By Rex Hammock

Nearly 30 years ago, when Hammock first started helping clients develop recurring media programs for association members, customers or enthusiasts, the term “service journalism” was used more than it is today. Typically, the phrase refers to a type of magazine or website that focuses on the how-tos of a topic or passion. For example, Better Homes and Gardens is a quintessential service magazine for several generations of readers.

Today, much of what was called service journalism has been embraced by all media, as it’s common to see stories accompanied by infographics, charts and helpful lists.

Rather than call it service journalism, this type of content is now often called explanatory media and is one of the foundations upon which a company’s content marketing strategy can be built. Although there are differences between service or explanatory journalism and service-driven content, both provide a necessary context that helps to clarify the topic in question for the reader. When done well, these types of explanatory media are also able to reach beyond the page and establish a relationship of trust between the creator and the reader.

Today, explanatory media can be a presentation seen by a potential client, or an infographic that explains a concept to senior managers. Helping people—customers, members and decision-makers of any type—understand your product in order to make better decisions is the type of service that earns you a deep and long-lasting relationship.

Bottomline: Use explanatory media—from words to video to interactive graphics—to tell your company’s ever-changing story. Explain the how’s and why’s that convey how your product or service is unique and valuable to them.

Image: Lego

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