Transitioning from media writing to brand journalism

Journalism and traditional newsrooms are  experiencing falling circulations  , which is forcing them to shrink their workforce. In Australia, between 2012 and 2014 alone, the number of journalists fell by 20%. Meanwhile, brand journalism is on the rise, which has attracted journalists to the “other” side.

But are media writing and brand journalism really so different?

Marketing, specifically content marketing, is getting ever closer to traditional If in a newsroom, you have editorial guidelines; increasingly you do when writing for brands, too. These set the standards for brand journalists to adhere to, and also the style/tone needed to set the brand apart from competition. The glue that binds it all together is the story. Do readers derive value from the story you’re writing?

Source: Prowly
Source: Prowly

Objective vs. Subjective

While the notion of objectivity is open to a lot of debate – in both journalism and brand journalism – consumers are still more likely to trust brands that appear impartial. That translates to content that is:

  • Not self-promotional

  • Credible

  • Helpful and relevant

  • Presenting different views/voices

According to HubSpot, there are four models of brand journalism: brand awareness, industry news, create & sponsor, lead generation. Regardless of what model it is, brand journalists should always endeavour to impart what they know in an objective manner.

Style of writing

Trained journalists know the inverted pyramid too well: juiciest bits at the top, less relevant stuff at the bottom.  have a limited attention span. Hence, this makes the transition a bit easier.

Source: University of Leicester
Source: University of Leicester


In journalism, we typically structure a story along these lines:who,what, when, where, how and why. The same applies to brand journalism.


Back in the old days, journalists often specialised in just one medium. Nowadays, multi-media journalists are more common as competition is fierce. Those skills, encompassing radio, TV, print, online writing, would transfer well to brand journalism.

  • Radio to brand podcasts

  • TV to brand videos

  • Print to brand magazines

  • Online to brand blogs

Journalists and media professionals are trained to adapt to different publications, topics and formats. Transitioning to brand journalism with its different models shouldn’t be a bridge  too far.