Creating Your Own Newsroom: Brand Journalism Offers New Strategy for Hospitals

December 1, 2014

by Sheryl S. Jackson

Sheryl-JacksonHow does a healthcare marketer cut through the noise of all of the advertising and promotional messages directed at consumers today? Obviously, the answer involves sending the message through the right media at the right target, but some health systems are adding a new tool to the marketing mix—brand journalism.

“This is a perfect time for healthcare to develop brand journalism strategies,” says Stephanie Johnson, Director of Media and Editorial for the American Medical Association (AMA) and former editor-in-chief of the brand journalism program for Advocate Health Care in Chicago (

“News outlets have cut staff and budgets, which leaves fewer people to develop stories for media coverage in traditional media,” Johnson says. This lack of resources also makes it more difficult to successfully pitch stories for media placement—unless you make it easy for the reporter to put the story together.

“At Advocate Health, I could send a three- to four-sentence pitch to an assignment editor or reporter and include a link to the fully developed story on my news site,” explains Johnson. Even when the reporter wanted to conduct an interview with the subject of the story, the availability of video, photographs, and proof that the story resonates with an audience led to more placements of articles highlighting Advocate patients, physicians, and employees.

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