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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Why Your Next Content Marketer Should Be an Ex-Journalist

    Posted by Michael Dooley

    Skills That Make Journalists Great Marketers

    Due to the current job market, many journalism and communications majors have been broadening their career choices, with marketing as one of the most popular industry choices. I went this route myself after college, and have been able to put my journalistic skills to good use in a career in marketing. Not all great journalists make great marketers, but many of their skills can apply to both fields. Below are some of the traits that can make a journalist a great content marketer.

    Being Comfortable With Deadlines

    Journalists live in a world of deadlines, with high-pressure projects often coming down to the wire before publishing. In this sense, journalists can be very task-driven and focused on completing assignments before the deadline. With so much importance being placed on meeting their deadlines, journalists often take a very realistic approach to the workload they are faced with. They can recognize when expectations and deadlines don’t align, which is when projects should be reevaluated. Having this approach is critical because it can help prevent you from over-committing to projects with deadlines that can’t be met. When deadlines are set in a logical and timely fashion, journalists are able to hit their stride with their work.

    Knowing How to Find an Angle

    Marketing revolves heavily around positioning and upselling, which is something many journalists are inherently good at. Journalists are trained to find an angle for each story and produce a newsworthy lead. So when a journalist becomes a content marketer, the “angle” or “story” they are looking for becomes the value proposition of the product or service they are marketing. Just like you would provide valuable information to support a news lead, your content should provide the same value in support of the concept of the marketing campaign. The ability to find an angle is extremely helpful because it gives journalists a sense of direction when they dive into marketing campaigns.

    Ability to Spin

    Good journalists know how to spin words to say things differently, or twist language to convey a new message. (See what I did there?) This is a big help as a content marketer, when you need to come up with new and unique ways to promote your business. Similar to how journalists use “buzz words” to attract attention to a news piece, they can use the same creative language skills to market their product. A marketer may not always be marketing a product they find interesting or exciting, but if you have the ability to spin words, you can make that product appealing to the right people.

    Not all journalists will translate into good marketers and in some cases their writing style can be the reason. Journalists who are set in a very formal writing style may struggle to write more informal pieces of content marketing. Also because many journalists are used to writing in an impartial manner, they could have trouble writing content that sells a product and promotes it value. When hiring a former journalist as a content marketer, you should take into consideration what forms journalism they have experience with, their ability to adapt to write different types of content, and their personality. Some people are definitely more suited to be journalists than marketers. But passionate journalists with the right combination of traits can translate into very successful content marketers.

    This blog was inspired in part by Holly Regan's recent post on Software Advice: Hire the Right Journalist for Your Content Marketing Team.

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing