What a Journalistic Approach Means for Your Content Marketing

By Mario Medina

The landscape of print journalism has changed dramatically over the past decade as more content has moved online. While print journalism has played a vital role in America’s history, and newspapers were a huge industry in our country by as early as 1800, the rise of the internet has changed the way stories are researched, presented and consumed.

For newspapers, that has meant a continued decline in circulation numbers and an increased numbers of papers ceasing publication. It also means that there are a growing number of journalists who have changed the trajectory of their careers, applying their skills to content marketing to remain relevant in the contemporary marketplace.

While the slump has created a crisis for the traditional publishing industry, it offers many opportunities for businesses and organizations that see the value of hiring journalists to develop and write content. Relying on trained, professional journalists as part of your content marketing strategy has several benefits that go beyond their ability to turn a catchy phrase. In fact, there are many different ways that a journalistic approach can benefit your content marketing.

What Does a Journalistic Approach Mean?

Today, content can be written and published by virtually anyone. While that has opened the door of opportunity for many people who always had a desire to write, it doesn’t mean that every writer has the same kind of credibility. Some bloggers or writers will allow themselves to be a little bit “looser” with the facts or might borrow information from a source that isn’t credible. In fact, they may not always know what determines whether or not a source is credible and which sites are acceptable to gather information from.

That’s one of the main qualities that differentiate a journalistic approach to content. Journalists follow a certain set of ethics and also are committed to objectivity. When reporting a story, they don’t simply “take someone’s word” as fact; they look for data and citations to back up what they’re told and want to make sure that they aren’t letting their own beliefs or biases color how the story is researched and written. They’re experienced at interviewing people on different subjects and learning which questions to ask, how to ask them and when they need to add additional sources to address any lingering concerns.

When it comes to content marketing, journalists will naturally apply these same ethics and approaches. Even if they’re writing a story for a specific client, they’re going to dig a little deeper to make sure that they’re telling the whole story. And, in doing so, they might find a new angle or generate additional ideas. Journalists live to tell a great story, which is why they’re always looking for one.

The main difference between content marketers and journalists is who they write for; a content marketer works for a company or organization, while a journalist works for a news organization. But, when a journalist applies those skills to the needs of an organization, it creates a form of reporting called brand journalism that can serve the needs of the company to get its message out without sacrificing the truth and integrity that journalists pride themselves on. When your company is able to present that type of solid reporting and factual evidence, you’ll stand out as being more knowledgeable and reputable.

The Advantages of Working With Journalists

Chances are, if you’re working with a journalist who has worked for a newspaper, magazine or other publishing outlet, they’re accustomed to writing about a lot of different topics. While many content marketers or bloggers choose to work in a niche industry or may specialize in a certain topic, journalists are familiar with the practice of quickly switching gears. They might be working on a breaking hard news story in the morning and writing a heartwarming feature story in the afternoon.

While some journalists will have specialty areas, such as sports, crime or lifestyle, it’s more common to find journalists who are “generalists” used to covering a wide range of topics. They’re often not experts on any one subject, but they are great storytellers (which also makes them great to take to a party or sit next to on an airplane). Give them a topic and, regardless of what experience they have in that subject, they have the tools and expertise to dig in and find everything you need to know about it.

That broad base of knowledge comes in handy in many ways; they’re accustomed to having to come up with story ideas and pitches, so they’re great at ideation. They might look at one topic and see a dozen different story ideas. And each one of those story ideas is likely to spawn additional ideas.

Journalists are accustomed to deadlines and don’t see missing a deadline as an option — mostly because, in publishing, it’s not. Few workers are as committed to never missing a deadline the way a journalist is; it’s seemingly hard-wired into them. To journalists, meeting deadlines is a reflection of their ability and trustworthiness; and while nobody really knows if that’s caused by nature or nurture, it’s a well-known fact.

That becomes a priceless commodity when you have a content marketing project that needs a quick turnaround and missing the deadline isn’t an option.

How Can Journalists Help Your Content Marketing?

You might think that journalists make good content marketers because they tend to know the rules of grammar well enough to recite them in their sleep, or because they’ve mastered the elements of writing in a way that engages readers. But those are actually just bonuses.

When it comes to content marketing, aligning with journalists has several other obvious benefits. Think about what you want from your content: You want it to be factual. You want it to be well-written. You want it to be unique. You want the approach to be creative. You want it to provide expert information. And you want it delivered on time.

That, in a nutshell, describes the copy that journalists deliver every day. When they apply their well-honed skills to content marketing, it elevates the brand and can set your company apart from competitors.

At a time where content is in great demand as well as abundant supply, every company has to take steps to stand out as innovative, interesting and accurate. Investing in journalists to provide content is an effective way to raise the quality of your emails, blog posts, white papers, social media posts and every other format of the written word that you use to share your message.

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Mario Medina

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