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Why journalists make the best marketers

There's an interesting trend where many journalists eventually gravitate towards the marketing sector. While not all news writers are making the move, there are a great many of them writing copy - even if just on a freelance basis. Why? The answer is simple: journalists make the best marketers.
Graham van der Made
Graham van der Made

And, yes, this may come as a bit of a shocker. After all, don’t journalist courses just teach news reporting and feature writing, while ad institutions specialise in copywriting? Yes. But it’s not about the education. It’s about the experience. It’s about the legwork. It’s about the discipline and the passion for the written word. Due to the shift in digital and adoption of social media, new-age journalists also understand the need for online content and readability.

Here Graham van der Made from digital marketing agency Rogerwilco shares a few key reasons why journalists make the best marketers.

In-depth research

Whether it’s a breaking news story or a profile piece, journalists are not only trained in research, they are expected to excel in every aspect of it. When a story begins to rear its head, these writers are required to dig up and sift through as much information as possible – from social media posts to old records – sometimes for hours or days at a time. The more concrete and relevant the information, the better the news piece.

Journalists apply the same work ethic to writing marketing pieces. They understand what needs to be part of a press release, what needs to be said, and what general fluff is. This doesn’t just apply to press releases, but SEO copy and generally anything else that clients need written. And, of course, journalists are masters of both voice and tone.

Working with tight deadlines

News is constant with breaking stories happening every minute around the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s a political scandal or even a sporting event, journalists are always there to tell the stories. And regardless of what the news is, there is definitely a tight deadline hanging over it, whether it’s getting a story published before other outlets or deadlines for the next day’s paper.

When it comes to the marketing sector, journalists know about tough deadlines that clients may impose. It doesn’t matter if they need copy for an entire website the next week or a press release to go out the next morning, those formerly of the news sector understand how to arrange words under pressure.

Editing experience

When working on tight deadlines and delicate subject matter, journalists are taught that their writing needs to be perfect, pristine, and the most readable piece of text in existence. There is extreme pressure to not use incorrect phrases or information, which could land the news outlet in hot water or in court. This is why any journalist worth their salt can edit a 600-word piece on the fly.

Tough editing expectations also mean that their writing is always concise and to the point. If a sentence doesn’t need to exist, it lands on the editing room floor so that every bit of text is trimmed and neat. After all, needless words can lose a reader.

Journalists are also fiercely proud of their work, making sure it’s perfect before publication in order to show off their detective and writing skills.

Taking the unbiased approach

The news is unbiased, or at least it is supposed to be. This forces journalists to write while taking every point of view and side into account. This same principle can be applied to writing copy for a client. If a piece requires hyperbole or information that isn’t correct, a journalist can quickly eliminate from the piece, and explain why it is unnecessary.

If you own a marketing agency and the CV of a journalist lands on your desk, snatch them up. They’ll prove to be a significant investment and asset to your company.

21 Jul 2017 12:07