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The difference between content marketing and brand journalism

Coming from a content marketing background, I can honestly say that there’s quite a clear distinction between these two practices. However, they’re often blurred – and understandably so. Many people see brand journalism as a new player in the content marketing industry but it’s actually always been there (in principle if not in definition).

As the content marketing industry develops, niche elements of this multi-faceted industry are starting to rise to the top and develop into their own individual beings. The most core of these elements is brand journalism.

To try and define this, let’s take a look at what content marketing does:

Content marketing is the process of creating content and amplifying it in order to grow an audience, generate brand awareness, convert leads, drive traffic or simply market a product.

The word ‘marketing’ is the focus here – there is a responsibility for content marketers to ‘market’ the content they produce and incorporate wider strategies such as social media amplification, content syndication, SEO, PR and even paid media (assisting elements designed to help drive the reader back to the owned content platform). Essentially, content marketing is an all-encompassing approach to the creation and marketing of content. And it’s the brand journalists who sit at the core of this.

Now let’s have a look at brand journalism: 

Ok, so at the core of content marketing we have brand journalism – the people who create the content with a journalistic mindset. Brand journalism is the creation of content that adheres to an objective of entertaining, educating, inspiring and generally building a relationship with the reader. The reason it is called brand ‘journalism’ is because it’s the job of a journalist to do this, not a marketer.

It’s a journalistic practice to find the stories that are most relevant to the target audience and to tell these stories in a human way. It’s not marketing-speak, it’s not copywriting; it’s editorial-style content created purely for the consumer.

So, if content marketing is the fire that feeds the creation and amplification of content, brand journalism is what ignites the process.

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