In the world of news media, we already know that brand stories need to be compelling. That’s old news. But in an age of content overload, there is an equally pressing need: to ensure that brand stories are seen as credible and reliable.
With the mass of information being created on the internet, the consumer’s capacity to deduce the validity of content becomes increasingly difficult. The amount of time consumers have to verify the authenticity and credibility of content online is scarce — minimal even. In the end, consumers end up trusting recommendations from friends and family, and from influential people that they follow.
For journalists, though, the process is different. It is important for journalists to source trustworthy and reliable information when developing stories or news for the media, because to not do so could compromise their career.
Credibility, therefore, is crucial. The good news for brands is that, according to our recent survey ‘Digital Habits of Journalists in Asia Pacific’, journalists are likely to visit corporate websites when looking for credible information. The survey showed that journalists in the region had a high level of trust in the content being published on these brand-owned digital properties (the second-most trusted content source after corporate spokespeople).
This insight creates an imperative for brands to place a firm stake in the content space. Companies need to create a line of owned digital platforms and use these to publish relevant and transparent information that speaks best for the company. This means having a highly engaging corporate website, and publishing shareable, asset-rich content that can easily be picked up and syndicated by journalists.
Investing in digital media capabilities to sufficiently accommodate the sourcing and verification process of journalists is today a business necessity. But it is just the start. The news and information being published needs to be relevant and transparent.
There is a clear and growing market for brand stories — both from journalists and general consumers. The only surprise is that more brands are not taking advantage of this.
Pigar A. Mahdar is associate – Digital at Weber Shandwick Indonesia