At present the focus of much brand journalism is on page views: how to track them, increase them, and lengthen engagement time. After all, if journalism is supporting a brand’s mission, doesn’t it make sense to aggressively get as many eyeballs as possible?
Not necessarily, suggests a new venture called Latterly. The “kickstarter journalism” startup will focus on a niche audience paying a small fee every month to read a very narrowly focused reporting. In the words of VentureBeat’s Jordan Novet, Latterly “doesn’t care about page views one bit.”
Page views, social shares, social referrals, and the like are seen as a currency of marketing effectiveness. For many smaller companies these are important, but also possibly the wrong metrics. The correct metric may be measuring the size of a core, dedicated audience — the bet that Latterly and others are making.
Small, Slow Wins
You don’t have to “turn up the volume” to be heard by the right audience. The central mission of brand journalism — to inform — occurs no matter how small a niche audience you’re seeking. In many cases the smaller the better. Serving a small market can yield great results when it comes to building a dedicated audience.
Focus Here Instead
As a brand journalism company we know the potency of maintaining a regularly updated blog. Blogs are a wonderful place to centralize audience and interactions on a platform you own and control. Yet blogs take an ongoing commitment to build and maintain. Blogs require a year or more to attract an audience and build the search authority necessary to expand beyond early adopters.
Here are some tips to stay focused on serving and growing your audience instead of fixating on page views:
Be willing to cover nuanced aspects of your topic in great detail. Uber-fans are interested in the details. Provide plenty of details.
WIDEN THE CIRCLE
Alternatively, expand your news coverage to related topics of interest to your target audience. These topics may or may not have direct correlation to your products or services. The topics should have direct correlation to your audience’s wishes, dreams, and desires!
Passionate audiences are open to exploration. How you define “exploration” is heavily dependent on your audience. Some audiences might enjoy an active role in sourcing news stories or reporting. Others may want to participate in research or discussions. Build upon whatever tactic appeals to your audience.
RESIST THE SALES PITCH
Ultimately, your brand journalism efforts should remain focused on satisfying your audiences’ needs. Selling your product or service should be the byproduct of a developed relationship earned through targeted journalism.
Image: Jesus Solana
Katie McCaskey is SixEstate's content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the cafe she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.