Future pacing: The colliding worlds of journalism and branded content

On the Brand Storytelling podcast, CEO & Co-Managing Partner of Brain+Trust Partners Scott Monty stops by to chat about the intersection of journalism and branded content. We also talk about how the news cycle is being led by brand publishing with traditional media stuck playing catch up. 

Scott also produces his own podcast, The Full Monty that unpacks the week’s digital news and offers his unique insights into the trending issues and opinions. 

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The who, what, where, why and how in this episode:

  • Who are the brands that should be pushing into the content space?
  • What are the future predictions we can make about branded content? 
  • Where does the future lie for the journalism industry.
  • Why brands should be looking to build bigger audiences for their content. 
  • How publishers can establish their content via brand storytelling. 

Preview of the show: 

Rakhal Ebeli: That’s something that I’m sure you tackle with your clients. What are some of the tips and tricks when you’re looking at a blank canvas, and someone comes to you and says, “I want to be a publisher of great content, brand storytelling.” What do you say are the most practical and pragmatic steps to start analyzing and then putting in place?

Scott Monty: The first thing is, what are you looking to achieve? You say you want to be a publisher, so you want to be a publisher. What do you want to get out of it, do you simply want more awareness, do you want to drive customer loyalty, do you want to drive leads? Are you getting ready for a big launch? There’s a whole number of questions that can be asked and answered with regard to what your sole purpose is for doing this. There’s nothing wrong with going after sales, but that’s a very, very different kind of approach than simply creating a better reputation for your brand, it’s a much different content approach. That’s really the first step. The second question is, who are you trying to reach? Is this something that is for customers, is it for suppliers, shareholders, employees, and on and on and on? It could be for all of those audiences, and in some cases, you may need to create different versions of content based on the audience that you want to reach.

The next question is, where do you want to reach them? It could be on different channels, and obviously different demographics, different age groups, they behave differently, they’re on different devices, different platforms, et cetera. You need to map that out. Very quickly you get to see that it’s a complex environment, it’s not just a case of, “Well, we’re opening our doors as being a publisher and we’re hiring traditionally writers,” but that’s becoming more the exception rather than the rule these days, because more often than not people are looking for visual storytellers, particularly videographers. That is a whole new talent for a lot of companies that have traditionally operated in the written space. You begin to get into this whole bouillabaisse if you will, of ingredients that are leading to your ultimate purpose.

Rakhal: It’s something that you can’t have one without the other without the other, so all these things need to be considered in conjunction with each other. When you’re starting to map that out and the client sees that there is a journey to be taking, do you also manage their expectations around their turnaround of acquisition of customers, leads and people who are loyal to your brand, or are you challenged with clients and businesses and brands that potentially want this to be like flicking a switch like a Google Ad Words campaign?

Scott: I think you have to set expectations up front that the content game is not a short-term solution. If you want immediate results, then go and pour more money into Google Ad Words, or to other kinds of advertising. If you’re becoming a publisher, that means that you’re doing a few things. First of all, you’re slowly and hopefully painstakingly creating an audience, because of things that you do consistently and repeatedly over time. This is how the game of trust works, and when you think about any publication that you frequent whether it’s on the web or on an aeroplane or whatever, you tend to have some kind of relationship with that publication, whether it’s a magazine or a newspaper, or obviously a website. You go there for a reason, you trust the reporting, you trust certain individuals there, the same thing needs to be taken into account here. Because of that, we obviously counsel clients on understanding that this is a long-term game. It may take a year or more to get the kind of results that they’re looking for sometimes.


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