Pressboard is going to help teach more companies how to create the kind of branded content publishers want through a free online education program that will include the Wall Street Journal’s former global content director as a strategic advisor.
Since its launch four years ago, Pressboard has worked with a slew of brands to act as a conduit for telling audience-driven stories across a variety of media properties. Its B2B clients include GE, among others. The company’s new Pressboard University will consist of six modules that cover areas such as how to develop story ideas, identifying the right publisher based on audience goals and boosting return-on-investment through more effective distribution and amplification.
According to Jerrid Grimm, Pressboard’s co-founder and CEO, Pressboard University is a way of sharing what the firm has learned from working with other clients, while also potentially gaining new clients.
“We know there’s a big education need out there,” he told B2B News Network, adding that while other content marketing programs exist from the Content Marketing Institute and others, Pressboard can offer a unique focus on the nuances of branded content that has to sit in an editorial environment. “This course was not to add to the noise, but to add a special element.”
Leah Bjornson, a Pressboard content manager, said many organizations still struggle to produce the kind of compelling content that would actually build trust with potential buyers, let alone move them to a purchase. By working with people like former WSJ exec Farah Warner, however, those who take the courses will know they are getting insight from credible sources both inside and outside the company.
“This is not editorial, it’s not journalism, but you’re using some of the skills journalists use to work with a publishing partner,” she said. “When we were working with people, I kept telling them, ‘You want a tweetable moment in your content.’ Every paragraph should contain something they could show to their boss — not only to make them shine but also to share real, tangible advice.”
Beyond Pressboard University, Grimm said the company has also been conducting an analysis based on its own data to help address the sometimes-thorny issue of how much a brand’s name, products or services should be mentioned in its branded content.
“We have so much data on so many stories,” he said. “If we find out that having a brand mentioned early or more often has a negative effect on engagement — and it does — it becomes much easier for the content manager who has to make the case for being lighter on the brand up front.”
Those who complete their coursework will receive a certification from Pressboard they can use to showcase their branded content expertise, the company said.