Brand Journalism- Breathe New Life into Old ContentBy Gini Dietrich

Last week, we talked about brand journalism and all of the things it could include.

I thought, for the next few weeks, it’d be interesting to dissect each part in more detail.

From where I sit, I see the following parts:

  • Breathe life into old content
  • User-generated content
  • Well-researched stories told by journalists
  • Sponsored content
  • Industry-related content
  • Content that fills a gap
  • Longform content
  • Website redesign
  • Generating revenue

We’ll explore each of these and how you can implement one – or all – of them into your plans this year.

If you see something missing you’d like me to include, let me know and I’ll be happy to do so!

Breathe Life into Old Content

Today we’ll start with how to breathe life into old content.

Gay Talese shouldn’t have been able to talk to Joe DiMaggio. No one talked to Joe DiMaggio, not in-depth anyway. Not enough to know that he spoke eloquently about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood or that his preferred drink was tea unless he was preparing for a date, when it was vodka, or that he shunned married women because they reminded him of his ex-wife, the ever-elusive Marilyn Monroe. – American Journalism Review

This quote from AJR is the beginning to a story about how Talese gained access to DiMaggio and other little tidbits he learned that never made it to print.

They’re tidbits Grantland reporters uncovered when talking to Talese about his famous Esquire piece about DiMaggio in 1966.

In and of itself an interesting story, that’s not the focus for today.

The focus for today is the fact that Grantland went to Esquire and asked if they could republish the icon sports article.

But not just republish it.

Once they gained permission, the real work began.

They included interviews with Talese. They included quotes from people such as Hemingway. They re-tell DiMaggio’s story. And they tell it from Talese’s point-of-view.

They know writers and editors have some of the best untold stories in the world and their goal is to capture them.

It’s a long piece – nearly 10,000 words – but it tells such a compelling story, you are sucked back into the 60s without realizing you keep scrolling down the page.

They breathed new life into old content. And not just old content, but something not even written by them to begin with.

How to Incorporate into Your Plans

Let’s say you work for Ocean Spray – either in-house or on the agency side – and you want to do a review of some of the things that were done in the past.

You discover, about 15 years ago, there was a traveling art display called The Art of the Ocean Spray Harvest.

As part of that display, journalists across the country wrote about the sheer beauty of a cranberry harvest.

In fact, one particular article in the Boston Globe, looked at five generations of cranberry growers who are all still working together.

Fast forward to today and you’re preparing your editorial calendar for the year. You’re looking at the harvest as something you know people are interested in and you want to do something creative and compelling.

You track down the author of the Globe piece and you ask her to go back into her 1999 archives to pull her notes from that piece.

Then you interview her.

What was it like to have five generations in one room? What interesting things did they tell you that didn’t make the story? How long were you with them? Did you partake in any part of the harvest? What were your overall impressions of the industry? Of the lifestyle? Do you drink cranberry juice?

Then you deconstruct the original piece and rewrite it with the quotes and stories from your interview.

Old story, new life.

What’s Next?

Of course, that’s just one example. This can work in sports, in food, in manufacturing, in professional services, in beverages…in pretty much any industry.

Find some compelling old content and breathe new life into it.

Our guest blogger today (publishes at noon CT) is Patrick Hayslett.

He talks about how to use holidays and other themes to create content that can easily be updated every year with new and interesting facts.

Take recommendations from his piece, add in some syndicated content, and find industry articles you can republish after you’ve done some due diligence and additional interviews.

With those three things, you’ll give old content a new life.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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