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Brand publishing or brand journalism is simply the strategy of practicing journalism, but for marketing.
Brand publishing describes how brands (businesses) directly publish content for their customers, their prospects, and to the world at large.
This post is part of a series and here is the link to the main glossary page.
Why brand publishing matters
A brief history of
Believe it or not, brand publishing predates the Internet by about 80 years.
The Furrow was a quarterly magazine published by John Deer from at least 1897.
It came out every quarter, was distributed for free at farmer supply stories, and was filled with articles of interest to farmers. Crop rotations, water conservation, fertilizer use, etc.
And it was full of ads for John Deere products and services.
Internet publishing became practically free with the advent of software platforms like WordPress, and at first people published things that were of interest to them. Such as housewives in Iraq telling stories of the US occupation, and bicycle enthusiasts publishing stories about long distance cycling, etc.
And at some point, the people in marketing realized that blogs could be used to publish what are in effect online magazines, and content marketing was born.
But content marketing is more than “just” blogs
Brand publishing/journalism is the basis of what we call Content Marketing or Inbound Marketing and is being driven by two big trends:
The cost of publishing through a website has dropped to almost nothing.
Most people now start their purchasing by doing some form of research online.
Why does it work?
For one thing, brands can directly communicate
We have trust issues with many brands, and for good reasons.
Our society is full of stories of unethical corporation behavior. Some ARE hard to trust.
And while content marketing all by itself can never resolve these trust issues, but the ability to publish directly to their audience on their website means they can say things unfiltered by anyone but them.
We are drowning in ads
Additionally, we are all increasingly bombarded with advertising messages, most of which we filter out. Which renders traditional advertising approaches less effective then they once were.
People search online before buying
This just IS how people shop now. And if you don’t publish, they’ll never find you.
And… stories get through
We love stories. I think the popularity of podcasts attests to that. We may even be biologically wired to love stories.
Thus enters the practice of brand publishing or brand journalism. Customers make decisions based on the stories they hear.
Brand publishing/journalism is a way of communicating to customers and potential customers in story format, and when customers read and hear good stories, they feel better towards the brand.
Brand publishing/journalism is all about journalism-style stories about the problems they solve, the people they serve, etc., that helps readers learn, and (hopefully) want to know more.
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