I started my career as a newspaper reporter, but I’ve spent the past 15 years creating membership association publications, custom media and content marketing. And the skills I learned in journalism school and as a reporter have been invaluable.
Here are seven reasons you should hire a journalist for your content marketing.
- We are storytellers. Let’s face it, the vast majority of people cannot write well. And to compete with all the other noise out there, you need someone who can tell an inspiring, intriguing, fascinating and/or relatable story to your audience. We won’t launch into salesman-speak. We will aim to create a lede that will hook readers and draw them in, wanting to know more, whether it’s through a magazine article, website content or white paper.
- We know how to dig for information. Journalists are expert researchers. We can zoom around on the interwebs finding background information, sources to interview or studies to back up your case. We won’t just click on the first three links on a Google search result. We will dig deeper.
- We know how to interview people. How hard can it be, right? We’re just asking questions. But interviewing properly means not asking basic questions about the person or the brand—those should have already been discovered through research or discussions with you—but exploring the topic further. We are experienced in conducting interviews that feel like conversations. We know how to put the source at ease. And we know to ask follow-up questions if we feel the source hasn’t dived deep enough, the interview takes an interesting turn or we need more information.
- We have an innate curiosity. We love what we do. We’re not trying to sell a product directly. We always want to learn new things and get more information, which leads us to do more research and strive for great interviews.
- We don’t plagiarize. OK, there are exceptions, but I disregard those people as true journalists. Most journalists feel it’s a mortal sin to steal someone else’s work, whether it’s “only” a few blog post sentences or thoughts sent out in a tweet. I’m always shocked at how many non-journalists think it’s OK to copy and paste others’ work. As journalists, we pride ourselves on authenticity and know the definition of plagiarism.
- We skip the jargon. Sometimes it does pop up, and sometimes it can even be appropriate in small doses, depending on the audience. But our job as storytellers is to use compelling everyday language to engage readers. As we learned in journalism school: Show, don’t tell.
- We respect deadlines. Anyone who has ever attended a school board or county council meeting in the evening and then returned to the newsroom and written 600 words in an hour in time to get the newspaper to the pressroom knows the importance of deadlines. We’re speedy. We’re good at estimating how long the work will take. And we get the job done on time.
Journalists are experienced in conducting interviews that feel like conversations. @MelEdits
When you hire a journalist, you’re not just hiring someone who says he or she is a writer. You’re hiring a proven, published writer with a unique set of skills who will be a great addition to your content marketing or membership association team.