Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

John tells a great story. I don’t care what he’s talking about, when he starts up I settle in for a grand experience. His words and gestures paint a picture that is vivid, believable and often funny. We all know someone like that.

Technology simply can’t replace a good story. No matter how many bells and whistles you utilize in order to spotlight your business or organization, you’re missing the main event if you don’t consider the value of a great yarn.

As humans, we’re wired to appreciate a good story. The oldest recorded story in history is said to be an epic tale told by Gilgamesh relating the deeds of a famous Sumerian king. The tale spread far and wide, from Mesopotamia to other parts of Europe and Asia. But, why?

Stories provide a vital way to share history, culture and news. They’re necessary for our survival. Stories educate and entertain. Stories influence thought and behavior. We often form opinions based on great tales – and the way they are told.

What is your story? Are you telling it effectively? Changes in communication delivery have changed the way that many businesses and organizations tell their stories. The evolution of what has become known as Brand Journalism has grown as choices to tell and present stories have grown.

So, what is Brand Journalism?

Increasingly people are expressing the desire to do business with those who have stories that speak to them. When you include quality narratives and content to your communication efforts, you not only increase awareness of your products and services, but you become more authentic. You are beginning to implement brand journalism.

What does it look like? The key is to remember that this type of communication will be specific to your business. Beginning with blogs and/or digital newsletters is common. Specific sites within your website may work very well. But remember that it must be original, not canned information, and it must be updated on a regular basis.

There are several different types of brand journalism. Brand Awareness is the type of story you tell to increase awareness of your business. It’s what you want people to know that may help you to connect with them. You aren’t trying to generate sales directly.

Industry News stories are those about your business as it relates to your own industry. It helps to establish credibility within your industry that may build credibility with others as well.

You can choose to Sponsor your own stories that position individuals within your business, or your business, as a thought leader in your industry or in your area of expertise. Consider your own independent site.

Finally, you may use your content as a way to generate leads that can be converted into customers. This is more closely aligned with traditional advertising.

Think audience. As with any communication effort, you must carefully consider who you are speaking to. Who is your audience and what types of stories are most likely to be effective? Typical audiences include customers, employees, donors, investors, prospects and the world at large.

Think style. Unlike traditional journalism, the words you choose should do more than simply inform. They should engage. And, unlike traditional advertising, your message should speak to others where they are. It should be authentic.

Brand journalism isn’t really new – it just has a new name. Telling the story of your business or organization has always been the most effective way to create a loyal customer base. Today we have more alternatives than just our talented friends to entertain and enlighten us. Use them!

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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