19 Jul 2013
Guest post by Holly Regan
Content marketing seems to be everywhere these days. Brands from Apple to MTV are moving away from more traditional marketing approaches, instead looking to create high quality content that builds trust and community among their target audience and establishes them as industry thought leaders.
The shift to content marketing is surprisingly good news for one profession: journalism. As we all know, career opportunities for journalists have contracted over the last couple of decades. However, as more companies adopt content marketing, the demand for people who can create great, sharable content is rising. And that means companies need people with great research and writing skills (i.e., journalists).
In short, the rise of content marketing is leading to a renaissance of journalism. Only in this age, journalists are being reborn as content marketers.
The Fall of Traditional Journalism and Rise of Content Marketing
Since 2000, newsrooms have cut roughly 25 percent of their staff. Unfortunately, this trend is expected to continue. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2010 and 2020, the number of journalism jobs available will drop by another six percent.
Importantly, the drop in journalism jobs coincides with the rise in PR, marketing and advertising jobs. Why? Because, as I mentioned above, marketing departments are starting to function more like newsrooms that produce unique content about their brand and report on industry topics and trends. And journalists are being recruited to oversee the content part of content marketing.
So while jobs for traditional journalists may be dwindling in numbers, journalists are being reborn as content marketers. As recent journalism graduate Nathan Martyn shared with Software Advice, when Martyn graduated “1,900 journalists had just been let go by Fairfax. Journalism positions just weren’t available so I had to change my career goals and try my hand at everything.” However, he’s found that “so much of [his] journalism degree works for web content” that he’s been able to get steady jobs creating content for the Web.
To get a better sense of this trend, we did a quick search of New York City’s Craigslist to see what kinds of jobs were being posted. Our findings back up the trend towards content marketing.
Tips for Journalists Looking to Make it in Content Marketing
While content marketing is creating inroads for journalists to make it in the marketing world, brands won’t look to hire just any journalist. They’ll need people who are web-savvy and who are good,accurate writers and researchers and who know how to tell a story effectively.
Beyond that, journalists will have to understand that working in the world of content marketing will be a little bit different than working in the newsroom. For instance, journalists who start to work in content marketing will have to transition from remaining unbiased in their writing to being advocates for a brand.
Here are a few tips for journalists who are looking to make the leap to content marketing.
- Uphold journalistic principles. You’ll have to advocate for a brand, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t write great stories that are well researched, fact-checked and fair.
- Beef up your Web skills. Journalists who want to make themselves attractive to employers will need to work to understand search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and social media marketing to make sure their writing has the greatest impact possible on the Web.
- Build your own brand. Just like the brands journalists will ultimately promote, journalists should look to build their personal brand. That means building thought leadership and becoming an authority on whatever business subject (or beat) they cover.
- Make sure this is something you want to do. Before making the leap, it’s important that you do some soul-searching. If you became a journalist for the good of society, then content marketing might not be as fulfilling. However, if it was just because you’re a great writer who wants to have a reliable career then content marketing might be a better fit.
Do you have any experience making the transition from journalist to content marketer? Let us know what you think about this trend in the comments below.
Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications and co-founder of Leading Thought. He is the co-author of the award-winning #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign. He published his first book on thought leadership in 2009: “Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership”Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.
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