Rising from the ashes: how journalists are the new heroes of marketing

There’s never been a worse time to be a journalist. That’s what they’ll all tell you. The newsroom is a dead concept. At least in their minds.

The media and publishing industry has long been tackling a change, but this change is just a shift. It’s a modernised take on what we know to be “news”. I’d argue that journalism is more alive than ever before, we’re just not seeing it in the form we’ve become so comfortable with. Suddenly, journalists have new titles — they’re content marketers, curators and thought leaders. Suddenly, the newsroom isn’t a cubicle-styled office with headlines blaring across screens — it’s an open office environment full of strategy and ideation.

The grass is greener on the other side

In fact, there’s probably never been a better time to be a journalist. Studying the functions of a newsroom and the many aspects of becoming a recognised journo was not a wasted effort. While I made my move into the content marketing field, rather than my direct intention of the media field, I’ve somehow done it at the very right time. Journalists across the globe are shifting their thoughts, beliefs and capabilities to suit the rapidly expanding field of content marketing — and it’s an exciting time for all of us.

Changing from push to pull

So here we are, sitting here letting the rest of the world know about how our profession has merged with another, one that is particularly changing up the marketing game. Content is king, and right now, journalists are royalty. Moving from telling the world about news they need to know, these professionals are now helping brands tell their stories as well — something that many businesses still struggle to do well enough.

And that takes thinking, an analytical mind and a concept of how humans think. It’s almost a psychological role — you need to understand what drives someone to care about what you’re saying, and how you can use that to your advantage strategically. That’s something that journalists previously didn’t have to do. They told the world what they needed to know. Now, they’re content marketers that need to know how to find out what people want to know.

These days, it’s imperative to understand how you can earn your place in someone’s feed as they browse the web. There’s no guarantee you’ll be heard or even listened to, so the challenge is no longer having enough stories to pump out, it’s about the quality of it overall. Somehow, your content needs to play into the interests of a consumer audience that now carries all the power.

More to write and more to prove

Journalists-turned-content marketers are now equipped with the responsibility of having to have the right words to say, or they’ll risk the integrity of the brand they are serving. There’s so much on the line these days, and while traditional Fifth Estate values still exist, there’s now a whole other skill set involved with being a content strategist. You have to understand how foresight and intuition can play into how you dominate the online space. You need to grasp the concept of rising above the noise on search engines, social media channels and email spam. You now need to have the talent to go up against consumers who are now citizen journalists in all their own rights. The field is not so clear cut anymore and there’s no black and white answers.

Image credit: Exit Bee

So, there’s a little bit more effort involved and that means finding out how your audience thinks, acts and behaves. Content marketers are also psychologists in some ways, exploring how words can influence personal interests and motives. This means having a lot of quality content that adheres to a strategy, and a lot of quality that to go with it.

A steep learning curve, but a good one

For now, changing from journalism to content marketing is a challenge, but it’s a rewarding one. We’re helping to ignite a new field in marketing and news consumption in a way that brand storytelling is the driving force. There’s something truly remarkable and thrilling about playing “God” to that.

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Writer + mentor. Content marketing expert. SEO fangirl. All-round creative.

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