Tag Archives: brand journalism

From Mayo Clinic Social Media Week: Creating and Launching a Brand Journalism Site

We work at Mayo Clinic where we try to connect with the heart, mind and eye. We’re not neurologists, cardiologists, psychologists or ophthalmologists. What are we? We’re brand journalists and that means telling our story with emotion, credibility and imagery on traditional and Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 3.14.11 PMsocial media platforms.  Learn about our successes and challenges in this post on the Mayo Clinic Social Media Health Network 


Twitter and TV go hand in hand to make history

I am so proud of my fellow-couch potatoes that I’d stand up and applaud except that I am holding three remotes and an iPhone in my hands and resting a MacBook Pro and Kindle on my lap. Tweeting and watching TVWe used to watch TV open-mouthed and drool on the furniture but that was so 2010. Today we’re onto to something big-our consumption of traditional and social media is making history. TV used to own the prime real estate of ratings and now it wants to share with social media. This is a good thing because the giant consumer research company, Nielsen, recognizes this trend and for the first time ever, has begun measuring Twitter and TV together like traffic and weather. TV shows like Dialing For Dollars, entertainment oriented web pages, blogs and Facebook built the framework to share a programming experience and today, Twitter has made interacting even better. It’s fast, easy, reaches millions of people and lights up the globe during big events. When the horse California Chrome lost his big for the Triple Crown at Belmont, the reaction to his owner’s tirade about fairness instantly ignited a real time conversation #CaliforniaChrome that has lasted for days. tweets on california chrome Why is this happening? It’s simple-television and Twitter have altered our brains and fingers to work as one to watch, talk and listen. I have to credit our daughter, @manthapetrovich, a TV aficionado, for introducing us to Jimmy Fallon and his creative use of #hashtags to engage his audience, as shown by buzzfeed.

(Article from buzzfeed that shows examples of hashtags with Jimmy Fallon

Anna Washenko Anna Washenko posted this story on the TV industry’s leadership of #hashtag use.  She references the creative crime solving comedy hit (now concluded) Psych on USA Network and how it invited viewers to help catch a criminal on Twitter. Twitter sees this potential too and has been testing TV engagement. It is probably biased, but I agree with this study conducted by Brandwatch and posted by the staff at Hashtags.org that says TV shows with hashtags deliver better viewer participation, which possibly translates to ratings. Personally, I remember events better while Tweeting because to me it’s like taking notes. As mentioned in the top of this post, TV ratings company Nielsen has started measuring how Tweets and TV complement each other. (more in this report by ABC) It found that the Grammys, Oscars and SuperBowl generated the most tweets and reached the most people. Breaking Bad, one of the best TV shows ever, led the way with engagement, averaging more than 500,000 tweets per episode.

Click on this image to read the post on Nielsen Ratings

Click on this image to read the post on Nielsen Ratings

News organizations are using this same brand journalism formula. Reporter Dr. Nancy Dr Nancy SnydermanSnyderman is a journalist who brands herself and NBC News on Twitter. While she connects with audiences on TV and Twitter, she is also developing good sources for future stories and growing her fan base. What will the future bring? It’s logical to assume that the barriers between all the media are blurring and that there might be more happy places for popular platforms to prop each other up, something we all need when we’re in couch potato mode. Fellow coach potatoes, if it’s not too much effort, here is another chance to see Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake take hashtagging over the top. The opinions expressed in this blog are my own. My Twitter handle is Ronald Petrovich.

All communicators need to know multimedia

If you want to flourish in today’s fractured media environment jump in and don’t worry about your age or your technical ability.

Graphic showing different positions in social media

Graphic showing different positions in media and journalism

Many of my former TV news colleagues say I’m too old to be learning social media and my family will attest that I can barely load paper in our printer, operate the TV remote or organize the dishwasher.  Despite this, I am doing OK with social media and multitasking with multimedia, proving that if I can do it, anyone can. If you work in communications, you need to learn these skills now.

An instructor at San Francisco State University, Rachele Kanigel Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 5.38.25 PMwrote this blog post about journalism in the 21st century. She mixed reporting skills and multimedia storytelling which received a positive reaction from students.  Her lessons apply beyond the classroom and journalism.  If you work in media today you should always think about delivering your story on TV, radio, newspaper, blogs and mobile. You can drive the same message with slight alterations through multiple social media tools and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo.  No longer is this an extra; it is now  a requirement for your job.

This strategy can potentially reach thousands and millions of people at very little cost and it will increase your value as an employee. Today’s integrated workflow affects journalism, marketing and every other facet of communications. Rachele, thank you for preparing students for the future and teaching  all of us about the importance of communicating effectively on multimedia. Definitely worth a retweet!


Brand Journalism creates new opportunities

We are living in the Golden Age of news and information because consumers have more news choices than ever.  These sources that deliver instant messages range from credible to unreliable, balanced to biased and newsworthy to inane.  It’s messy and yet still better than the good ole days when we watched anchorman Walter Cronkite dominate TV news against two other networks.  In those times every town supported at least one daily newspaper and we accepted that because it’s all we knew.

Walter Cronkite delivering news

Walter Cronkite

Back then, media groups had a license to print money and faced minimal competition.  In the 1980’s Ted Turner built 24 hour cable news and Gannett created USA Today with a mission to publish articles with colorful pictures and graphics.

Logo of USA Today

Logo of USA Today

This ignited the digital media revolution that has exploded with satellite TV, the internet, mobile and social media offering a stream of unlimited data.  Admittedly a lot of it is garbage; at least you can decide what you consume.

A new survey by my alma mater, Indiana University (reported in this article by Romenesko) says journalists believe that we’re headed in the wrong direction.  Several news managers posted on social media that they aren’t too surprised by this because journalists are typically cynical.  Despite their nonchalance they admit that they are facing daunting challenges. Recently Slate reported that newspapers hit a milestone-Ad  revenues are the lowest since 1950.

In my opinion this evolution is natural and is creating unprecedented opportunities.  New versions of journalism, communications and marketing are forming, especially with branded content.  The definition of brand journalism is evolving.  Consider this definition by marketing, communications, technology expert Ben Stroup, who says it’s an effective way to distinguish yourself and quiet the noise by telling your story with a journalistic approach. Firehead says there are three types:

1. Sites that are produced in-house or by an agency

2. Messages that target a  persona

3. Content producers that create and report the news

To me, brand journalism is individuals, media and organizations telling their story by branding themselves and the content they are producing. This material needs to be real and engaging because today’s savvy audience can sniff out marketing posers. The Poynter Institute published this article by Joe Grimm on journalists strengthening their own brands and Mark Glasser, writing for PBS Media Shift added his thoughts about this trend. Today’s customized Twitter feeds are branded journalism and essentially yesterday’s news wires.

Twitter feed

Twitter feed

I am involved in a branded journalism project with the Mayo Clinic News Network as cited by Lindsey Kerr from The BuzzBin who profiled this trend in health care.  This opportunity reaches beyond health-related communication and is a powerful tool for any individual or organization. The key is to deliver accurate and credible content.

While attending Mayo Clinic Social Media Week in conjunction with Ragan Communications in the fall of 2014, branded journalism speaker Lisa Arledge Powell stressed that marketers need to tell not sell their stories.  She’s right and that’s why journalists will prosper in this evolution, they’ll just look a little different.

Below are two articles that add more perspective to this conversation, including a feature on Coca-Cola, considered to be a leader in this area.

Inside the Coca Cola Newsroom

Wall Street Journal cover

Agencies model news rooms for real time marketin


The opinions expressed in this blog are my own. My Twitter handle is Ronald Petrovich.

picture of Ron Petrovich

picture of Ron

Get Shorty Awards

In any generation the key to engaging an audience is telling a compelling story.  Today this is called branded content and branded journalism. For the sixth straight year, the Shorty Awards in New York recently recognized the best story-tellers in social media who compete on subjects that include art, entertainment, news, sport, video games and even health care. Nominees (individuals and organizations) are judged for their impact on Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Vine and Twitter; it pays to be facile on Twitter because candidates are nominated through Tweets.

Logo and link to Shorty Awards website

Since I work in health care, I wanted to highlight the winner in this category and demonstrate that good story-telling applies to any field. Congratulations to ZN team at hyperthinker, top-rated in the health category this year.  According to its website, Break Dengue is a branded content initiative that was created in 2013 to combat dengue fever, a global neglected disease that affects the most marginalized populations and is now found in some of the world’s wealthiest countries. A major international public health concern, the World Health Organization says that about half of the world’s population is at risk from dengue.

Break Dengue

Break Dengue

The winners  said, “With Twitter, we have taken a very different approach. @BreakDengue is not only focused on raising public awareness on dengue prevention, but also seeks out and has built many strategic relationships with dengue Key Opinion Leaders worldwide. These include experts from the pharmaceutical industry, certified medical professionals, healthcare analysts, educators, marketing professionals for the healthcare sector, activists, and other organizations that share our goal”

Here is their winning entry.


The Shorty Awards are produced by Sawhorse Media, a New York-based technology startup. Sawhorse also created and runs Muck Rack, the leading network to connect with journalists on social media.

The opinions expressed in this blog are my own. My Twitter handle is Ronald Petrovich.

Welcome to the Healthy Content Blog

picture of Ron Petrovich

picture of Ron

Welcome to the Healthy Content Blog where we’ll share thoughts on content related to social media, traditional media, journalism and health care communications.  The conversation will often feature branded journalism topics with an emphasis on multiple platform delivery and sometimes we’ll just write about cool stuff in TV and media.  The opinions are my own although I’m fortunate to work with colleagues who teach me every day in my role as manager of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media #MCCSM and Mayo Clinic News Network #MayoClinicNewsNetwork at Mayo Clinic  in Rochester, MN.

Prior to joining Mayo Clinic, I was vice president, medical news at Medstar Television, Inc., in Allentown, PA, where we produced television programs for health care organizations and the media. During that time, I also taught part-time as an adjunct instructor at DeSales University, integrating  social media and story-telling into film production courses, including this student video on job interviewing skills. The students showed me how to fearlessly embrace new technology and I helped them tell stories.

In a previous life I was a news director at several television stations. At FOX 59, a start-up in Indianapolis, we produced specials like this on saving lives in tornadoes.

Our news team told bold, visual stories and within three years of launch, we achieved the third highest demographic ratings among all FOX stations and won numerous journalism awards.

I have also been a news director at TV affiliates in Milwaukee and Saginaw, Michigan.  At every station, talented reporters, anchors, videographers, editors and producers dedicated themselves to honing their craft of telling compelling stories with pictures.  Today, everyone can do that. Tools previously reserved for media journalists are now available on mobile devices and computers for a few dollars.

Before I was lucky enough to work with these media and health care professionals, I attended Indiana University, schlepping expensive 40 pound cameras in our TV production classes. We could never have predicted this digital revolution three decades later. (Back then IU was the #1 ranked party school and tops in basketball so thinking about the future of media may not have been our priority.) 

No one can predict the future of media and health care communications in the next three months, let alone next three decades.  In the short-term however, it’s safe to say that social media, branded content and branded journalism will play an even bigger role, so we’ll do our best to discover the most interesting trends and best practices in these fields in our Healthy Content Blog.

The opinions expressed in this blog are my own. My Twitter handle is Ronald Petrovich. Twitter Logo