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Do Journalists Make For Better Content Marketers?

July 2, 2014

This article originally appeared on Marketing Interactive.

In our ever changing industry, we often see the open vacancy job titles in the classified change with the new trends. With people like ‘Head of Social’ and ‘Mobile Marketing Manager’ walking among us, it seems only fitting that the content marketing experts are coming out of the woodwork and touting themselves as such.

We are starting to see content marketing managers, content directors and even chief content officers pervade our LinkedIn feeds and conference agendas.

But who are these people really – and what skills do they have that enables them to conquer the new (but not really all that new) world of content? I’d argue that seasoned and expert journalists make the best content marketers, with a unique set of experiences that make them the perfect asset to a content team.

Their content sells

Journalists by training are adept at researching, discovering and telling stories that sell newspapers. Their investigative efforts in modern times also help media outlets get clicks or win viewers. They are the reason that the media industry even exists, because they have the ability to teach their readers something new, expose an interesting side of our society or report on the things that matter to us. Branded content should also sell – it should sell a brand’s values, its point of view, its position in the market and ultimately (and indirectly) its products and services.

They don’t bullsh*t

Journalists don’t tell clients what they want to hear. They aren’t copywriters, and they won’t put their name to something they don’t believe in. For one of the world’s oldest professions, integrity is everything and (illustrated by recent hit shows like House of Cards and Borgen) is important enough to lose your job over. They will, however, take time to understand the brand, its point of view, and most importantly the audience, and be in the best position to tell stories that their audience wants to hear.

Their bar is set higher

At a leading newspaper or magazine, the majority of what a journalist writes will never see the light of day. With the discerning and brutal eye of the editor constantly sending back sub-par work, experienced journalists know what stories get through the gauntlet. Not only that, but the world’s best newsrooms are competitive places; only the best content gets published and industry veterans are accomplished experts. Good content marketing needs a standard this high – where creative branding meets editorial expertise.

They see differently

It is human nature to question the world around us, but the journalists are the ones who are best at asking the right questions to get the right answers. In the marketing world, ‘great creative’ creates meaningful connections between brands and audiences – and content marketing is no different. With branded content being churned out at an alarming pace our news feeds are becoming clogged with unnecessary interruptions. Journalists know how to find and tell the stories we didn’t even know we wanted to read, and this adds value to our lives.

They attract audiences

The best journalists are the ones we know by name; the ones we right-click to open their article in a new tab and get comfy in our chairs to read. By-lined journalism is what draws in an audience time after time and builds a loyal readership, we agree or disagree with their point of view in Op-Eds, or enjoy their presentation of the facts of a story. For a brand with a strong content marketing objective, this loyalty is invaluable. By-lined stories from credible journalists builds the trust that is so important for branded content. Your audience trusts what they say, and they trust your brand as a result.