Doormat or matador-which type of Brand Journalist are you?

By Clark Powell, Vice President

It was the first show I ever binge watched.  As soon as one episode of House of Cards would end, I would scramble for the remote to start the next.  It’s brilliantly written, perfectly cast and ultra addictive.  Never before have I felt both so guilty and so giddy about watching that much TV.

But for all the riveting storylines played out on House of Cards, the most interesting story is how the show even got on TV in the first place.  Turns out, the award-winning series has a lot in common with the brand journalism principles we practice everyday at MediaSource

House of Cards award-winning actor, Kevin Spacey, is keynoting at Content Marketing World today in Cleveland and MediaSource is honored to be sharing the stage and our expertise at the same event. 

Consider these concepts:

Discover your story - and share it with conviction.  

The creators of House of Cards had a story to tell and they knew exactly how they wanted to tell it.  The show features several complex characters who are involved in highly complicated relationships.  It’s the depth of those storylines that makes the show so compelling.

But not everyone was buying it.  As Kevin Spacey recently shared, traditional TV networks wanted to treat House of Cards just like any other show.  First, they wanted to shoot a pilot and have focus groups determine if the story was worth telling.  Then, they would only continue to produce more episodes if ratings warranted.  Taking that route would have diluted the story and compromised the project altogether.

When it comes to media and public relations, many companies fall into the same trap.  They’re too concerned about reactions every step of the way, that they don’t take the proper steps to truly define their brand.  It’s not always easy, but the most successful brands discover their stories, develop them with consumers in mind and share them with conviction.

That’s just what House of Cards did.  And because they stayed true to their story, the series found a home on Netflix and became the first show in history to win an Emmy on a non-traditional TV network.

Consumers want content - everywhere.  

Spacey says the concept behind House of Cards was novel.  They wanted to give the audience “what they want, when they want it and in the form they want it in.”  As a result, all 13 episodes of season one were released at once.  And whether they watched on TVs, computers, tablets or phones, consumers like me ate it up.

Thanks to the Internet, we are no longer passive consumers of media.  We search for the content what we want, we engage with it on our terms and share it with others when we like it.

As brand journalists, we know it’s important to develop content for our clients that’s available across a wide range of platforms.  It’s no longer enough to send out a single press release in the hopes that the media will use it.  

Today, your content needs to utilize videos, photos and written elements with versions specifically tailored for television, blogs, magazines and print.  It needs to be everywhere, and not only easy for consumers to find it, but compelling enough for them to share it.

“There are doormats … and matadors.”  

After ascending to the vice presidency of the United States, Spacey’s ruthless character Frank Underwood declares in an episode of House of Cards: “there are two types of vice presidents: doormats and matadors.  Which do you think I intend to be?”

It’s one of the best lines from season two and a metaphor for success of the show itself.  The creators of House of Cards weren’t content to play by traditional rules, just hoping others would buy into their vision.  Instead, they grabbed the figurative bull by the horns and made themselves relevant.

In brand journalism the same principles apply.  Companies that create relevant content and who proactively engage consumers on a consistent basis, are those who are likely to thrive.

Those who don’t, unfortunately often end up like the political rivals of Frank Underwood.

MediaSource is a media relations and content production firm that specializes in brand journalism tactics. From news media coverage to consumer video tactics, MediaSource partners with the nation’s top hospitals and corporations to get their message to targeted audiences. MediaSource is best known for delivering brand buzz by amplifying messages across both earned media and company-owned media channels.


AuthorColleen O'Morrow