We're in the content marketing era, which is more show and less tell. Clients don't want you to tell them how great you are through advertising, they want you to show them value at the start of the relationship.
Every business has stories to tell and needs to inform, educate and be useful to clients through great storytelling. We tell stories across social media channels, blogs, and through opinion pieces, research, comments and even through our products and services themselves.
"Journalism is the art of storytelling."
If you look at what a journalist learns it's easy to see that having their skill set in-house is a huge asset for any company that knows how important content/inbound marketing is.
I combed through the course lists for a few journalism schools online and collected a sample of course titles that I believe make my point well:
- Journalistic Writing: the Language of Storytelling
- Editing, Publishing and Producing
- News They Can Use
- Reaching the Public: Fundamental Skills in Strategic Communications
- Magazine Production
- The Business of Communications
- Copy Editing
- Critical and Opinion Writing
- Advanced Research Methods
- Advanced Feature Writing
- Advanced Photojournalism
- Understanding Multimedia Journalism
- Video and TV Journalism
As traditional media fades away, the content that will create awareness and demand for what we sell, more and more, will need to be created, not bought. We need to share more and advertise less. Our clients need to find media-rich and useful content specific to their needs when they find us.
Content Marketing is Storytelling
Journalists are trained storytellers. They are researchers, writers, listeners, and able to think from a variety of perspectives. That skill set is perfect for creating content that online communities would find interesting, useful, or even entertaining.
Here's what the most awesome journalists do really well:
- Their work makes you want to keep reading Writers who enjoy telling stories write things you don't want to put down. Does their work just report the facts or do they tie key points together nicely and in an entertaining way that makes you want to keep reading?
- They like playing with new technology New communication and productivity tools emerge all the time and each evolution offers new advantages and new ways to tell stories. The journalist you want needs to keep your company engaging and, as journalists know well, the medium is often the message.
- Their work compels you to share it with others A great storyteller will compel you to share their stories with others. Your content needs to be shareable if it is going to generate awareness and demand for your brand's offering.
The Need For a Bias
The culture of non-bias that many journalism schools have ingrained in students can be a bit tricky for marketing.
Your company should have a bias. Your bias and your approach to what your clients need and the unique way that you meet that need differentiates you from your competitors and brings choice to the marketplace. The people you hire for any role in your company need to understand your unique approach well, support it, and speak from that biased perspective every time they speak for you. Non-bias does not lead to engagement that sticks and stickiness is what you're after.
I have worked with amazing journalists who have turned out to be the best storytellers any business could hire. They have the skill set I know our company needs for our content marketing and we plan to hire more of them in the coming years.
A business needs to show their value with great content instead of just telling people how amazing they are through advertising and contrived efforts. People will come to your party but if the vibe isn't good, they'll sneak out the back door.
As traditional media loses its punch, I hope more and more journalists will look to marketing departments to find a new home. Our businesses need you whether they know it yet or not.
Do you plan to hire a journalist to join your marketing team?