Brand journalism
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Rise of the UK Brand Journalist Journalists as Content Marketers A report by NewsCred, April 2015/ ©NewsCred / /+44 (0) 203 701 0400/ Table of Contents 1 Introduction 3 Methodology 4 Key Stats: At a Glance 5 What Makes a Great Brand Journalist? 11 The Value of the In-house Team and Who Makes it Tick 18 Case Study: GE 19 Bigger Budgets, Better Content 22 Case Study: Asos 23 Measuring Value from Social to Sales 24 Case Study: Telefonica 25 The Brand Journalist in Five Years 29 The Brands That Excite Marketers and Brand Journalists 30 Conclusion 31 About NewsCred Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers Introduction by Shafqat Islam, CEO and co-founder, NewsCred Brand journalism is undoubtedly gaining both popularity and credibility. With the trend of brands becoming publishers well under way, the talented writers brands recruit are key to producing the relevant and insightful copy that audiences demand. © 2015 NewsCred It is not just a trend. A week rarely goes by without another announcement of a company adding revered brand journalists to their brandled content team. In March, for example,Metro newspaper hired three more people for its in-house creative division, “Story.” They include Rachel Tarley, who left MailOnline to become one of Story’s commercial editors.



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Published 13 November 2015
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Language English
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Rise of the UK Brand Journalist Journalists as Content Marketers
A report by NewsCred, April 2015 / © NewsCred / / +44 (0) 203 701 0400 /
Table of Contents
1Introductîon 3Methodology 4Key Stats: At a Glance 5What Makes a Great Brand Journalîst? 11The Value o the In-house Team and Who Makes ît Tîck
18Case Study: GE
19Bîgger Budgets, Better Content 22Case Study: Asos 23Measurîng Value rom Socîal to Sales 24Case Study: Teleonîca
25The Brand Journalîst în Fîve Years 29The Brands That Excîte Marketers and Brand Journalîsts 30Conclusîon
31About NewsCred
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
Introduction by Shafqat Islam, CEO and cofounder, NewsCred
Brand journalîsm îs undoubtedly gaînîng both popularîty and credîbîlîty. Wîth the trend o brands becomîng publîshers well under way, the talented wrîters brands recruît are key to producîng the relevant and însîghtul copy that audîences demand.
© 2015 NewsCred
It îs not just a trend. A week rarely goes by wîthout another announcement o a company addîng revered brand journalîsts to theîr brand-led content team. In March, or example,Metronewspaper hîred three more people or îts în-house creatîve dîvîsîon, “Story.” They înclude Rachel Tarley, who let MaîlOnlîne to become one o Story’s commercîal edîtors.
What organîsatîons that învest în brand journalîsm are dîscoverîng îs that î storytellîng îs done well, underlyîng brand messages wîll cut through the crowd – î the tone îs rîght, o course. But ît’s easîer saîd than done.
In NewsCred’s‘Rise of the UK Brand Journalist’report, our survey o 50 brand journalîsts and 50 marketers reveals the spectrum o pressures aced by both în theîr quest or creatîng qualîty content. These înclude pressure to secure undîng or new staf that understand the brand, tell great storîes,anddemonstrate a return on învestment as well as the demand or beîng contînually creatîve whîle producîng engagîng, relevant, and înormatîve storîes.
Creatîvîty îs în act deemed the number one asset or a brand edîtor accordîng to our research, surpassîng wrîtîng skîlls as the most împortant value and demonstratîng that thîs îs now beîng taken as a gîven. Thîs îsn’t surprîsîng at all when you consîder that a brand journalîst îs responsîble not just or creatîng content, but or beîng commercîally accountable. Thîs ormîdable combînatîon îs provîng to be a challenge when
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
© 2015 NewsCred
ît comes to recruîtment. Understandîng the commercîal element o a brand journalîst’s role îs so crucîal, and perhaps why our research reveals that82%o marketers actually have an în-house content team, and find thîs set-up more efectîve.
Thîs mîndset, coupled wîth the act that64%o the marketers we polled are plannîng to încrease theîr content marketîng eforts thîs year, proves that we have yet to see the best o what brand journalîsm can produce — especîally as just 38%eel theîr current content eforts are ‘very’ efectîve.
Brand journalîsts too are contînuîng to dîscover what opportunîtîes lîe wîthîn the branded content arena.51%o the brand journalîsts we surveyed belîeve theîr career choîce ofers as much satîsactîon as tradîtîonal journalîsm. 73%eel confident ît wîll be consîdered a more maînstream proessîonal choîce în five years’ tîme.
In the years to come, the brand journalîst wîll play an întegral role not just or the marketîng department but or busînesses as a whole, especîally as the brands as publîshers evolutîon has already begun. The challenge now îs how brand journalîsts make theîr mark wîth edîtorîal and commercîal prowess and raîse the bar or both proessîons o marketîng and journalîsm.
Shaqat Islam
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
The survey o brand edîtors and senîor marketers was conducted or NewsCred by WITH PR and Redshît Research.
© 2015 NewsCred
50 UK brand journalîsts, workîng both clîent and agency sîde, were polled în February and March 2015 usîng an emaîl învîtatîon and onlîne survey. The 50 brand journalîsts încluded heads o content, content managers, e-edîtors, CRM edîtors, managîng edîtors, content dîrectors, senîor content executîves, content strategîsts, content marketîng managers, websîte managers, edîtor-în-chîes, global edîtors and campaîgn
managers. Industrîes încluded travel, ashîon, retaîl, consumer technology, B2B, finance, e-commerce, events, onlîne bettîng and IT.
The 50 UK senîor marketers were polled vîa a Redshît proessîonal onlîne panel and came rom a sîmîlar but undîsclosed cross sectîon o îndustrîes.
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
Key Facts: At a Glance
32% o marketers and 41% o brand journalîsts consîder creatîvîty the core value or a brand edîtor
73% o brand journalîsts say brand journalîsm wîll be consîdered a maînstream career choîce în five years
© 2015 NewsCred
o8market2ers hav%ean în-house content team, whîle 56% work wîth an agency to create content
54% o marketîng companîes have a content manager role
51% o brand journalîsts see brand journalîsm careers oferîng as much satîsactîon as tradîtîonal journalîsm
o7brand3journalî%stsbelîeve theîr content budget wîll încrease
48% o marketers say they wîll învest more în content thîs year
63% o brand journalîsts find ît reasonably dîicult to hîre content team members
56% o marketers eel socîal medîa tractîon îs the most împortant measure, whîle or brand journalîsts ît îs vîews and shares
84% o marketers agree that the îndustry wîll develop clear standards o measurement or evaluatîng the ROI o content marketîng în the next five years
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
What Makes a Great Brand Journalist?
It’s oicîal – creatîvîty and commercîal awareness trump wrîtîng abîlîty when ît comes to the top attrîbutes a brand journalîst should possess, accordîng to both the marketers and brand journalîsts NewsCred surveyed or thîs report.
© 2015 NewsCred
NewsCred’s research reveals that consîstently beîng able to come up wîth creatîve content îdeas îs consîdered the bîggest challenge or36%o the marketers surveyed. Creatîvîty îs deemed the core value or a brand edîtor or32%, compared wîth the12%who thînk wrîtîng îs the most împortant skîll — despîte an obvîous need to be a great storyteller. Rather than wrîtîng beîng taken or granted, ît appears that strong wrîtîng îs beîng taken as a gîven, and the other elements on top o that are what separate the wheat rom the chaf.
The brand journalîsts questîoned în our survey are în lîne wîth marketers, wîth41%agreeîng that the most împortant skîll or a brand edîtor should be creatîvîty. Consumers are hungry or 24/7 content, but wîth încreasîngly short attentîon spans and growîng competîtîon or theîr engagement, brands ace an on-goîng battle to devîse resh and excîtîng storîes or dîferent medîa.
Many may find thîs surprîsîng, gîven that wrîtîng îs perceîved to be the cornerstorne or how a journalîst conducts theîr busîness day în and day out, whether they work or a brand or otherwîse. But thîs îsn’t surprîsîng at all when you realîse that a great brand journalîst doesn’t just tell shareable storîes, but has an împortant role to play în buîldîng credîbîlîty and trust în the brand. It just îsn’t as sîmple as replîcatîng the unctîon and role o the tradîtîonal journalîst when ît comes to takîng thîs posîtîon brand-sîde.
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
© 2015 NewsCred
Desired Skills of a Brand Editor
What îs the most împortant skîll a brand edîtor should have?
Commercîal Awareness
Socîal Medîa Skîlls
Brand journalîsts
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
The brand journalîsts we surveyed are on the lookout or solutîons that are conducîve to maxîmîsîng creatîvîty. Theîr top three prîorîtîes or 2016 are to create more orîgînal content (a prîorîty or69%), branch out înto new ways o promotîng content or ree (67%) and expand înto new content orms/medîums (63%).61%also expect to încrease the sîze o theîr content team.
Our results also show that37%o the brand journalîsts surveyed expect to leverage more user-generated content over the next year and16%wîll lîcense more content rom other publîshers to urther ease the creatîve pressure.
Whîle the demand or delîverîng contînual creatîvîty îs real, so îs understandîng how a commercîal împeratîve înfluences the role and perormance o the brand journalîst. There can be dîscrepancîes between the brand vîsîon the
© 2015 NewsCred
marketîng team îs tryîng to achîeve vîa content and the short-term înterests o the sales team. As one respondant comments, “One o the bîggest challenges as a brand edîtor îs strîkîng the balance between the need to buîld brand and story-tellîng as well as findîng the more unctîonal (conversîon/lead generatîon) approach.”
The commercîal/creatîve conundrum îs also partîcularly pertînent when ît comes to recruîtîng content team members.63%o our brand journalîst respondents say ît îs dîicult to hîre
content team members, perhaps hîghlîghtîng that there are many candîdates who can wrîte, but those who can do thîs proficîently and be commercîally savvy are hard to come by. Among brand journalîsts, findîng people wîth the rîght marketîng and commercîal skîlls îs the most dîicult task when recruîtîng wrîters or33%o those surveyed. Unearthîng people wîth the rîght edîtorîal skîlls îs a close second at29%, demonstratîng that wrîtîng îsn’t completely overlooked or commercîal savvîness.
Commercîal prowess îs perhaps not surprîsîngly more o a paîn poînt or the marketers we surveyed.32%say they struggle to find people who understand theîr brand well enough when hîrîng.32%say recruîtîng people wîth the rîght marketîng background îs a real challenge. Thîs îs consîdered a prîorîty over wrîtîng skîlls, whîch 24%o the marketers we polled say îs împortant.
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
© 2015 NewsCred
Desired Skills of a Brand Editor
How dîicult do you or your company find ît to hîre content team members?
Not At All Dîicult
Somewhat Dîicult
Reasonably Dîicult
Very Dîicult
No Opînîon
Brand journalîsts
Rise of the UK Brand Journalist: Journalists as Content Marketers
© 2015 NewsCred
Challenges in Hiring
What îs the hardest part o recruîtîng the rîght people or your content team?
Fîndîng people...
...who understand our brand
...wîth the rîght marketîng background
...wîth the rîght edîtorîal background
Brand journalîsts