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Posts Tagged ‘career development’

Just what is this thing called Brand Journalism? And why do I like it?!

April 26, 2014 2 comments
My wife and I have made a living doing brand journalism (aka content marketing).

My wife and I have made a living doing brand journalism (aka content marketing).

Every now and then, you get some clarity. You find something that sums up precisely what you have been trying to convey. That happened for me this week when I read this entry by Ann Wylie in Public Relations Tactics (April 2014):  

“Content marketing — aka brand journalism — is relevant, valuable and interesting information that you publish, post or present in owned, not rented, media. Instead of pitching your products and services, content marketing messages position your organization as an expert in your field. Not just blog posts and status updates, content marketing includes conference speeches (and your coverage of them), bylined articles, marketing magazines and e-zines, and more.”

That’s it! That’s what I do, and plan to do for years to come: Brand Journalism!

In recent years, I’ve defined myself as a “public relations professional with social media experience” or a “digital strategist.” I’ve tried to weave in my experience with content strategy for websites and intranets. I’ve spoken about my passion for social media and love of internal communications. I’ve talked about how I get great satisfaction out of researching, planning, implementing and evaluating strategic communications plans that support business goals.

Yes, I am a public relations professional. I do have social media experience. I have worked on digital strategy, although I like to pull in experts to assist with technical aspects such as web design, SEO and online advertising.

So there you go: I’m a Brand Journalist! That’s my passion. It’s my sweet spot… my groove.

It makes sense, really. I worked as a newspaper and editor for a dozen years before entering corporate and then government and then, again, corporate PR/communications/marketing. Heck, I started covering basketball games for my hometown newspaper as a 15-year-old. My dad drove me to my first assignment.

I feel in the flow while developing a strategic communication plan — and then pulling together content that helps educate, inform and entertain key audiences, those that could make or break my employer.  It gets my juices flowing writing a human interest article or Q/A with a thought leader; collaborating with a creative designer, photographer or videographer; tracking viewership and getting feedback for improvement…

I think that’s why I did internal communication for so long. It was so cool to segment audiences, foster two-way communication with them, integrate an intranet, town hall meetings, e-mails, broadcast voice mails…

Then, social media came along — and I got the great fortune of tapping its power to build mutually beneficial relationships via blogs, web chats, YouTube, streaming video and social networks. I experienced how the online supports the offline, how setting up a strategic speakers bureau integrates with a continuing series of web chats. Meantime, I saw my wife help many, many people thrive while living with cancer and other chronic illnesses through her blog and Facebook page. She had gained a bunch of experience in healthcare marketing communications before cancer entered her life.

I hope this blog entry helps you more precisely define what you do. I suspect that there are a bunch of us former journalists now working in PR, marketing and communications who sometimes fumble with describing their focus. It’s a continually evolving area, with the blurring of lines between PR, marketing, advertising and digital — and, dare to say, journalism. Technology has given us the power to “go direct” with key audiences and influencers as never before. Networking is on steroids.

Footnote: Just realized that this post has a bunch of I’s, when this as actually been a We endeavor. Brand Journalism is a team effort that involves supportive leadership, collaborative teammates, outside resources. It definitely is not a go-alone proposition. We’re all in this together.

 

Career tips for those entering (or in) PR

February 13, 2011 4 comments

Yesterday morning (a Saturday), I spent nearly an hour on the telephone with a college student who had a number of career-related questions. She’s interested in public relations after first thinking about broadcast journalism. She was working on a paper for a class — and had a number of good questions.

Here are a few of the ideas I shared with her, based on my 12 years in journalism and 18 in public relations:

(1) Get as much experience as you can. Do internships. Volunteer to help a non-profit. Work for a campus publication or broadcast outlet. Write for your hometown newspaper…

(2) Get involved in professional organizations, such as PRSSA. Volunteer to serve on committees. Lead projects. Develop your leadership abilities and teamwork skills…

(3) Become proficient in as many software tools as possible — everything from Adobe to WordPress. Learn to do web pages and desktop publish newsletters, brochures and posters. Know the latest with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare…

(4) Read blogs such as Strategic Public Relations by Kevin Dugan and Bootcamp Digital by Krista Neher. Know what the leaders are saying and doing…

(5) Read career-development books such as Stop Peeing on Your Shoes by Julie Bauke and Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand by Wiliam Arruda and Kirsten Dixon. Both books have helped me very much in my long, strange trip of a career.

(6) Network, network, network — both in-person and online. See what you can bring to the professional relationship, not what you can get out of it. Give, and you shall receive.

We covered lots of other ground, too. Would love to hear what ideas you have about career development.