The 5 questions Forbes’ brand journalism team asks clients–and what they’re missing

One of the most interesting speakers at last month’s digital innovation conference in San Francisco was Mark Howard, chief revenue officer at Forbes. Howard described Forbes’ laudable BrandVoice program, which allows clients to publish sponsored content directly onto the news site. Howard and the BrandVoice team urge brands to share relevant, interesting stories–the type of content you’d expect to see on Forbes, not self-indulgent advertorials. According to Howard, 30 percent of Forbes’ revenue now comes from this content marketing initiative.

Forbes also offers content creation services for that companies who don’t have in-house resources or are looking for an outsider’s perspective. When assisting a client in creating sponsored content, the Forbes team asks the following questions:

1. What are your overall business goals?

2. Who do you want to reach?

3. What’s your content’s focus? What events and news are relevant?

4. What type of content do you want to share? Video, commentary, etc.?

5. Do you have examples of content you’d like yours to be similar to?

These questions are a great starting point, but they’re missing something–sources. Trustworthy subject matter experts elevate all content, from sponsored pieces to traditional journalism. After I’ve determined what it is the brand is trying to say, I ask my client: “Who is the best person to say it?” Sometimes it is a company’s in-house expert, but often, it’s someone else. Strive to find the source who can convey your message even better than you, the client could.

By Jacqueline Lisk

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