When firms want to enhance their business and take advantage of prospective clients’ hunger for information, they often turn to content marketers to create engaging content that develops leads and advances them through the all-important funnel.
But they rarely look beyond the content. After all, it’s the content that develops leads, not the creator. Anyone can write, right?
Sure. But there’s a difference between copy and copy with depth, clarity and context. And odds are, you want the latter over the former.
Better find a journalist.
We always want to know how something works. We always ask why. We always question our world. We feel naked when we’re not chasing down the scoop.
That obviously bodes well for citizens who depend on curious reporters, but it’s also effective for businesses who want an edge in educating customers about why what they offer makes sense. You’re telling me this product, process or brand addresses customers’ needs? Prove it. Tell me more.
We know a lot…
Whether via formal education, life experience, years on the job or a combination of the three, journalists know a little bit about a lot of things.
You could argue that reporters earn paychecks by learning. “You learn something new every day” is inaccurate because it’s never just one thing.
…but we don’t know it all
Good reporters find out quickly that the more they know, the more they don’t know.
We freely and constantly admit it. But far from turning us off, admitting what we don’t know is like pouring gas on a fire. If we don’t know, odds are good the public doesn’t, either. It’s on us to tell them.
Good research drives good marketing content. Reporters are right for the job because our success depends locating the information we need to tell well-rounded stories.
There will always be a learning curve, especially with complex topics in niche industries. But that curve will always be shorter when a reporter is on the job.
We’re good translators
Reporters are experts at translating niche jargon into layman’s terms. That’s partly an innate skill and partly because our duty to the public demands it. Asking sources to put on the brakes and explain something like we were born yesterday is second nature.
Experts wary of getting too deep in the weeds of their brands or products can take comfort in working with journalists to develop content. Tell us what you know. Tell us why it matters. We’ll work through the weedy parts together. Complexity doesn’t alarm us.
We’re obsessed with facts
Gumshoe reporters take facts seriously. You don’t know real despair until you’ve put your name on something that turns out to be wrong. That’s why we work so hard to get the story right.
For example, journalists and metallurgical engineers likely don’t have much in common, but they share a devotion to precision. A few degrees Fahrenheit separates metallurgy from playing with fire; an exact dollar amount on a city budget line item separates public interest reporting from town gossip.
Did you get the dog’s name? Was the corpse wearing shoes? If your mother says she loves you, get a second source. Trust us. We’ll get it right.
We don’t believe you. It’s nothing personal. In fact, it’s a good thing. Journalists are trained not to take anyone at their word. If there’s a way to independently verify information, we do it.
This skepticism in the service of the public can be channeled into serving businesses and brands in a number of ways. For one thing, skepticism ensures that the information we relay comes from reputable sources. For another, skeptical reporters are well-versed in playing devil’s advocate, trying to poke holes in sources’ statements to see what holds up to scrutiny.
Reporters-turned-marketers aren’t out to trash your brand or business, but you’d be surprised at the depth that can emerge when a reporter starts pushing. There’s always more to the story.
It’s not about us
No one showers reporters in praise or riches. We get as many angry phone calls from sourpusses and know-it-alls as we get bylines. We don’t do it for fame and very few of us make any real money.
Someone would have to be either insane or insanely dedicated to keep reporting, dim prospects of living the good life be damned. That dedication never leaves us even if we leave the newsroom.
Whether we’re reporting the news, creating marketing content or sending a text to Mom, you can bet it will be well-written, well-researched, clear, concise and truthful. That’s just how we are. There’s a code we learned that we’ll never forget no matter what we write, or for whom.