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Why journalists make great marketers

photoI had a very interesting conversation with a colleague at a conference for marketing professionals I recently attended. The person was looking to hire someone to fill a marketing position for her business and was seeking advice on what skills the person should have. The advice I gave her was short and simple: hire a journalist. (Full disclosure: I am a former journalist working in marketing.)

While some may now feel my opinions are biased at best and pretentious at worst, I can explain. The training and experience journalists receive is second to none, giving them the skill set required to flourish in the world of corporate storytelling. There are three reasons I believe this to be true.

Journalists are modern-day storytellers

In an age of corporate responsibility and the “client experience”, how and where you produce your product is as important as the product itself. Marketers need to tell their company’s story directly to consumers. It’s not only about marketing products and services anymore, as we can see from Starbucks and Coca-Cola. Whether it is about the human reaction to a natural disaster, a political scandal, or a corporate narrative, journalists are able to clearly communicate the information that readers need to know. As companies use innovative marketing channels to tell their own stories directly to consumers, journalists have the ability to communicate this effectively.

Journalists know multimedia tools

Gone are the days where journalists were only responsible for submitting print stories to their editors. Now most publications  expect reporters to produce videos, write blog posts, and use social media to update readers on a developing story as well. As companies begin to use these marketing channels more often, journalists know how to use these tools effectively to communicate a story, causing it to become more dynamic with emotion and desire.

Journalists work well under pressure

I remember when I returned from covering my first story for a national newspaper. Walking into my editor’s office I was informed when my story was expected on her desk – five minutes ago! I quickly learned how to produce content while under that kind of pressure and it prepared me for the marketing world. With the use of the internet and tools such as social media, companies can market their products and stories in real-time making speed and accuracy extremely important. For a reporter, being able to perform well in this environment is part of their DNA.

You may think this is all hubris coming from a former journalist, but I think  these experiences make us able to apply our skills to the marketing world. So if you find yourself in the market for a marketer, be sure to seek out journalists. Sadly, with the state of newspapers as it is, they may be looking for a job anyways.

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About Greg Markey

Greg is a social media and digital marketing consultant who loves writing about business, technology, innovation and startups. He holds a degree in political science and history from St. Francis Xavier University, as well as a diploma in Journalism from Algonquin College. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and three kids..

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