Does content marketing need journalists? According to some of the largest content organisations around the globe, not only does content marketing need journalists, there are large budgets set aside for hiring journalists.
Traditional journalism jobs are drying up. In fact, over the past few years, mass amounts of journalists have been retrenched in Africa. It’s a sad fact. But there is a solution:
After a turbulent past few years, journalists are suddenly in high demand. Why? Because the skills journalism students learn and practise are an integral part of content development and strategy.
“We only work with experienced journalists,” says Robyn Daly, content director at content agency Narrative. Daly looks to hire people who can conceptualise, manage and execute a content plan from top to tail, she explains. And this is exactly what journalists are trained to do.
Lani Carstens, group managing director of John Brown Media (JBM) South Africa, explains that almost all writers and editors that work for JBM come from a journalistic and editorial background.
The journalism skills that align perfectly with content marketing are knowing what is newsworthy, what is topical and knowing how to construct a story, says Melissa Attree, director of content strategy at Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town. “There’s a reason most of the major branded content publishers are hiring ex journalists.”
When asked if journalism is an advantage for anyone wanting to work in content marketing, Daly replied: “Honestly, it’s the only way to go.”
“It not now, most definitely in the future, ex journalists and editors will be highly sought after by brands and agencies,” says Attree.
Recently, Media Update asked academic heavy-weights whether or not journalism university students should be trained in content marketing. Now it’s time to hear from the industry.
“Any tertiary education institution that isn’t including content marketing in their curriculum is short-sighted,” says Daly. “The future of media is with brands. They have the audiences and budgets to hire top editors, writers and photographers.”
Carstens agrees that students need to learn about content production, strategy and content marketing. “I think it’s a brilliant idea and can only add to their skillset in preparing for a rapidly evolving media sector,” she says.
“I do feel that students perhaps need more exposure these days to branded content and digital media,” says Melissa Attree, director of content strategy at Ogilvy & Mather Cape Town. Not all journalism students become journalists, Attree points out.
It’s the perfect match
Being able to produce quality content is the most basic skill taught in any journalism course. But very few content marketers possess these skills naturally. Which is exactly why the content marketing industry needs journalists; it’s a match made in Heaven.
“They need staff with skills to research, write, package and measure the impact of narratives on specific corporate audiences,” says Jude Mathurine, senior lecturer and head of programme at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
“Content marketing needs story-tellers – journalists, photojournalists and editors. And storytellers need a buyer for their talents,” explains Daly. “The days of tripping out of university and landing in a journalism job are over.
It’s true. Journalists need to make a living, and the media industry is currently not obliging. But the content industry is booming and agencies have more budget than ever before.
What’s your take? Does content marketing really need journalists? Share your point of view below.
Compiled, edited and posted by: Jimmyadesanya (Facebook.com/LinkedIn)