Content marketing vs. brand journalism: How they compare and how they differ

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Public Relations

The terms content marketing and brand journalism are often used interchangeably, which makes it confusing for a lot of people in the marketing industry. In this article, we will shed light on the disparities between content marketing and brand journalism, emphasizing the significance of grasping these differences. To understand better, we will provide clear definitions without resorting to unnecessary jargon, and conduct a thorough analysis of each concept.

Content marketing vs. brand journalism: How they compare and how they differ

Image Source 

Content marketing

Let us begin by addressing a common question that frequently arises among us, the creators of editorial content: What exactly constitutes content?

Content includes different types of consumable media, ranging from written text, photos, videos, GIFs, infographics, and podcasts, to complete magazines or brochures. As you know, content is what captivates and engages audiences. 

Marketing, on the other hand, is always a talk of the town in the business world that you probably don’t need a definition. But, for those who don’t know, marketing includes all the processes you undergo to bring your product to the market. It can involve designing a beautiful packaging to pique your customers’ attention or sending specialized emails to inform potential buyers about your offerings. In conclusion, marketing’s ultimate goal is to sell a product or service.

Therefore, combining these definitions logically leads us to content marketing: the utilization of content (consumable media) to accomplish your marketing objectives (such as selling your product or service). A lot of companies that offer Sydney-based SEO services often include content marketing in their strategies.

Illustration representing Sydney-based SEO services

Image source

Brand journalism

Let’s dive right into the concept of brands. Essentially, a brand encompasses anything that evokes an opinion, an image, or a perception. It can refer to individuals, groups, or companies. In simple terms, if something conveys a message about itself and projects a specific image that allows for identification and categorization, it can be considered a brand.

The “brand” is essentially an external marker of categorization. As people, we are naturally more inclined to categorize almost everything due to a variety of psychological and sociological reasons. We instinctively look for indicators to classify others because it brings a sense of order to the world. From the clothes we wear to the pictures we share and the people we associate with, our daily actions and external appearances provide others with an understanding of our “category”—the group we belong to—and beyond that, an insight into our identity and values.

Applying this logic to companies, we arrive at a modern understanding of “brands.” Through the content they share and the messages they convey, we can comprehend who they are and what they prioritize.

Now, let’s consider journalism. When you hear the term “journalism,” you may envision a reporter standing amidst a crowd during a demonstration, the weekly column you read in the newspaper, articles enjoyed on the beach, the voice that updates you on global events during your commute, or a series of photos that capture an event. All of these examples exemplify journalism because they share a common creator: the journalist. A journalist is a trained professional who produces “newsworthy” content in line with the ethical standards of the profession, such as relying on facts, and credible sources, and serving the public good.

Newsworthy content pertains to anything that affects public well-being (e.g., a change in political leadership or the implementation of a new law), is of public interest (ranging from heroic stories to the launch of a new public transportation line), or has an impact on a specific group (such as new aircraft for travel enthusiasts or a book release for avid readers). By nature, these stories are exceptional and impactful, created to captivate audiences and maintain their attention.

Combining these two definitions creates a new objective. The brand, functioning as an image projection machine judged based on its actions and shared content, employs journalism as a deliberate and transparent approach to demonstrate what it cares about. In contrary to content marketing, its purpose is to let customers understand the essence of the brand they are doing business with by providing a clear reflection of the brand’s goals that goes beyond its products or services.

Why is it important to distinguish between content marketing and brand journalism?

Differentiating between content marketing and brand journalism is crucial for effectively structuring your communication and content strategy. Both product sales and brand image play vital roles in your overall marketing efforts. Content marketing focuses on contextualizing and explaining the features and benefits of your product or service, while brand journalism adds personality and depth to your brand.

Customers today seek a holistic understanding of a brand. They want to see both the informative side that highlights product features and the authentic side that showcases the brand’s personality and values. By recognizing the distinction between content marketing and brand journalism, you can develop a well-rounded approach that meets these customer expectations, enhances your brand’s appeal, and drives successful marketing outcomes.

Karstine Sanchez
Karstine Mae Sanchez is a content marketer. She loves writing business and work management content, food and nutrition, health, and travel lifestyle. When she is not busy, you can find her at the beach, visiting historical places and exploring new places.