The case for getting a journalist on your content marketing team
Over the last few years there has been increasing discussion about the unique needs around creating content best suited to inbound marketing in digital media. It’s not promotion-heavy product copy. Not corporate-spun PR. Not even advertorials. In these circles, the focus has turned to a journalism-based approach David Meerman Scott has coined brand journalism.
Inbound marketing success: think like a publisher
In many ways, organizations are still adapting to the dramatic transformation in how to interact with the marketplace in emergent online channels. The transition from outbound, monologue-marketing to inbound marketing is a challenge for professionals coming from Advertising, PR, direct and classical marketing disciplines.
The internet has changed the game. Audiences on the web are seeking information that informs and edifies. Content creators need to think like a publisher first, weaving in brand messages through dynamic storytelling.
If you need to think like a publisher, why not add a journalist to your content team? Not the Ron Burgundy broadcast news-reader type, but the writer-researcher newsroom type. Think embedded corporate journalist.
Looking at typical job descriptions for online marketers, you’ll notice the thinking is not quite there yet. There is still a primary focus on experience in digital media and marketing. Both are important roles on the content team. But there are at least four good reasons to get a journalist on your team as well.
Four content marketing skills you get from an experienced journalist
- Writing approach. Journalists are trained storytellers experienced in writing compelling headlines and lead-in copy and crafting a strong voice. This transfers perfectly to the need for attracting inbound traffic online.
- Focusing on what the reader wants. New and renewed subscriptions. Newsstand sales. Letters to the Editor. These measures of reader engagement are critical to publishing success. Without interested readers the publication fails. Without engaged online visitors, your content marketing is destined for the same fate.
- Objectivity. Journalists have a natural inclination toward skepticism. They are trained to take an objective view toward content for public consumption. This is a perfect antidote to impulses to overhype, oversell and over-fluff your online content. They will view stories and events from different angles and help to find unique ways to present information valued by your audience.
- Editorial planning. In the publishing world, journalists have gained real-world experience in creating an editorial plan – based on wants of the audience – setting a schedule and meeting deadlines to deliver content. This hands-on experience is of tremendous value inside the corporation.
These skills are not a substitute for a solid strategy. That’s a topic for another post. But they are critical to the successful execution of your content marketing strategy. And most of the time you won’t find people with these skills by looking exclusively within the marketing industry.
SOUND OFF: Tell me what you think. Are there other benefits to a journalist-content creator you would add? What is your approach to content marketing and building your team?
Related article: 3 Lessons to help content marketers stop thinking like publishers
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