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Run your content marketing with the power of a dynamic newsroom

May 5, 2020

Content marketing and journalism may be different beasts, but they have a lot more in common than you might think.

With work drying up in newsrooms, many journalists have found themselves in marketing teams. That includes some of us here at Click2View who have forged successful journalism careers before becoming content marketers.

And there’s no surprise because there’s a strong link between the two. Both content marketing and journalism involve informing audiences, crafting compelling narratives, and reaching the right people at the right time. Given this, content marketers can learn a thing or two (or more) from traditional newsrooms.

Here are five newsroom techniques that could help content marketers create engaging and journalist-quality content.

Run editorial meetings

Editorial meetings are a fundamental part of newsrooms. These daily or weekly gatherings are when story ideas are pitched and discussed, production schedules are organised, and issues or blockers are raised.

You can do this for your content marketing teams too. Conducting editorial meetings every day or at the start of each week could help you understand what’s important to and trending within your target market.

Maintaining a content calendar is key, and you can reference this during your editorial meetings to plan out content, generate ideas, and keep track of deadlines. You can also include your design, SEO, and social teams during your meetings, as they may have additional ideas and insights on how to better deliver your content.

Be agile

Newsrooms must be agile enough to cover breaking news and keep up with the constant churn of the news cycle. While content marketing may not adopt this same pace, teams must still be sufficiently nimble to ensure that the content they produce remains relevant and topical.

Stick to your content calendar, but be open to deviating from it if something timely comes up. Be prepared to turn around stories in a shorter time frame, especially if they’re worth tackling in the present moment.

Understand how to tell a good story

Journalists are experts at spotting good news stories. What elevates these stories into great ones is understanding the best way to tell them — be it through a short newspaper piece, a long-form magazine article, a two-minute radio segment, or a 20-minute TV broadcast.

News stories and content are both stories, so they have elements that make them good. When figuring out what content to produce and the best way to go about it, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the content built on important, interesting, or timely themes?
  • Is it relevant to the target audience?
  • Will it surprise or empower them?
  • How can we deliver the story so it not only provides context and offers details, but also evokes an emotional response?

Use audience data to help you answer these questions. You can also create personas to help you understand who you’re targeting and what types of stories appeal to them.

Verify facts

Quality is imperative in newsrooms, and one of the most important ways to ensure that is to check facts. Like news stories, facts must be included and verified in the content you produce for it to be reliable and trustworthy.

Check that names, dates, places, numbers, and other relevant information are correct. Cite original and reputable sources for data in your content. Quotes from interviewed sources must also be verified for accuracy.

Some newsrooms employ fact-checkers to confirm the correctness of factual information in news stories. For content marketing teams, both writers and editors can share fact-checking responsibilities, with further checks made by compliance or legal teams.

Use a style guide

A style guide sets the editorial standard for grammar and style conventions in newsrooms. This document outlines word usage, proper punctuation, acceptable spelling and capitalisation, and other rules that reflect the look and feel of a publication and how it aims to be perceived by its audience.

Most newsrooms use the Associated Press Stylebook, while others have their own style guides, including BBC News, The Guardian, and BuzzFeed. You can use any of these as a basis for your content marketing team’s style guide, but don’t feel compelled to stick to every rule stated in it. Adapt it your needs and include voice, tone, and other guidelines that would better fit your brand or content.

The last word: Creating content newsroom-style

Creating content is a lot more similar to creating news: it all boils down to storytelling. Telling stories the way newsrooms do not only makes content good, but also makes it newsworthy.

Read more from Click2View:

  1. Are you optimising your content? Learn how to write for mobile.
  2. Stories don’t always have to be told with words. They can be told with data too.
  3. This is what the future of work (post-pandemic) will look like.

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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.