From weird acronyms to brand speak, how can journalists and PR professionals make the move into content marketing?
Making the move from the much-esteemed, if beleaguered, field of journalism to the rising maverick of content marketing seemed like an easy decision at the time.
The journalism industry is rapidly dwindling with job cuts across the board, and there are few career prospects on the horizon. But changing industries and focuses from journalism to content marketing proved a lot more confusing and challenging than expected.
There were suddenly all these new acronyms to learn, new brands to understand and new content formats to create. Instead of writing three articles a day for a monthly magazine, you’re juggling a huge range of tasks, responsibilities and priorities.
1. Content marketing is a huge, ever-evolving beast.
This industry didn’t exist 10 years ago and it’s already an established part of the marketing lexicon. It’s a diverse, rapidly growing industry that is constantly changing. When entering into this world, particularly from a traditional journalism background, it’s hard to wrap your head around the multitude of trends, developments and insights that make up content marketing. From native advertising to lead nurturing, website management, social amplification, strategic services and a range of content formats, it’s a new education every day.
What can you do to prepare for such a transition? Read up and learn. Take a look at the King Content blog hub and sign up to KC’s ‘The week in content marketing’ newsletter. Also, check out the Content Marketing Institute’s site for more insights into the practice and development of content marketing.
2. Be process-driven and procedure-lovin’.
Gone are the days when you would quickly bang out copy in 10 minutes for the top-of-the-hour news update. In content marketing, you’re generally working in periods of weeks and months. That’s not to say you won’t be grabbing a timely news piece and putting a branded spin on it. But it’s not an everyday occurrence. And you won’t be desperately crying into your coffee as you try to think up your 10th political pun in an hour.
You’ll be orchestrating campaigns or building content hubs with a number of stakeholders, agencies and partners. Organization and strict planning will be your best allies.
3. Learn the ins and outs of client service.
Client service and management is one of the steepest learning curves when moving from journalism to content marketing. As a journalist, your clients are your editors, colleagues and readers. As a content marketer, your clients are a huge and important part of your day-to-day life.
You’ll have to learn how to communicate and cooperate with your clients. It’s a two-way street of meeting expectations, providing valuable feedback and delivering on-time and to-budget. You’ll need to answer emails at odd times, prioritize client work over other work and ensure the lines of communication are clear and open.
It’s a lot of work and it can sometimes be frustrating. But you can also develop strong, long-term relationships with clients that could span years. It’s a matter of making connections, being upfront and collaborative and ensuring the content remains at a consistently high quality.
4. Be adaptable.
One morning you’ll be editing an article and the next moment you’ll be liaising with the social team on copy for a monthly LinkedIn campaign or emailing an agency about a lead nurturing program. You’ll be doing a huge range of tasks, probably at the same time, while communicating with clients and colleagues every hour.
Content marketing is a fast-paced and frenetic space, but it’ll also lead you to career opportunities and developments you could have never dreamed of as a journalist.
To find out more about the wonderful world of content marketing, sign up to our General Assembly workshop: ‘Think Like a Marketer, Act Like a Publisher’.
Sarah Linney works closely with a number of leading brands in the competitive business and IT sectors. Since joining the King Content team in October 2014, Sarah has collaborated with clients, the global team and contributors to execute strategies, facilitate topic generation, meet campaign briefs and edit thought-provoking content. After completing a journalism degree at Charles Sturt University, Sarah joined the infamous ‘Mitchell Mafia’ with a role at Bowral’s 2ST radio station. She then moved onto leading business publication, The CEO Magazine, where she worked as a writer and features editor for three years.
Photo: Female hands typing via Shutterstock