Think like a journalist to showcase the human side of your business

By Sara Meaney, Comet Branding,

The Wizard of Oz had it all wrong. The bluff and bluster of The Great and Powerful Oz succeeded at one thing only: keeping people at a distance. What Dorothy and her friends really needed was access to the man behind the curtain. Yet only when they outed the real Oz were they able to get the solutions they needed.

People seek out what is real.

So what is it about going behind the scenes or watching the outtakes of a movie that make us want to sit through all the credits? It’s real. It’s human. Like the rest of us, your brand’s audience craves proof of the existence of reality in the people and things that we are accustomed to seeing as infallible. It makes brands more endearing, more accessible and more real.

Build your brand’s credibility as a resource.
The value of traditional media outlets as a trusted source of information is reliant upon their ability to build and maintain credibility. Good journalists tell great stories through a combination of words and images, and their stories come alive through the delicate balance of facts, information and colorful details that dance together in the form of a story. Start by consistently sharing interesting, factual and colorful stories about your brand to establish your credibility.

Advocate for objectivity.
So what is the difference between journalists and brand marketers? Objectivity – despite intrinsic human biases. Become an advocate within your organization for the creation of content that showcases the human side of your business, without the bias of marketing messages. Focus on human stories that demonstrate your brand’s attributes without relying on repetitive product or service messaging.

Capture the interest of your audience.
The ability to tell real stories about what makes your products and services relevant to your audience isn’t merely enough. You’ll also need to be interesting and compelling enough to keep them coming back for more. It’s not about telling stories about your products and services – note the difference. Keep it relevant, timely and engaging in order to capture the interest of your audience and hold them for as long as you can.  Which isn’t long.

Seek out interesting stories that demonstrate your brand’s attributes.

Just as trained journalists mine sources for facts, images and kernels of interest, so must we mine our organizations and brands for those things that make our offering more approachable and more real. Sometimes those stories are found in places you never considered looking before.

Consider the potential power in these types of brand stories: Why is your 35-year employee so loyal? What makes your biggest customer confident enough in your service to refer colleagues to you? Who designed the innovative shape of your best-selling widget and how did she do it? Who keeps your building’s impressive and beautiful atrium so shiny? Talk to them. You might be surprised at the power of the stories from within. It is these human stories that give your audience memorable and endearing reasons to think about your brand as it relates to their lives, not just their need for your widget. Human stories transcend products and services and attach themselves to lives and memories. Imagine the power of that for your brand.

Thinking like a journalist whose beat includes your brands and related industries will help you discover the yellow brick road toward building credibility with your audience. Then and only then will your brand rise above the online noise and become a trusted and real resource to your audience.

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