As a former journalist and a current marketer, I find it very interesting to read about how journalists are making the transition from reporting for news media to working in marketing departments. There are many important skills that journalists have that can be valuable in marketing. Let’s take a quick review of some.
First off, most good journalists are curious people. This is a good attribute for someone to have no matter what kind of job you are doing. People who like to learn and to know more about different subjects are usually the ones that progress well in companies. Next, journalists are usually good writers. This seems like a dying skill today, with text messaging ruling the day and acronyms and abbreviations finding their ways into everyday speech. Writers who can put sentences together, spell correctly and get a message across can be valuable. Also, journalists know how to to do research. The research I refer to is knowing how to follow a thread or an idea, get facts about it, and find the right people to talk with about it. And most journalists know how to tell a story. This is one of the key ideas that journalists learn in school. You learn how to hold a reader’s attention, and also how to use real-life language that most people understand as opposed to jargon. A journalist can take a product description and tell the story about the product so that a buyer wants to use the product and understands how it works. Listen to how people in your company talk about what is going on there. How much of what is said can be understood by people who do not work at your company? How much technical or other jargon is used by employees that may need translation so that normal people understand it? Your brand’s story can be told by a journalist so that your audience can be persuaded by your brand and to get that valuable emotional connection. As an extra bonus, many journalists are also trained in the visual representation of a story, can take photos and even shoot video.
So the next time you are thinking about hiring a marketer, think about journalists and how they can help you. There are a lot of them out there looking for work and they can be pointed in the direction to help you.