Brand journalism: the marketing department is transforming into a newsroom
Second Degree, part of the digital agency Dept, is the first to offer the services of a newsroom: an editorial department of former journalists and creatives that work together on content productions for brands and media.
Every brand uses social media these days, seeks to collaborate with a publisher or launches its own content platform to activate its specific channels. Second Degree founder Martine Meijburg: “The foundation is still a good, qualitative and relevant story aimed at the right target group.” Newsroom helps brands to identify their best stories, the optimal way of telling them and to disseminate them among the target group.
Meijburg is managing director of Second Degree. In the past four years the agency, which started out in 2013 as a 100 percent LinkedIn marketing agency, has specialised in content marketing, social advertising and data analysis within the B2B market.
“Since 2015, we have observed a clear shift among our clients: in the past, brands focused 100% of their brand on LinkedIn but demand is becoming increasingly broader and content marketing plays a major role in this respect. We now produce long reads, write white papers, blogs, podcasts, newsletters, produce image databases and compile editorial formulas,” reveals Meijburg. “Our paid campaigns have a greater impact when we are also able to jointly reflect on the content we are driving.”
Freek Staps (42) is a veteran when it comes to journalism and worked for sixteen years at NRC Handelsblad as a correspondent in New York and also led four editorial teams including Economy and Online. He is also co-founder of NRC Q, which earned him a Fellowship at Harvard to conduct research into online innovation.
“Journalists can tell a good story better than anyone,” says chief editor Freek Staps. “Companies know that and it’s something the public values.” Besides Staps there are other journalists, creatives and freelancers originating from, for example, De Volkskrant, De Wereld Draait Door, Financieele Dagblad and advertising agencies.
According to Staps traditional advertising sometimes gives the impression of: “hey, look how great I am. Brand journalism involves demonstrating your knowledge and being relevant to your audience in that way. And this is something that journalists are extremely good at: telling a story from the perspective of a target group instead of from a marketing perspective. We look at a company and ask the question: what is really important?
Meijburg: “What’s important is that the content we produce delivers measurable results for our clients.” In addition to the strategy and production, Second Degree handles the content’s dissemination and monitoring. The editorial department also helps traditional and print-targeted media to become more online-oriented.