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This Is Why B2B Companies Need to Hire Brand Journalists

The key to being a thought leader is to… well, lead.

The news broke at about 8 AM Eastern today that the world’s third-largest software company, Oracle, had acquired Compendium, a content management company. At the time, I was part of a panel for a UK audience with Brightcove—in other words, I was pretty much sealed off from social media and news headlines.

So I first heard the news when Jesse Noyes of Kapost emailed me at 9 AM for commentary on the acquisition, for a piece Kapost was putting together. Jesse also took the opportunity to let me know that his boss, Kapost CEO Toby Murdock, had already formulated and published his early thoughts on the move. Jesse‘s email read as follows:

“Don’t know if you already saw the news, but Oracle announced today it’s buying Compendium. Toby has already shared his view on what this means for the industry here. But I’m putting together a follow-up article on what this purchase means for content marketing and what it means for those in the content marketing software space. Could you supply a comment…?”

See what happened there?

Kapost, a competitor of Compendium, broke the story to me (and presumably other slow-blinking folks this morning!) less than an hour after it happened. But because they understood that this is a big deal in the content marketing world, and they moved swiftly, they were able to…

• Use news of a competitor to insert themselves into the heart of a story that essentially had nothing to do with them
• Use the news to be thought-leaders, by expanding the immediate news story into a larger trends piece that has broader appeal to business as a whole
• Capture early social love from influencers, and connect with influencers as well as industry analysts to offer them a platform for further commentary

Having a nose for a story and making it more broadly relevant is something journalists are trained to do. Because Kapost hired Jesse Noyes, a former journalist, to head up its content strategy efforts as a brand journalist, it was well-positioned to pounce when a relevant story broke.

Heads up to all businesses: Content moments are everywhere. You just have to know to look for them.

Kapost’s effort is a great example of what David Meerman Scott calls “newsjacking”—injecting your ideas into a breaking news story. Kapost’s move is not unlike what David discussed at his surprise keynote at last week’s MarketingProfs B2B Forum, when Joe Payne, former CEO of marketing software provider Eloqua, newsjacked the story when Eloqua competitor Market2Lead was purchased in 2010 by (again!) Oracle. Similar to Toby’s move today, Joe Payne quickly sprung into action and quickly composed a blog post on the news.

Much as the leaders of many business-to-business companies want to use their content marketing programs to become thought leaders, a key piece to being a thought leaders is to… well, lead!

Be swift, be strategic, and hire the right kind of people who can help you get there.

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21 Responses to This Is Why B2B Companies Need to Hire Brand Journalists

  1. Thank you Ann. It’s like you stepped inside my brain and wrote the post I wish I had written. (Of course I could never pull of your flair and great writing and I can’t rock specs the way you do but you get the drift…)

    I too found out about it from Jesse and his email. Brilliant but also classy move on Toby’s part. A great day for content marketers everywhere!

    • Ann Handley says:

      Agreed, Michael. Really great effort on the part of Kapost, and I love that the email and Toby’s initial post wasn’t the end of the company’s content efforts. They went on to publish MORE content, as updated above!

  2. “Content moments are everywhere.” Awesome.

  3. Joe Payne says:

    Ann — Great post (and thanks for the shout out.) Two years after we newsjacked Oracle on Market2lead, Oracle bought Eloqua for $957M. Wouldn’t it be great for Kapost if that part of history repeated itself also. — Joe

  4. Jesse Noyes says:

    Ann, you’re a gem. It was truly a team effort. We honestly felt this was terrific news for our burgeoning industry, and we don’t like standing on the sidelines. Thanks for writing about it. And for supporting our efforts here.

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  6. A brand journalist…I didn’t know I could grow up to be that…

    ?!

  7. Donny Gamble says:

    I think that having a brand journalists along with a PR person or company is the perfect one two combo because it will help you really leverage and promote the content that your journalist writes.

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