Cover yourself: Brand journalism and the new role of the communicator in the age of content

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What You’ll Learn:: 

You know how it feels. Maybe you’re still doing it.

You phone up a reporter. Say, “Hi, did you get my press release?” And then you cringe when you hear a click and a dial tone.

Those journalists. Most of the time they ignore you, and when they don’t, they get it wrong or pounce on the bad news.

It doesn’t have to be like that. A new era is upon us. You no longer live or die on whether you can beg traditional media to take notice of you.

Companies and other organizations are becoming their own media outlets, says Ragan Communications CEO Mark Ragan, a former Copley Newspapers national reporter. Gone are the days when organizations depended on traditional media and advertising channels alone to win new customers, build buzz and visibility, and engage decision-makers.

Today, smart brands overhaul their websites and social media channels to take messages directly to customers, stakeholders, the traditional media, and new influencers. On the lips of every marketer today is the mantra, “Content is the new marketing,” Mark says. His lessons are equally applicable to government and nonprofit communicators.

In this video session, you will learn how to:

  • Aggregate the best content in your niche;
  • Combine this content with research reports, how-to stories and user-generated information from community social media sites controlled by the brand;
  • Share content easily and instantly on many social media sites;
  • Use the new social media editor as a bridge between company content and influencers throughout the Web 2.0 world;
  • Establish a disciplined approach to content integration that guards against “build it and ignore it”;
  • Persuade senior leaders that brand journalism requires time and money—though it’s far less expensive than traditional advertising and direct marketing, it's not cheap;
  • Measure return on investment with clear goals and an understanding of what’s possible;
  • Integrate member-generated content into your company's Web 2.0 presence daily, including the new content site and social channels.

This trend, which has exploded over the last year, can be neatly summed up in three phrases: the organization as media outlet; the organization as the No. 1 content curator for customers, stakeholders, and employees; and the organization as community organizer.

Some visionary brands do this radically new marketing better than others, Mark says, citing real examples. The difference lies in how well they practice “brand journalism.”

Brand journalism offers customers, clients, and stakeholders news nearly indistinguishable from the content of a trade publication, a news site, or general circulation magazine.

Some visionary companies execute this radically new type of marketing better than others. The difference lies in how well they practice brand journalism. Learn how you can reshape your media landscape.

November 2012

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Presenter bio: 

Mark Ragan is publisher of PR Daily,, Health Care, and HR He is a former award-winning reporter at Copley Newspapers and The San Diego Union-Tribune, with extensive experience covering national and regional politics.