While reviewing David Meerman Scott’s excellent book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR (John Wiley and Sons), I found dozens of references to “journalists.” One headline, in particular, caught my eye: Bring a Journalist onto Your Team. In that section, Scott says: “One of the best ways to create great web content is to actually hire a journalist.” The best-selling author is spot-on!
Too many web sites and blogs are little more than online brochures. They provide static sales-oriented information that turns off readers rather than switches on their desire to engage with a company, non profit, or other organization. Well-written, relevant stories keep audiences coming back for more.
Journalists bring a set of unique skills to your team, capabilities that you might find very useful. Just a sampling of those include:
- They are skilled in primary and secondary research. Need someone to dig for information? Hire a journalist. Some even understand and apply the art of elicitation and other business intelligence techniques.
- Journalists can cover a variety of subjects. The best reporters are able to research and write about nearly any subject. They often find a story angle that is hidden from others.
- Yet we also build and store in-depth industry knowledge. There is no better way to learn about a niche than to write about it for years. Even a single article on a subject builds knowledge that can be leveraged the next time a similar story shows up on the content calendar.
- They are content machines. Journalists (like RMC’s Kirk Richardson) have worked under tight deadlines for many years. Anyone who has been in a newsroom late at night with an editor anxiously waiting for copy, knows that is true. Need five compelling blog posts to establish thought leadership this week? Find a talented journalist.
- We produce quality stories again and again. What is the formula: 10,000 hours of practice makes someone an subject matter or skill-set expert? Thousands of articles published over many years “sharpens the saw” and enables us writers to generate superior content that draws readers in, strategically leading them from the first word to the final period.
- Speaking of audiences, we focus on them. Much like public speaking, the winning formula involves writing for the reader, instead of a navel-gazing approach. We understand how to craft an interesting story that engages rather than repels the audience.
- Need an editor? Journalists are often grammar, punctuation, and style experts. They can improve content without changing the author’s original meaning. When you need a ghost writer, journalists are among the best options.
- We are accurate. Journalists fact-check every story that they write and have a few tricks up their sleeves for ensuring that there aren’t any “uh-oh” moments. For the best journalists, getting the story straight goes well beyond ensuring names are spelled correctly.
The next time that your web site, blog, social media pages, newsletter or other literature leaves you flat and uninspired, consider a journalist. It’s an investment that could offer your company, association, or not-for-profit everything from improved SEO performance to a valuable archive of articles that you’ll be able to tap and leverage again and again. Best of all, using a real journalist has the potential to help you create a loyal fan base, potential customers (and influencers) eager to return to your web site and social media pages, where they can follow or even start a conversation with your organization. But don’t just take my word for it. Give it a try!