weeks ago I interviewed a music therapist who works at a hospital in California. I wrote the resulting story in a newspaper feature style. The article was published on her employer’s niche website, a marketing hub to educate potential patients and their caregivers about the importance of wellness.
This company’s marketing strategy is multifaceted: educational, inspirational and promotional.
So, what made this story different than other marketing texts? It took several cues from a classic journalism 101 playbook.
⦁ Interview an expert and let them explain the topic
⦁ Integrate quotes into the final article to make the story original and engaging
⦁ Educate the reader on a topic (versus selling them a service)
⦁ Build a relationship with your reader by telling relatable scenarios or anecdotes
Skip the Advertising Lingo and Just Be Real
What you don’t see in this story is a sales pitch for the hospital. You don’t see an advertisement for their latest medical technology. You don’t see a link to get a quote for their services. The article is clearly not advertising. It’s marketing, pure and simple.
Readers learn about an employee and service the hospital offers in a very personal way, straight from the therapist offering the service by reading about her expertise and insight from first-hand experiences. There are no bullet point list of benefits or cut and paste definitions from a medical source.
I approached the assignment exactly the same way I would have tackled a feature story for the local newspaper. Some marketers and publishers are coining this approach ‘brand journalism’, because you’re using a journalism style to report on news and developments from brands or businesses.
As a reader and consumer, I prefer these types of articles over pushy language that tells me why I need or should buy a particular product or service. I feel journalism strengthens content marketing.
How do you feel about journalism techniques being used in marketing content production? Do you feel it improves marketing messages? Comment below.
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