If you’ve been following the brand journalism debate, you’ll know a lot of wild claims are in play. A recent post on LinkedIn Pulse categorically stated brand journalism activity is only suitable for the upper reaches of the marketing funnel. It’s an amazing misperception because some of the most effective brand journalism is instrumental in closing business.

Case studies instrumental in closing business

You can’t get past case studies for bottom of the funnel content. Your company’s promotional voice is removed entirely as loyal customers offer insight and recommendations based on their own experience. This builds credibility and trust with your readers, often making huge differences in competitive sales situations. When I was selling, I never submitted a proposal without at least one case study attached. It was a way to include references so the prospective client could contact your customer for more information and frank discussion. I’ve never written a blog post that could seal a deal but a case study performs that vital task on a regular basis.

If you want to know more about case studies, shoot me an email.

Where brands are getting it wrong

But there’s another problem with trying to put content into pre-defined compartments. The sales funnel is just as broken as traditional media and for much the same reason. Consumer behaviour has changed and consumers don’t respect the old model. Forrester research shows buyers control their own journey. They no longer enter at the top of the funnel and let themselves be managed down to a sale. They jump in and jump out. They may start at the bottom and work their way up. They surf, share, discover, search and stumble upon content in a chaotic fashion. For this reason, it’s absolutely vital your content marketing strategy provides something to appeal to your target audience when and where they’re looking for information.

Brand journalism as part of a content marketing strategy

Brand journalism is a burgeoning sector of the content marketing discipline. As more people realise the potential a journalistic approach to marketing provides, debate about where it fits into current business practice will abate. A continued focus on a content marketing strategy tied to business objectives will guide content creation for every stage of the buying process. You’ll begin to enjoy more conversions while building a library of tangible business assets with your marketing investment.

If you’d like to find out more about brand journalism or clear the fog on conflicting information you’ve read, let’s have a chat. The coffee is on me.

- by Sarah Mitchell