We’ve all heard that content is king, but for many marketers the difficulty in content marketing is in creating all that content. Enter journalists: Journalists are content creation professionals, trained to churn out reams of quality content on tight deadlines. Here’s why you should hire journalists for your content marketing and what to look for when you hire a journalist.
Brands are becoming publishers at the same time as the publishing industry (both books and newspapers) is starting to crumble. The result is that companies need skilled writers to create content—the very kind of writers that media outlets are laying off as fast as they can.
Although content marketing is a different business model than journalism, there are quite a few similarities: both have the goal of building an audience that trusts your content and both have the hope that the reader will be inspired to take a certain action.
Journalists are a natural fit for content marketing. Here’s why:
1. They write well. Most journos are great writers—you have to be, when your whole product is words printed poorly on cheap paper. Great writing skills translate into top quality content for you.
2. They are natural storytellers. Journalists—especially feature writers—are quite used to telling compelling stories in their articles. We’ve covered the importance of storytelling over and over and over again, so if you’re having trouble using stories in your marketing, you definitely need a journalist on staff!
3. They are used to translating complex material. Marketing in the B2B sector often involves complex information about complex products/services. Journalists are adept at gathering large amounts of complex material and translating it into clean, simple, focused content.
4. Journalists can write for your target audience. Once you’ve segmented your customers, you need to communicate with different segments differently. Journalists are well-practiced in easily assessing and writing for any new audience. Each news publication has a different audience, which means that journalists are always creating content with the intention of connecting with a certain group.
5. Journalists understand deadlines. A key part of any journalist’s experience is dealing with deadlines. Often meeting several deadlines a day, journalists can create content quickly and ensure that your marketing campaigns are never held up because content isn’t ready.
Just because hiring a journalist can be enormously beneficial for your content marketing, it doesn’t mean that any old journalist will do. Here are some things to look for when hiring a journo:
1. Excellent writing skills. Unfortunately, not all journalists are good writers. In fact, some of them are actually awful. Either give a writing test or ask for writing samples.
2. Realism over idealism. As a whole, journalists are an idealistic bunch, which is great for a newsroom, but less than ideal for a marketing department. In traditional journalism, there’s a wall of separation (like that between church and state) between the advertising department and the newsroom. This is to prevent advertisers from influencing editorial content. However, any journalist you hire has to understand that you’re a business with commercial goals.
3. Ability to write for different platforms/formats. There are two kinds of journalists out of work right now: there are highly competent journalists who had the misfortune to work at an outlet that was losing money and there are old school dinosaurs who were let go because they refused to adapt to the changing times. Don’t hire a dinosaur. Hire someone who is familiar with social media and who can create content in a variety of forms, from whitepapers to blog posts to tweets (the content marketing pyramid).
So, there you have it—why you should hire a journalist to help your content creation. Will you hire a journalist?