3 ways journalists take your marketing to the next level
March 29, 2019 by Katy Nally
I ignored a lot of advice in college. My dad was the first one to try to steer me away from journalism—he nearly had a heart attack when I shared my “highly impractical” degree plan. Then there were my professors. Many of them had climbed the ranks at print publications and were still wounded by the slashed budgets and staff cuts occurring at outlets large and small. They weren’t shy about portending the demise of newspapers during lectures, and I thought I detected a little smugness in the “writing for web” classes.
So chalk it up to stubbornness, or naivety, but I stuck with journalism and surprised even myself when I landed a job at a small newspaper after college. It wasn’t until I ran into my favorite professor outside the state legislature building in Hartford that I started to think about other career options. Instead of telling me I was doing great and boosting my fragile 22-year-old ego, he told me, “Get out while you still can!” That time it sunk in. Maybe it was the genuine concern in his voice, but I started thinking about where—other than print publications—my journalism degree could take me.
Turns out marketing makes a great home for would-be journalists. Here’s what we bring to the table:
Structured, newsworthy stories
First and foremost, journalists can write. It’s drilled into us. We have to produce loads of accurate copy on deadline, and we rely on a proven formula that works and aligns with marketing. A lead goes at the top to hook the reader, then an explanatory body breaks down the message in clear, concise points. Journalists know how to keep your marketing consistent, on-message, and compelling.
New facts and emotion
Journalists are diggers. We’re trained to ask an annoying level of questions to uncover the truth! In marketing, this skill comes in handy when you want to validate a proof point with data, or beef up a campaign with first-hand testimonials. Journalists live for sifting through pages of documentation, or cold calling sources to learn the skinny. We have a knack for interviewing subjects to draw out click-bait-worthy quotes and uncover the emotional ties that give a story its relevance.
Less spin, more ground
Authenticity is the holy grail for brands. It’s how marketers want to sound, and it’s how consumers want to perceive companies. But many marketers fall into the spin trap, where they’ve piled on so many great things about one product that their pitch couldn’t possibly be genuine. That’s where journalists can help. Firstly, we have an inherent aversion to spin. And secondly, we’re conditioned to remove ourselves from the story and consider it from other people’s perspectives—in this case, the customer. We use that lesson in empathy to uncover new ways of framing the benefits of your product in a way that’s genuine, and makes you look muy authentico.
While newspapers may be falling out of fashion, journalists will find a soft landing in marketing. And we’re here at 2A when you’re ready for a fresh take.