Why Content Marketers Need to be More Like Journalists

blogjAre your current content marketing efforts falling short? Are you close to giving up? Content marketing is a challenge for many businesses large and small. After all, producing enough content to feed the proverbial marketing beast is difficult.

The biggest reason why marketers fail at content marketing, however, is not because they can’t keep up with content. Rather, the challenge is creating content that’s actually engaging. In other words, marketers write like marketers: copy that’s grossly promotional, stale and, frankly, uninteresting.

When creating content, marketers must abandon the marketer in them, and channel their inner journalist. Many of the same journalistic methods and principles you learned in college can apply to your content marketing strategy. Below, we explore these methods and principles and how to use them:

  • Editorial calendar: Every newsroom has a comprehensive editorial calendar used to manage content, and so should your marketing department. Before you start producing content, it’s important to have a calendar in place to keep your team (and content) on the same page. Track any key dates, such as events, product launches, milestones or other things around which you plan to build content. What’s more, make sure your calendar includes everything from content type to metrics to distribution channels.
  • Style guide: When producing content, keeping your editorial voice consistent is extremely important. An editorial style guide will help everyone—including content creators, editors and producers—properly communicate your brand’s voice. Besides outlining the obvious grammar tips and tricks, your style guide should include overall tone, word length and branding guidelines.

Now that you’ve got the methods down, let’s talk about some of the journalistic principles you must keep in mind when crafting content:

  • Be a voice of the people: Good journalists are committed to serving citizens. As a marketer, you have the same commitment to your consumers. While content should be created with a business goal in mind (i.e., lead generation), it also has to serve your consumers’ needs. Each piece of content you create should offer up some sort of value to readers whether it’s a how-to guide or an analysis of an industry report.
  • Provide a forum for the public: Just as the media provides a platform for public discussion, your content should encourage open dialogue. Don’t be scared to ask readers for their opinion on a topic. Oftentimes, the best way to determine consumer sentiment is by simply asking.
  • Make content interesting and relevant: Journalists are great storytellers. Not only do they know how to make a story interesting, but they also know how to make it relevant. When crafting content, ask yourself: “What information is most valuable to readers?” Remember, each piece of content should have a purpose.

Keeping these principles and methods in mind will help guide your content in the right direction. Agree or disagree? Tell us in the comments below!

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