Another major focus of the SXSWi sessions I attended last week was around how brands could harness digital content and provide meaningful information to their audiences as the lines of journalism, PR and marketing continue to converge.
In a session panel on the topic, the speakers opened with the proclamation “content is the new black” and explored how to appropriately harness content creation for brands, while remaining authentic and how to educate the larger organization on the goals and objectives of brand journalism.
The point that resonated most with me is the notion that every person at a brand is responsible for getting the right message across to your audience, not only communication professionals, but from top to bottom in every organization. The best communicators in the business are able to harness effective brand communication due to the fact that there are clear messages employees are aware of, and empowered to share.
Jesse Noyes, Corporate Reporter for Eloqua shared stats from a recent study that found 49% of companies will increase spending in content creation in 2012, but 41% of those surveyed say producing the kind of content that engages prospects/customers is their pain point, showing that companies are recognizing the need for content, yet still haven’t cracked the nut.
The main difference between traditional marketing channels and brand journalism is who you’re talking to. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of Marketing Profs said her rule of thumb is to “think of it as an audience, not a set of buyers. I think that’s a difference between journalism and marketing and sales.”