A couple of weeks ago, Clay Morgan
and I were in a new business meeting, talking to the prospect about why we do integrated communications.
We explained that we don’t do just media relations anymore because more and more journalists are looking for social proof when working with the leaders of organizations.
They want to know you can put a sentence together that isn’t self-serving, which can be demonstrated through a blog.
They want to know you have the social media power to help extend the stories they may write that mention you, which can be demonstrated through an engaged Facebook fan page or Twitter stream.
Which is why it’s so important to—at the very least—integrate earned media with owned and shared media.
Then I made the wisecrack that I can’t very well co-author "Marketing in the Round
," a book about integrating your marketing and communications, and not require it of my business and of our client’s organizations.
Clay, with his vast newspaper experience, explained how journalists are being judged (and promoted—or not) on how many page views they generate.
It makes sense, then, they would want the power of your blog and your social media to help them drive page views. Help them help you.
Which leads me to the ROI of brand journalism.
Take long-form content as an example. In an American Journalism Review
article titled, “Breathing Life into New Stories
,” Mary Clare Fischer interviews people who are taking their organizations in this direction.
, the editor of "The Best American Sports Writing" series
and content editor for the long-form section at SB Nation
, said about long-form content:
If you’re only on a page for 10 seconds, you’re not going to be engaged by an ad at all. If you’re on a page for 20 minutes, and an ad can engage you for 10 seconds or 20 seconds or 30 seconds, if it’s got video and nice graphics and music and everything, ha ho, that’s a whole different thing. That’s a business model that can go forward.
Minus the “ha ho” (which I kind of love), think about that for a minute.
If you blog now and the average time a person spends on your site is 90 seconds (the average for Spin Sucks), they’re likely not going to be engaged by an ad or sponsored content that takes up a third of their visit time.
If you have long-form content combined with compelling videos and podcasts and an engaged community, it’s highly likely the 30-second piece of sponsored content is going to make it into their consciousness because they’re spending significantly more time on your site.
That, my friends, is the ROI of brand journalism.
[RELATED: Get advanced brand journalism tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela!]
Increased page views and increased time spent on your site equal money, which is why journalists want to know how you can help them do the same.
If you’re willing to test sponsored content (or native advertising) and sponsorships and other non-invasive forms of advertising—and prove you can increase page views and the amount of time a visitor spends with your content—you can charge more.
Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. and blogs at Spin Sucks, where a version of this article originally appeared.