5 Reasons to Hire Out-of-Work Journalists for Content Marketing

unemployed journalist with signIt’s a sad truth, but every where you look these days, journalists are losing their jobs.

Newspapers are shutting down. Local TV stations are cutting back. The digital age is changing the way people consume their news.

Explaining what traditional media outlets should be doing to survive this new reality is a topic for another day. If print publications, television and radio stations make the right moves, they can remain valuable and relevant to advertisers.

Today you’re going to learn how and why to take advantage of the changing landscape of media and marketing. If you’re ready to commit to a content marketing strategy, but your concerned about having the time and resources to do it all yourself, we’d strongly suggest you start looking for TV news producers, reporters and people who’ve written for newspapers.

These folks may not have the background in traditional sales and marketing that you’d typically look for on a résumé. But find the right person and you’ll be hiring a powerful secret weapon.

Inbound marketing draws people to your business by earning their attention through the creation of valuable, unique content. The tough thing for many busy small business owners is actually coming up with the time and creativity to create that content.

Here are five benefits to bringing on a former journalist to help:

1. They Know How to Tell Stories

Even if you’ve only dipped your big toe into content marketing, you’ve probably heard many times that storytelling is a key to being successful.

Journalists have already been trained to be great storytellers. They did it every day back when they had a job. Newspaper reporters already know the importance of writing great headlines. They can craft lede sentences for articles that draw people in and keep them reading. They know how to create content that is informative, emotional and affects the lives of your customers and clients.

Some journalists are better than others. The nice thing is you can check out their work and find the person who can tell stories in a way that will hit home with your target audience. Out-of-work reporters, producers and editors are bound to have expansive portfolios.

2. They Know How to Research

You might worry that you have to find someone who understands your industry completely and is a good writer to boot.

But that’s not necessarily the case…

Another great quality shared by journalists is that extensive research is part of their job. By the way, that’s also a quality of an effective copywriter and sales rep.

When you work as a reporter or a writer for the news, you need to make sure you understand the topic you’re covering. One day you could be reporting on a complex court case, and the next you could be doing a story on lawn care tips.

Journalists need to know how to ask the right questions and find the right people to answer those questions. They also know how to communicate what they learn to the masses in a way that’s easy to understand.

One of the downfalls of experts or even small business owners creating content is they know too much. It’s easy to assume that your audience knows what you’re talking about. Journalists know how to cut through the technical jargon and industry speak and rework it so everyone can understand.

3. They’re Probably Affordable

Try and hire a copywriter who’s worked at an agency to be a full-time content marketer for your small business, and they’ll probably ask for a pretty penny in return.

While their job certainly appears glamorous, many reporters for newspapers and the television news aren’t paid a whole heck of a lot. Take it from me. I worked in local TV news for more than five years and as a feature writer for a newspaper.

A lot of reporters, producers and editors followed a career path to journalism because it intrigued them (and maybe because of ego to). Now many are finding they are out of a job, or they’ve just grown weary of the daily grind.

Marketing and public relations is often where these journalists land, but they can do much more than write press releases and become a public face for your company.

You’ll find that most out-of-work journalists will be willing to work for reasonable pay. This is more likely to be true with younger job candidates and people who’ve worked in smaller markets. Pay them fairly – and they’re bound to give you their best work.

4. They’ll Love the Job

Working in the news business can be extremely stressful. You’ve got deadlines to deal with on a daily basis. You’re constantly being criticized by the public. Live television can be a b!tch, and many journalists in print are constantly wondering about job security.

Being a reporter is consistently found in lists of the “most stressful” or even “worst” jobs you can have.

Leaving all that behind can be a huge relief. In fact, many who leave the world of news behind find typical marketing jobs super easy, and even boring.

With a job as a content marketer, journalists still get to do what they love…telling stories, creating something original and having their voice heard. However, they get to do it with a lot less pressure, and most likely a lot more freedom.

5. They Can  Learn Marketing

Would you rather teach someone to be a good marketer or a good writer?

Once concern you may have about hiring a journalist for a marketing position is that they haven’t exactly been in the business of selling. But you want your content marketing to generate sales and new customers.

Journalists are supposed to be unbiased and deliver information – they’re job isn’t to be persuasive.

First, you should realize that most people who work in news at least have a familiarity with advertising and marketing. Let’s be honest. Without it, they wouldn’t get a paycheck. Newspapers, TV and radio stations care about the number of viewers, listeners and readers because that’s what advertisers care about. Many of them are quite savvy about creating stories that speak to the most important demographics.

It may take a little time for them to unlearn some of the things that made them into hardened journalists. They may feel a little icky about being marketers, at first. But the great thing about content marketing is that they’ll be providing people with something that’s valuable. So they won’t leave work at the end of the day feeling like a jerk.

Also keep in mind that as traditional media adapts to the growth of new media, many young journalists and becoming experts in things like social media. They’re already engaging and interacting with an audience.

TV reporters and producers will likely come with video production and editing experience. Newspaper reporters could also know a thing or two about photography.

Plus, if the reporter you hire has a recognizable name and face – hiring them will add a lot of credibility to the content being created for your small business.

 Kasey Steinbrinck is a co-founder of Copyjuice specializing in copywriting and content marketing. Contact him for a little help making your copy more effective.

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    1. Thanks for this article Kasey, good to know. I wouldn’t have ever thought of that, except for maybe asking you for help ;). I’m enjoying all the info you are sharing, keep it coming!

    2. Hi Kasey,
      Great article, but I can only wish that the prospects for these journalists were better. It’s difficult for someone who held a Managing Editor’s position and supported a family to go to copy writing pay. Forget the fact that the quality of writing far surpasses what is common on many blogs…a lot of people looking for such content can’t really seem to distinguish a quality product from one cranked out by an inexperienced blogger, and so are not willing to pay decently. I wish more people would read your article to realize that they get what they pay for, and for just a reasonable amount they can get awesome copy.

      • I feel your pain! But I also think the tide is turning, Heather.

        Slowly but surely anyway. As the concept of content marketing becomes more mainstream, companies will realize that quality needs to take priority over quantity and even affordability or efficiency.

        Business owners who see marketing as an investment will start realizing that they need to invest in good content. Would anyone invest in a bunch of terrible stocks just because they were inexpensive?

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