Old school, traditional stereotypes view journalists as creative but slightly obsessive types, willing to do anything to scope out the next story for their respective publication. Journalists have the capability to write stories that enthral, educate and most important of all, pique the interest of their target audience, regardless of channel. Eg.writing for the high-end website The Guardian and gossip-mongering entertainment site Digital Spy requires a journalist to adapt their style for two vastly different audiences, but they still need to construct interesting content.
Fast forward to 2012 and the advent of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wi-Fi, Skype, smartphones, tablets and many other technological services have revolutionised the way we talk, share and deliver content to others, especially in the realm of journalism. In fact, it has become commonplace to see journalists using microblogging service Twitter by promoting links to their articles, gathering other news stories and airing their personal views. However, while technology is continuously shaping the world of journalism, in effect not much has changed.
Content still needs to be delivered to relevant audiences in order to have the desired impact. Readers still want to feel engaged, informed and up-to-date with a subject which interests them. While both the technological landscape and the sheer number of channels for a journalist to utilise has increased, the end game is still very much the same.
Enter content marketing
A relatively new player in the digital field, content marketing shares a number of ideals with that of journalism. Delivering engaging, interesting and relevant content is the beating heart of content marketing, a focus that journalists can identify with. The emergence of content marketing, coupled with the countless number of sharing platforms rearing their heads on the webosphere (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest for example), gives marketing managers a number of channels to cement their presence as a publisher and a leading industry authority through professionally written articles.
Considering that readers can access a plethora of relevant content from anywhere in the globe, it’s important that brands get their content strategy in order. Brands want readers to be looking at their site for authoritative news, not a rival’s site. That’s why journalist-powered content marketing is so important. As one of the most powerful ways to capture an audience, it’s no wonder firms are trying to create their own take on a content marketing strategy. However, it could be more profitable to outsource their efforts to a firm that uses real journalists to create content.
That’s because journalists know how to craft a story to a specific audience. The theory behind the English language, deploying the Five W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why…and How) in a story and citing sources is Journalism 101 – qualities that you may not be able to find in an in-house marketer with no writing background.
Neutral content travels much further
That’s not to say marketers and copy writers don’t have their place in the marketing mix. Of course, their efforts within the marketing sphere are very much welcomed. Journalists, however, are fully practised at writing 100% commercially-neutral content – something in-house marketers making a sideways move into writing may not be familiar with. Neutral content has a better chance of connecting with people in the research stages of the buying cycle and will travel much further than self-promotional content, making the publishing of the articles an attractive proposition for social media managers.
Thus, some firms have capitalised on an ever-swelling journalist base to complement their content marketing efforts. By combining the core targets of journalists and content marketing into one, some firms are able to deliver professionally-written articles written by ‘brand journalists’ to a consumer base that wants to read them. Journalism by nature involves tracking the latest events happening in a particularly industry so firms hiring a professional journalist know they’re going to get a return on their investment in the form of highly developed writing skills, engaging written content and an eye for a story.
Brand journalism is the future
Journalism is constantly changing – that’s just the nature of the beast. However, at its core, it will always be about writing compelling content for a specific audience. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of brand journalism. It’s a fascinating world, perhaps daunting to those still part of the old guard but believe you me, it’s the future. Professional, tailored content delivered to a relevant audience – you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it.
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