The Perpetuation of social media has made communication a key success factor for marketers. In order for a brand to be successful in today’s social media sphere, they must develop a voice honed for talking – not selling. It is a cardinal rule of online marketing to avoid the loudspeaker approach, and talk with your audience, rather than at them. However, in order to do this you need to regularly produce engaging, influential, non-sales-like, grammatically correct content. You need someone who can write, work on a deadline, multitask, research, and think. Someone who is trained to create interesting stories and combine valuable information so that it’s actually readable. For this reason, hiring a journalist may be the smartest content marketing move you can make.
Thousands of people who have only known a career of telling stories through words and images, are out of a job. These journalists didn’t leave their jobs; their jobs left them. However, many are finding that employers in other fields are placing value on the things that they do best. Several big-name companies like Google, Think Insights, and Eloqua have made headlines in the last year when they unexpectedly hired a handful of journalists/reporters to fill seemingly non-journalistic positions.
“I had a simple problem I needed to fix – to produce more and better content,” said Eloqua CMO, Brian Kardon when discussing his hire of former Boston Herald reporter Jesse Noyes. This hiring decision proved to be a wise one, and nearly a year later Kardon maintains that hiring Noyes was the hub of Eloqua’s content marketing strategy.
When it comes to content marketing, fresh content is a must. However, continuously coming up with new ideas is not an easy feat – unless you are a journalist. Journalists, especially those who have experience working at a daily paper, were forced to come up with several enticing topics every day. Therefore, most can come up with ten topic ideas in a matter of minutes.
When writing content, knowing your topic is also essential. Whether you need to know about one product or a variety of clients, journalists take care to research and learn the topic first. That skill set demands that journalists take in and process information with extraordinary efficiency and clarity, a benefit in any line of work. They quickly learn, then turn around and write consumer-friendly content that teaches other people about the topic.
Furthermore, journalists know first-hand why the Internet matters, and many are well-equipped to help you execute online strategies such as blogging, creating video and audio, and connecting through social networks. In recent years, journalists have been required to do more with less; reporters and photographers took up videography, editing and blogging. They file stories for print, broadcast and online, some while also tweeting – a skill set demonstrating excellent multitasking abilities.
Another noteworthy skill accompanying many journalists is loyalty. According to Jill Geisler, “The journalists you may hire have been faithful to their vocation, even when the going got more than tough. They’ve adapted, learned new skills, added duties, taken pay cuts and furloughs, mourned the loss of colleagues and coverage, and kept on doing work that mattered. What does that mean to you? Speaking as a management coach, I say it means this: hiring journalists presents you a terrific opportunity. Give them a job they believe in and they’ll work like hell to help you succeed.”
The re-emergence of the written word as a center of power is everywhere. Facebook posts, blogs, tweets and text messages? All words. Therefore, hiring someone outside the company with a background dedicated to excellence in the written word just seems obvious. The power of communication can’t and shouldn’t be underestimated.