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7 June 2016

Blogging? It’s a question of collaboration…

Written by: Alex Eeles, Principal Writer at Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight, Culture, Entertainment, Media

Like several people here at Edelman, I’ve recently started writing a personal blog: The Dad Dance, which focuses on the thrills and spills (both literal and metaphorical) of being a dad. It’s here, if you’ll forgive a shameless piece of self-promotion!

But just a few posts in, I’ve started to realise the biggest challenge I face is not writing blogs but coming up with topics. Well, ones that actually appeal to other people who read it anyway. What I think is a fascinating, dare I say funny, parental observation about toilet training may, in most people’s eyes, be about as enjoyable as dinner with Katie Hopkins.

And this, it struck me, is essentially the same challenge most modern brands experience. The old adage ‘just because you did it doesn’t make it news’ is a trap into which many companies continue to fall (although perhaps nowadays it would be more accurate to say: ‘just because you did it doesn’t mean you should make a two minute film and tweet about it’). Yet, we are also in an age where they are under more pressure than ever to create content, be a publisher and maintain a compelling social media presence.

Thus, the temptation for brands to simply pump rafts of irrelevance into the Internet ether is increasingly acute. We must resist. As ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously noted, every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. It follows then that people are becoming far more picky about the stuff they spend their precious time reading, watching or listening to.

It’s for this reason that Edelman’s own approach to brand storytelling – Collaborative Journalism – can be such an effective model for many of our clients. It combines the story-mining instincts and writing skills of journalism with the strategy and audience insights of communications marketing. And as one of a number of ex-journalists working in Edelman’s UK office, I believe it’s an approach that can successfully help brands unearth stories that engage and excite people more deeply and more relevantly than ever.

All of which brings me back to The Dad Dance. In a way, what I need to do on the blog is a form of Collaborative Journalism. To collaborate with, ahem, me to find titbits from my personal life, filter them for ‘newsworthiness’, and then write them up as entertainingly as possible.

In other words, the communications marketing part of my brain has to work in partnership with the journalistic bit.  I’ve no idea how long I can maintain it…but at the very least, it should ensure I keep the ‘witty’ tales about Code Browns in soft plays to a minimum.

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