Why a Journalism Background is a Huge Plus in B2B Content Marketing

When I moved to Texas almost six years ago, one of the first things my mom and I did together was tour the UNT campus. I really took to UNT’s j-school — The Mayborn School of Journalism. On a 100+ degree summer day, we melted into the seats on the first indoor tour, where I was promptly told by a teaching assistant that journalism was a “terrible choice” for a major. Newspapers weren’t going to be around, there would be no jobs, I would probably end up homeless — she was certain (that last part is hyperbole).

Journalism has certainly changed. But it’s far from dead — it’s morphed, instead, into several fields, really. And a reporter these days can be doing anything from reporting on news a la the original vintage to writing a BuzzFeed article titled, “50 things only cat-hoarders understand.” It’s a strange world.

If you are seeking a journalism degree or already have a dusty one in your pocket, never fear! Content marketing is here! Today’s B2B marketer has to operate as a brand journalist — covering the technology and service offerings by finding the lowdown. The nitty gritty. The rub. Why tech products and service offerings are different than all others. How they change lives. How they make work better. How they make people happier.  

A content marketer with a journalism or English background is uniquely equipped for the job. Here’s just a few reasons why:

  • Today’s B2B buyer doesn’t want spin and journalists can find the real story.

  • Journalists are trained to work on tight deadlines and can produce stellar content under short deadlines.

  • People today have short attention spans and journalists know how to be concise.

  • They know how to manage relationships with sources, influencers, and customers.

93 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing. It's everywhere. There is an overwhelming sea of white papers, e-books, webinars, and more flooding the marketplace and vying for your customers’ attention. Journalists know a little something about that. The news landscape is competitive and journalists know they need a voice, a hook, a unique perspective, something unique to make their story stand out against all of the other similar reports.

Brand journalism isn’t new. Neither is content marketing or any of the new buzzwords we have all adopted and overused.

Here’s a definition from David Meerman Scott:

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Whether you are breathing life into the archives of the world’s content or allowing for user-generated or sponsored content — you are participating in brand journalism. And your average sales-driven or advertising-driven copywriter may not be adept at telling brand stories in the same way as journalists are. 

Don't get me wrong — marketing and journalism can be natural-born enemies. They can be exact opposites of one another. One seeking to stamp out bias and the other seeking to introduce bias — at their basest level. But that's why journaists participating in the marketing ecosystem is so important — introduce real storytelling to brands, keep things honest, and make realistic promises. 

Content marketing is becoming more and more ambiguous with the rise of native advertising. Writers and content maestros unite to bring unique content to the table every day. So if you’re looking for a way to stand out of the crowd and tell your brand’s side of the story — get a journalist on your team stat.

Read more on this topic — We have two e-books packed with content that you can check out on SlideShare: