3 steps to building a journalism brand
What happens when a journalist identifies an audience that is begging for news? Well, he gives them news! Here are three steps to building a valuable journalism brand in the digital age.
1. Start a website
Building a news brand involves more than simply reporting on stories, although that is a huge part of it. The stories need to form a larger narrative in order to demonstrate the connections between news events, trends and people. Only then, can an audience begin to follow a single reporter on his journey. As you build a web of thematic stories, your readers gain context. Small communities have origin points for change and progress and any beat will have interconnected actors and players who help move the larger community forward. A reporter must capture that and help other people to stay informed of that and enable them to participate with it.
- The origin story: Why Fallon is Nevada’s hidden gem for wine and spirits
- Context: How local are Nevada’s spirits?
- Story arc part 1: Our first story on The Depot
- Story arc part 2: Second story on the construction phase of the depot
- Story arc part 3: The Depot makes beer, whiskey, gin and food
- Who’s who: Master of the Reno Zombie Crawl stops drinking and tells us his next big plans
- Combining ideas and audiences: The Generator, where artistry and nevadabeer meet
- Showing Progress: 14 drinkable stories that defined Nevada in 2014
- Looking forward: 15 resolutions for Reno in 2015
2. Plan events
While building a brand, a reporter must also recognize existing communities and become part of them. A single person cannot build a community, but a good journalist can support a community with his work. Events act as one outlet for that community, by providing a space for them to come together and participate with each other:
- Drinkable Reno’s Epic Craft Beer Dinner Extravaganza
- The Great Reno Whiskey Hunt
- Drinkable Reno Beer Week Bus Tour
- Reno Mo-Men Shave the Date party for Movember 2014
3. Participate, be a lighting rod
Explanatory journalism matters. Watchdog journalism matters. But so does having fun. Web analytics inform journalists about their success at reaching an audience. While the above image includes no comments, it was shared 43 times, reaching 9,352 people on Facebook (that’s a big deal for a little site). It generated more than 70 public comments on a liquor bill. How you explain a law and how that explanation resonates with an audience matters more than what politician said what to whom and how that made so-and-so really mad. As a participatory journalist, advocating for your audience is more important than objectively feeding them platitudes. Your audience must be able to do something with the information you give them.