The Internet brought with it new forms of marketing strategies, some of them even beating conventional tri-media in terms of reach and effectiveness. One of the more practical – and sought after – strategies is “brand journalism,” where brands both big and small use the approach of professional journalists to create, curate, and share expert content via blogs, articles, videos, or newsletters.
However, the problem with brand journalism is that it can compromise the integrity of the media brand, in your case, the newsletter – if it starts to give readers the impression that it’s merely a vehicle for marketing, then it starts to lose credibility as a newsletter. The result is a catch-22: you can’t use a newsletter for marketing if it’s not credible, but you can’t maintain a newsletter’s credibility if it’s used for marketing. In order to avoid falling into this pitfall, here are some tips for integrating brand journalism in your newsletters without tarnishing your newsletter’s reputation:
Content Should Be Branded
The newsletter content must be clearly identified as being branded content: this means the logo should be visible in the page header section, the brand name in the signature section next to the author, etc.
Avoid Using Promotional Content as Main Content
Your newsletter should not be devoted solely to promoting a product or brand. Get an editor who will watch over the content created by brands and ensuring that they don’t spill over to the newsletter’s main text. Additionally…
If you’re running promotional content, make sure you have a full disclosure stating that the content is meant to be promotional. Additionally, if an advertiser paid to have a product promoted in one of the articles. This is admittedly going to affect the effectiveness of the content, but it’s not enough to make them worthless and is definitely better than being ignored completely as readers get the impression that you’re putting one over them.
At the end of the day, what’s important to remember if you want to integrate brand journalism into your newsletter is that your readers are smart and will not take kindly to being treated like they aren’t. Avoid using manipulation or subterfuge just to promote something and you’ll have a newsletter that can build brands while still building a healthy relationship with its readerbase.