We’re in the age of a content boom so much so that the rise of content marketing in recent years has given numerous journalists an opportunity to forge a new career path.
Content marketing is a broad, umbrella term that encompasses many forms of online content – blog posts, infographics, social media posts, photo essays or reports — created by or on behalf of a company to attract an audience and convert them into customers. If you think about it, many of the tools in a journalist’s skill set can and will travel well into the world of content marketing.
Here are some of the ways you can make the switch.
Don’t leave your skills behind
Editing/Proofreading: The newsroom isn’t the only place where accuracy, grammar and tone matter. Keep finding the hole in the narrative, the phrase that lacks nuance and the word that eludes spell-check.
Researching: Journalists tend to have incredible research skills and are able to verify every claim in their articles for authenticity (from credible sources). That’s exactly what content marketers need since they’ll have to research buyer personas, pain points, competitors’ brand positioning and content gaps. A skilled content marketing specialist will remain in research mode until the necessary answers are available, and are always working on a larger content market strategy through useful, authoritative content.
Writing for the web: If you’re already writing for an online magazine, then pat yourself on the back because you’re one step ahead of traditional print journalists. As a digital writer, you will once again cross paths with keywords, hyperlinks and the need to customise your writing for an online audience. If you keep these close to you, you’ll go far in content marketing.
Understand how good marketing copy and good content are similar
While journalism and marketing do not align on every aspect, a lot of it is fairly similar. Reporting and messaging aren’t as different as they might seem. Both involve the gathering, analysis and presentation of information. Many of the qualities that make for good news copy also apply to good marketing content:
- Concise, attention-grabbing headlines
- Accurate and informative storytelling
- An engaging tone that doesn’t go over the readers’ heads or talks down to them
At the end of the day, journalists are great storytellers — from hard news to features, great journalists know how to keep the reader involved and tell a compelling story. This skill would be crucial as a content marketer because it’s all about crafting a story that piques interest for a brand. It would also help to take note of tools content marketers uses during ideation, such as BuzzSumo and Headline Analyzer.
Bank on your industry expertise
Take for instance you’re a finance writer and well versed in the technicalities that the industry calls for, then go for a content marketing role that specifically targets the exact industry. This way you can effectively utilise your expertise and be better able to craft content that will speak to the industry’s audience. The key always lies in doing what you know best!
Learn how to deal with numbers
It’s true that journalists may not be so great with numbers since they primarily deal with words. But when it comes to content marketing, all sorts of numbers will come into play and affect how you craft or improve your content marketing strategy.
An effective content marketer requires some degree of analytical skills. You would need to know how to track your published content’s performance against pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs). This would include being able to read Google Analytics data, engagement rates, reach and so on for individual content distribution platforms. After which, all of this data would help in fine-tuning and enhance future content pieces so as to fulfil your marketing objectives.
There you have it, with the above skills and knowledge, you could easily make the transition from journalist to content marketer — a very valuable move in this quickly evolving world of digital marketing.