Why a Journalist's Secret Superpower is Content Marketing

December 12, 2016

Clark Kent. Peter Parker. Carrie Bradshaw.

Such fictional newsies have rocked our world; Not only by way of their journalistic talents, but via the exciting lives they lead once they leave the office.

Any comic or entertainment buff knows that these iconic figures have a skillset that extends far beyond their columns: Kent plays the famous Superman, while Parker frequently trades in a day job at The Daily Bugle for his Spiderman suit. Of course, Carrie Bradshaw moonlights as an about-town Manhattan socialite when she’s not working on her scandalous weekly feature in The New York Star.

If there’s anything that we as marketers can learn from rad journalists like these, it’s that they possess skills that make them highly versatile hires. In fact, we have reason to believe that the Clark Kents of the world would make excellent content marketers, if given the chance.

In our Ultimate Guide to a Content Marketing Career, we’ve partnered with Curata to prove this hypothesis. Here are some of the points that help make the case for hiring a journalist-turned-marketer:

Journalists Have Critical Writing Skills Content Marketers Need

Though content marketers have a number of skills, writing trumps most others. Journalists have an advantage over most marketers in that they are fast, witty and talented writers; And they have had the chance to hone their written abilities at a newspaper or other journalistic enterprise, where mistakes are few and content volume is high. Over and over in Curata surveys, content marketers voice concerns that they don’t have enough content. As such, journalists can help a content marketing organization produce more content at a faster pace.

In addition, marketers concede that sometimes they aren’t the right people to produce the content a healthy B2B business needs to drive revenue. Employees from a marketing background tend to produce copy that merely lists features rather than telling a story. They struggle to produce high enough quality content. They have a difficult time tapping internal and external subject matter experts (SMEs) through interviews or other means. Content is poorly and sloppily edited. And producing a consistent stream of content is a never-ending struggle.

As professional storytellers in their own right, journalists will ensure that outgoing content is consistent, relevant and engaging for target audiences.

Journalists Understand Media Basics 

Journalists know their way around a newsroom, and they know how to conduct proper interviews. Now in the digital age, journalists are sure to understand the complex relationship between SEO and content that will help your content soar. In this vein, content marketers need people who can:

  • Write high quality original content for owned media such as websites and blogs, earned media as guest posters, and paid media.

  • Effectively interview SMEs across their company for more relevant, higher quality content.

  • Tap into the best content from across the web using curation.

  • Solicit and review contributed content from external sources.

  • Edit content quickly and efficiently.

As a Field, Content Marketing is Growing. Fast.

It’s no secret that companies are hiring more content marketers. Of companies surveyed by Curata, an impressive 43 percent are increasing staff levels relative to content marketing. In 2016, 42 percent of companies surveyed had an executive responsible for content marketing; by 2017, 51 percent of companies will have an executive responsible for content marketing.

Another illustration of the increasing centrality of content marketing can be found in what LinkedIn data tells us about content marketing jobs. LinkedIn’s research confirms that marketing departments are on the hunt for content marketers. There were 19,156 content marketing jobs on the platform in the fall of 2016. Put that in contrast to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study which found that over a 10-year stretch (2004 - 2013), the number of reporters (journalists) decreased from 52,550 to 43,630, a 17% loss.

2017 — the Year of the Journalist in B2B Marketing?

We talk a lot about marketing trends in the new year, and I suspect that this could be one of them. The term journalist covers various types of editors, editorial writers, and columnists. A good journalist is a skilled researcher and interviewer, can tell a story in a variety of media, has uent diction, is an optimistic skeptic, and constructs persuasive arguments — exactly the skills content marketers need. With some luck and some new hires fresh out of the nearest newsroom, we just may begin to see more Clark Kents and Carrie Bradshaws roaming the halls of the marketing department.

To learn more about why journalists are highly qualified for content marketing and other aspects of the content marketing field, download The Ultimate Guide to a Content Marketing Career today.