The Importance of Having Newsroom Mentality in a Branded Content World

Podcast: In this episode, we welcome Adrian Michaels, Director of FirstWord Media, who believes that having newsroom mentality is crucial when doing branded content.

How do you as a brand implement newsroom mentality and rigour as a brand? Do journalism and branded content not differ at all? And how do you, as a native ad studio or agency, sit down with brands to find the good, real stories to tell?

In this episode, we welcome Adrian Michaels, Director of FirstWord Media, who always draws on his experience from the newsroom when creating branded content.

Duration: 46.06

About today’s guest

Adrian Michaels is an award-winning national and international newspaper journalist who founded the content marketing agency FirstWord Media in 2014.

About 80% of FirstWord Media’s work is direct with brands, for their websites and social media feeds. About 20% is helping publishers to pitch native advertising solutions, and to execute the work when sold.

Prior to founding FirstWord, Adrian was at the Financial Times for 15 years, where he won Business and Finance Reporter of the Year in the British Press Awards 2003. He was then Group Foreign Editor at the Telegraph in London before running a 40-person native advertising newsroom. He thinks he was the UK’s first senior journalist to jump to the advertising side – paving the way for dozens of editors who now help their publishers’ advertisers to produce content.

Show notes

00.00-0.45

Introduction

00.45-9.30

Adrian Michaels’ background at the Financial Times and the Telegraph

“Advertisers tend to be quite nervous about doing storytelling because they are not sure they are particularly good at it, but they think they need it. And I think they are right – they do need it” – Adrian Michaels

10.30-13.53

The birth of FirstWord Media, what they do – and how Adrian Michaels sees the ecosystem evolving.

“Some companies do have the capabilities to do it all in-house, but my experience is that many of them either have too much content to do and they need to outsource some of it anyway, or they recognize that hiring a forty person newsroom within their marketing department is an enormous undertaking that’s going to need a lot of management and it might be easier to ask some experts to do it anyway” – Adrian Michaels

“I see the ecosystem working as outsourcing skills that you don’t have to people who are really good at it. It makes sense to find experts to help you rather than try to replicate it yourself” – Adrian Michaels

Resources mentioned

Native Advertising DAYS in Berlin: https://nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/days/

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13.54-19.39

The importance of having a newsroom mentality and rigour as a brand.

“The crucial difference between marketing and content marketing in that context is that marketing is ‘what do I want to tell you today’ and content marketing is ‘what do you want to hear from me today?’ And that’s what a newspaper does brilliantly every day” – Adrian Michaels

19.40-28.58

How native advertising and journalism differ – because there are crucial differences.

“Native advertising and branded content tend to be constructive and I think it’s something that newspapers are missing out on. Newspapers tend to sell bad news because they sell more newspapers than bad news. But branded advertisers understand that readers really want to read constructive contributions to problems” – Adrian Michaels

Resources mentioned

Native Advertising DAYS in Berlin: https://nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/days/

28.59-31.40

How do you join the two worlds – journalists and brands when doing content marketing and native ads.

“You have to teach your journalists to be patient and to do a lot more work upfront” – Adrian Michaels

31.41-42.23

Content marketing and native advertising are all about coming up with real stories. How do you sit down and find those stories with brands?

“It’s trying to get them to think outside of the things that they’re normally thinking about. A lot of people in companies say, ‘nothing ever happens around here’. Unless you’ve got a brand new product to launch or you just hired a new CEO. But the truth is, you can always find hundreds of stories” – Adrian Michaels

Resources mentioned

2018 Report on native advertising in the news media industry: https://offers.nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/trends-2018-news-media-industry

2018 Report on native advertising in the magazine media industry: https://offers.nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/trends-2018-magazine-industry

Native Advertising DAYS in Berlin: https://nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/days/

42.24-46.06

Where is FirstWord Media going in the next couple of months?

All resources mentioned

Native Advertising DAYS in Berlin: https://nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/days/

2018 report on native advertising in the news media industry: https://offers.nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/trends-2018-news-media-industry

2018 report on native advertising in the magazine media industry: https://offers.nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/trends-2018-magazine-industry

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