August 17, 2018

When journalism meets branded content – An interview by Scatter

journalism - the media holding mics towards a businessman

Scatter had recently put out a post that analysed the implications of making a shift from journalism to branded content. Since it received significant traction, we decided to follow it up with a personalised interaction with two former journalists – Rajas Kelkar and Kankana Roy Choudhury – who had made the switch. Here’s what they said:

1. Why did you make the shift from journalism to branded content?

Rajas: In today’s interconnected and interactive world, every company has their own story to tell. Due to this, we see the emergence of various media companies, be it traditional or new media. This has created a demand for good writers. As a career journalist, you cannot take journalism out of us though.

Kankana: My shift from journalism to branded content has been more of a personal choice. After being a business journalist for almost 15 years, I was looking to learn something new. I made the switch to branded content as it’s almost the same space as I was in, which is storytelling and creating engaging content, although from the other side of the table.

2. How has the experience been?

Rajas: It’s been a learning experience for sure. As a journalist, you have a lot of liberties to work with. In case of branded content, you have to adhere to company-specific internal or regulatory rules. These can get restrictive but creatively challenging.

Kankana: A new role requires you to learn a lot of new things, but here a lot of unlearning too has to be done. As a journalist you are used to a certain kind of writing style, which may not always work well when it comes to branded content. While brands want to tell stories and be associated with trending topics and present content the way publishers do, they have a relatively different approach. So while you have ideas, you may face limitations on how to present them. You have to keep a lot of things in mind, and most of them revolve around the brand and its tonality.

3. What advice would you like to give someone who’s considering a switch from journalism to branded content?

Rajas: If you want to succeed in branded content, you just have to help corporate leaders articulate better. Branded content writers are like speechwriters who help brands project their vision. It’s just like journalists making a transition to becoming speechwriters for political leaders.

Kankana: Get your basics right. No matter what the platform is, the idea is to tell great stories and enjoy what you are doing.

What you need to remember

While there are subtle differences in the perceptions of journalists who have made the shift to branded content, a couple of key points were perceptibly reinforced:

  • The essence of both journalism and content marketing lies in effective storytelling.
  • Unlike journalism, certain parameters frame branded writing, given its adherence to an assigned tonality.


Rajas Kelkar has experience in journalism, writing, and editing. A digital media enthusiast, he now works at Simplus Information Services, helping businesses create and publish content.

Kankana Roy Choudhury has 15 years of experience in journalism, media, and communications function. Her areas of expertise include copy editing, rewriting, content development, content strategy, and website management. She currently works as Managing Editor (Finance) at Scatter.