How to Engage Your B2B Audience through Brand Journalism
B2B Brand Journalism at Cisco
Cisco is a global technology innovator and leader, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that they are also a leader in the growing field of brand journalism. In a recent podcast I recorded with Kirsten Chiala, Digital Content Manager, Social Media Communications she took us behind the scenes to share why and how Cisco uses brand journalism to engage their B2B audience.
As Kirsten put it, brand journalism is like being next to the cool person at a party: they probably don’t talk much about themselves, but when they do, everyone listens.
Brand Positioning via Journalism
Like the cool person at the party, what you decide to talk about and share defines your company in the marketplace.
If you always talk about price, you will be seen as cost conscious, perhaps even a discount brand. If you consistently communicate stories about emerging trends in your industry, you will be seen as a thought leader. If you don’t adapt to the content consumption preferences of your audience, you will be at risk of falling behind your competition.
Obviously, you need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to reaching your audience.
Tell Your Stories Your Way
Identifying your audience’s channels and media preferences is a good beginning. Then, start (and keep) thinking like a media company.
- Deliver stories that combine business sense with emotional impact.
- Create packages of stories that approach the subject from different angles.
- Develop series of content that give the story a longer shelf life and keeps the audience coming back.
- Craft teasers and previews to drive your audience from social media to the main story.
Case in point, Cisco’s Focus monthly digital magazine:
FOCUS: A monthly online magazine
The monthly thematic online publication will spotlight the latest trends and news on technology, business and culture affecting the technology industry.
Planning Meets Agility
Your editorial calendar will become your best friend, keeping you on track while giving you the freedom to consider different stories and choosing to cover only the ones with the most promise.
Plan your content months in advance, yet take into account that you will need to react or respond to some circumstances on short notice. If something major happens in your industry or at your company, you wouldn’t want to have to wait two months before you report on it. One way to maintain flexibility is to plan content pieces that are not time sensitive in your calendar, so you can push them back at a moment’s notice.
In addition to your internal content team, reach out to departments within your organization to invite their contribution. For example, if you’re putting together a story package on security, reach out to the security subject matter experts within your company to invite their contribution. Give them plenty of advance notice. Offer to interview them to make it as easy as possible for them to contribute.
Cisco tapped Kirsten for this important role in large measure because of her 15+ years in broadcast journalism. Her overarching message to companies that want to integrate brand journalism into their content strategy, regardless of size and budget, is to try new things and take some risks. Don’t be afraid to do something different. Being different is good. Kirsten also points out that social media publishing tools such as Blab and Periscope offer opportunities to experiment with brand journalism.
To hear directly from Kirsten and learn more about the innovative ways Cisco is using brand journalism to engage their B2B audience, tune into the podcast.
View the show notes of this Social Business Engine podcast with Kirsten Chiala from Cisco to see what else you’ll discover.