3 Reasons A Journalist Should be Part Of Your Content Marketing Team
As newspapers struggle with dwindling advertising revenue, those journalists who’ve been lucky enough to retain their jobs must try harder to be relevant. They might pick up a new skill—like video-editing—to show they’re evolving along with modern media. And as they always have, journalists are thinking about what people want to read, and which story will get them a page-one byline.
In the business of content marketing, it’s easy to get so wrapped up on producing pretty, client-pleasing content that you forget about your audience. Who’s going to read this thing? And who’s going to read it and love it? A journalist can help you answer those questions.
Here are three ways you can benefit from having a journalist on your content marketing team.
1. Journalists focus on the “why”
People call newsrooms all day, every day, to pitch their story ideas. Most of the time, those pitches are politely rejected because they weren’t relevant for a larger audience. When I worked for Associated Press, one woman called three times in one day to complain about her irritating neighbor with the sloppy front yard and noisy kids. That story could’ve been the page-one centerpiece in the neighborhood newsletter, but it wouldn’t appeal to people in another city or state. The journalist on your content marketing team will always be thinking about how to make ideas relevant for readers beyond your immediate audience.
2. Journalists are skeptical
Journalists are taught to question everything, and with good reason. There’s no shortage of people who fabricate stories—remember Manti Te’o and his imaginary girlfriend? If you’ve created a fabulous piece of content for a loyal client and convinced a high-profile blog to publish the piece, the last thing you want to see in the comments section is someone pointing out a factual mistake, or that your data doesn’t make sense, or that you’ve misidentified a photo. Journalists will do everything in their power to find those tiny inaccuracies before that content goes live. They may drive you crazy in the process, but at least you’ll be confident the finished product is error-free.
3. Journalists speak a common language
Send an email with this subject line to a busy news editor: “Read our thought leadership piece on maximizing your reader engagement!” and see what happens. Probably nothing. That’s because busy editors have no time to decode marketing language. We think about our audience when we’re creating content, but we often forget that our pitches need to be crafted to appeal to a specific audience, too.
Journalists speak to each other in plain English, and they’re more receptive to pitches that adopt a similar style. It’s OK to use marketing buzzwords around the office, or in your whitepapers, but leave that language out of your formal interactions with the media.
Journalists aren’t better at marketing than any other member of your team. They just offer a different perspective that can help your content get in front of the right readers. When choosing hires for your content marketing team, consider how a journalist can bring a new perspective to your brand.
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