With the continuing decline of print media, announcements of journalist and editor redundancies are now an everyday part of the workplace news-scape. Though such announcements no longer come as a surprise to anyone – least of all those within the industry – impending unemployment and the unknown still strike fear in the hearts of these media professionals, many of whom have years of experience, wisdom and exceptional storytelling skills.
What’s in a name?
What may surprise them, however, is that a new avenue is opening up to them. Seasoned journos may at first have difficulty embracing the term “content marketing”, unsure of how this not-at-all-editorial-sounding concept relates to them and seemingly runs counter to what they believe traditional journalism to be. But consider content marketing’s lesser-known moniker, brand journalism, and suddenly this line of work doesn’t seem so foreign.
Like traditional journalists, brand journalists are storytellers – good communicators who know how to grab readers, write well, know how to conduct research and are often used to working in a fast-moving news environment. They aim to educate and inform. Brand journalists create content for direct and social media channels.
For those journalists who shun the notion of mixing “brand” with “journalism” because they feel it’s impossible to be objective (a tenet of traditional journalism) when writing for or about brands, Brian Kress, in his article “Rise of the Brand Journalist”, asserts that objectivity is no longer as important as transparency – that it’s more important that readers know where a journalist is coming from and apply that knowledge in deciding whether to believe the journalist.
Vocation! Vocation! Vocation!
Companies are quickly recognising and harnessing the value of a journalistic mindset, too. A study released in February by the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) showed that Australian companies allocate 25 per cent of their total marketing budget to content marketing, and 61 per cent are planning to increase that amount in the coming months. What does this mean for journos? Well… potential jobs – as content strategists, editorial leads, and contributing writers and editors.
After all, the study found that the most popular content marketing tactics in Australia are articles on a company’s website (88 per cent). Someone has to brainstorm, commission, write and edit those articles. Who better than journalists? What’s more, the research showed that producing enough content as well as engaging content were universal challenges for Australian, UK and North American marketers alike. The upshot? There’s lots of work, as well as opportunities to be creative!
Believe it or not, now is an exciting time for journalists and brand journalism/content marketing. Sure, for some veteran journos, it may not be the “good old days”, but perhaps it’s time for good new days. Think of it like the launch of a new print magazine – it’s a chance to get in at the start of this exciting trend. It could mean a new lease on the career life of many editors and journalists.
Kasey Clark – Lead Editor/Content Strategist
(We couldn’t resist including David Horsey’s fantastic cartoon on the subject.)