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August 27, 2012 • 5:39 pm 0
I hired 15 full-time journalists to work at IBM in the early 1990’s to do what has become known as brand journalism. They reported on our products, services, and customers. They followed most of the guidelines in this article. Want to get started? This is how:
February 27, 2012 • 2:16 am 0
I’ve been seeing a lot of links to bloated writing lately. Stop!
Don’t tell jokes, anecdotes, unrelated opinions, etc. before getting to the point. Keep it short and direct to the subject or you’ll loose your viewer.
Make your point first, then you can expand on the subject with the other stuff.
August 12, 2011 • 3:26 pm 4
In the 1500’s through the 1800’s, Ben Franklin, Samuel Sewell, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, and many others published what were called pamphlets – short small booklets with their news, ideas, and opinions (their content) about contemporary affairs.
Sounds like a blog doesn’t it?
There were thousands of these printed. In one reference they have more than 15,000 titles: Pamphlets in American History
How did a reader comment on another person’s pamphlet? They published their own as James Chalmers, a loyalist, did within weeks after Thomas Paine printed Common Sense.
The topics varied from war to women, civil liberties to labor, tariffs to free trade, taxes to finance, capitalism to socialism, religion to atheism, and many more.
Hmm, sounds like 2011, not 1711, doesn’t it?
A few examples are shown below:
The Rights of Man
Thomas Paine, 1791
Thomas Paine, 1776
James Chalmers, 1776 (an answer within weeks of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense) – The first blog comment?
A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain
Benjamin Franklin, 1722
The Selling of Joseph (Is Slavery Christian?)
Samuel Sewell, 1700
How Does God Cause Earthquakes?
Thomas Prince, 1755
The Loyal Convert – A royalist pamphlet
Francis Quarles, 1644
Why is this important you ask? Publishing content is an American tradition. Anyone that could afford it, published – not just newspaper and book publishers.
The cost has come down and the form has changed (print = newsletter postcards), e-mail newsletters, and various types of Internet channels. But publish we do.
We publish on politics, economics, history, current events, religion, and of course marketing – after all at our core, Americans are merchants.
I was the first multimedia producer at the IBM PC Division. One of my roles was managing editor of one of the first professional blogging groups – 15 full-time freelance journalists that wrote about our products, services, and customers – in 1987. The first brand journalism group that I know of.
We published on Internet Newsgroups, Forums, and Weblogs. Some of the content was used in an old medium: print [something called press releases… plus brochures, magazines, newsletters, and product packaging.]
So the next time you’re thinking about getting into blogging, remember, it’s not new – you’re just late in getting started.
If you need some help, contact me. My name is Mike – and I’m your publishing friend. MikeBrown (at) BrownLtd (dot) com
July 21, 2011 • 4:17 pm 0
You can call me anything you want as long as I get paid and you don’t call me late for dinner.
I’ve been doing “brand journalism” and content marketing since the 1980’s at IBM. Before that I was a national magazine and newspaper reporter, contributing editor, stringer, feature writer, managing editor, etc… Lots of titles.
It’s all semantics.
The lines between a classical journalist and a content maker are blurred almost beyond recognition.
I’ve had magazines ask me to write puff pieces for advertisers for their news section. I’ve produced videos for companies that ended up as segments on Discovery or a local affiliate, I’ve produced “News Minutes” for radio that focused on an advertiser’s product or service, and on and on.
Media company journalists are content makers. So are brand journalists.
The media company will say they are objective and don’t take a position on a story. The brand journalist clearly takes a position. Do you believe the media company?
I’ve learned since sitting in media company editorial meetings pitching stories: There is little, if any, objectivity.
The fact that an editor or editorial staff would choose to run a story on a celebrity divorce, instead of a story on the Marines that were killed this week in a war zone, automatically demonstrates bias. They are biased based on what their audience wants and their business model vs. what really is important news.
The act of choosing a particular story, one quote over another, who to quote, one fact over another fact, is an act of bias. There’s very little that’s “objective” about it.
Each writer and editor brings all their experience and baggage to the party. You can try to fake objectivity, but using judgment about a story is an act of subjectivity.
The news business is a business first. The “code of journalism ethics” is a fairy tale [Oh, there I’ve gone and said it – let the hate email begin]. Nice thing to aspire too but not followed or in most cases not practical. The code is to sell eyeballs and ears, as many as you can, so you can increase ad revenue, not some lofty goal of news nirvana.
The only reason there is evening news from a local affiliate TV station is to put content around the advertising – not the other way around. Do you really care about the car wrecks, burglaries somewhere else, weather emergencies outside your neighborhood, etc? What is the journalism “code” for that?
It’s great to tell all sides of a story. That’s what hard news and feature journalists are supposed to do. But it’s rare when it happens for a lot of reasons: time, space, budget, knowledge…
Most Americans trust journalists less than lawyers or car and real estate salespeople. Why? Because they know objectivity is a myth. They would rather that the writer/producer just be honest about it… like brand journalists are.
Brand Journalism (or whatever you want to call it) – helpful information that customers and prospects care about, usually told as a story – has driven more press to my employers and clients than thousands of press releases.
In fact, I have publishers from newspapers, magazines, and GMs from TV stations contact me to get in on the action. They figure it’s better to find a way to work together than compete. It’s all about the quality of the content and the analytics. Get more eyeballs than the press, and the press will come running.
How about this for a title: I’m a for-profit content maker. No? Better yet, just call me paid.