Marketers, keep your hands off of your company’s brand journalism

The surest way to kill your company’s brand journalism efforts is to let the marketing department interfere.

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I’ve been making this point—one I thought was fairly benign and obvious—to clients and at conferences and workshops where I speak. But when a participant in my workshop in Sydney last week tweeted the sentiment, it drew a rebuke that said telling marketing departments to stand back from content strategies is a harsh requirement.

Marketing is what companies do to promote and sell products or services. Organizations produce plenty of it. Brand journalism, though, is different. This is content that could be inspiring, clarifying, funny, useful, or just plain interesting. Because it has these characteristics, people will want to link to it, share it, and talk about it precisely because it’s not trying to pitch something.

As soon as it begins to smack of The Pitch, it loses its appeal.

The whole idea behind undertaking a content strategy is simple: If people aren’t talking about your company (or product or service), you don’t exist. You need content that will get people talking. Three conditions are compelling companies to create this ever-increasing stream of non-marketing content:

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