There’s a serious lack of charitable content in the business world
A few week’s ago I did a search on twitter to see what was being discussed around charitable content. Here’s what I found:
Not one person in the entire content industry is yet to discuss what charitable content could mean for businesses and charities.
I find this really interesting – not to mention surprising – as this is exactly where I see brand journalism playing a significant role.
Having just got back from Nepal where we helped a client report on the poor conditions of the fire fighters in Kathmandu, I can see the incredible potential for brand journalism to create accountability within the business world by enabling businesses to discuss, disclose and work within areas of their industry they normally wouldn’t… and in turn create a sense of responsibility amongst other businesses (all hail the snowball effect).
Brands have the opportunity to give a voice to those in need and to take an active role in areas of their industry they normally would shy away from.
My client (who yes, admittedly works in the field of fire fighting and fire fighting products) felt an affinity to the fire fighters in Kathmandu and wanted to use brand journalism techniques to get content producers over there with them. My client trained the brigade over there and we created the stories based on what we saw and learnt. As a result we also highlighted a lack of processes and some real issues when it came to equipment donations in this field.
The argument of course is that a brand that offers fire fighting products is serving the public more than say, a snack food company.
However, this is where accountability comes in…
Brand journalism could help create transparency across all industries and as such, there is opportunity for all businesses to produce news and research within their fields. They would of course have to support everything they were reporting on but by producing their own news and taking responsibility for backing their words, they are not producing great content, they are producing great content with great social impact.
The real issue at the moment – and the reason we probably don’t see #charitablecontent popping up – is that brand journalism is being shaped by those with little experience in journalism – people who want to create a label and make it work with whatever makes them money.
Brand journalism can (and should) be shaped by writers and journalists – there is a huge opportunity to shape this industry and make it work for the producer, the businesses and those without a voice.
Journalists should stop focusing on the fact they think brand journalism is an oxymoron and start doing something about it – we should start shaping brand journalism into something that looks more like journalism. Then and only then can we use our skills to make a real difference to the world and see the results of #charitablecontent.
Maybe brand journalism (led by journalists) could help create a culture of social corporate responsibility?