Because content creation is core to inbound marketing, part of being a marketer now means being some form of a journalist. Therefore, to find success in inbound marketing, marketers must now master the art of marketalism.
Marketing + Journalism = Marketalism.
Marketalism [mar-keht-uh-liz-em] noun, verb:
1. the merge between the rudiments of traditional journalism and using content for marketing
2. to create content that is relevant and timely for professionals in a specified industry
Still not convinced? Here are 4 lessons marketers can learn from journalists.
1. Create Important Content -- Often
Just about every successful inbound marketer has embraced the fact that blogging can consistently generate traffic and leads for their business. Journalists are constantly updating content, and just about every piece of information they publish is relevant -- even crucial at times. Journalists strive to create and publish quality content at rapid speed, while also ensuring the story is important to its target audience. A marketer’s approach should be the same:
First, marketers need to publish content that is timely. Don’t teach people how to use the newest tool after the world and its mother have already done so. Instead be eager to further research about the topic at hand, become an expert, and share what you've learned. And if you did miss the train, don’t just disregard the idea altogether. That new tool may have unique applications to your industry that no one has yet discussed. If this is the case, whip together a post about how it impacts your industry in a unique way, and share it with your readers.
Second, like journalists, marketers should publish content that teaches. Reading about the number of people infected with listeria after eating cantaloupes reveals valuable information: stop eating certain cantaloupes. Similarly, a business blog should provide valuable information and data for its target audience to learn from and use. Analyzing data and sharing the insights revealed from it can greatly benefit consumers and/or customers.
2. Lead Focus Groups Like a Reporter
The stereotypical journalist is known for scrambling from interview to interview armed with multiple pens and a reporter's notebook, and extracting pertinent information from people to create a one-of-a-kind narrative that would (fingers-crossed) go on to win the Pulitzer prize while bringing pride and joy to the publication and its readers (then a copyeditor would go in and split up that crazy run-on sentence). The point is, this interview process involves making the interviewee feel comfortable, just as marketers should want their sample size or online followers to feel in order to share their true thoughts. Ask some general questions to start a focus group conversation or online dialogue. Then, slowly bring in the more specific, and even difficult, questions. No one will be ready to tell you his or her deepest feelings about a situation until he/she feels relaxed speaking with you and has enough trust in your company.
3. Drop a Beat
A news outlet's success is partially attributed to the existence of its beat reporters. Many reporters are hired to cover a certain beat, or in familiar terms, section: international, science, medicine, lifestyle, arts, entertainment -- the list goes on and on. No single person is expected to be a master of all trades. Strong content sprouts when reporters fully understand the topics they're covering so the information can be reported and written in a way that makes sense to its readers.
Marketers should follow this same theory. Hiring a young and savvy blogger isn't going to magically kick-start your inbound marketing efforts and help you increase traffic and generate leads. Your business likely consists of a diversity of experience, with different people serving as experts on different industry topics. Encourage each employee to contribute one post per month that focuses on his/her specialty. Perhaps a member of your sales team is better equipped to address specific industry topics based on questions they receive from potential customers. Different perspectives and expertise can make your content more interesting to your readers and, therefore, more successful.
4. Understand Your Audience
Just like a business, every local news outlet has its own target audience. The news organization creates and publishes content that is relevant to that primary audience. The local paper doesn't waste its time reporting results of the latest NFL game because its knows people aren't going to pick up their small town paper to read about a national football game. But the paper does cover results of the most recent town high school football game, because the community will only be to get information from their local paper.
Similarly, if you start a blog for your business, stay committed to creating the types of content your target audience wants. Focus your content around what is important to the people who you want to be your customers. Be an informative and credible voice based on your industry expertise and write about topics that you are naturally an expert in. If you can deliver unique and interesting content about a subject your audience is interested in... well then my friend, you're in business.
Master these lessons, and you will become a marketalism rock star. What are some other content creation lessons you think marketers can learn from journalists?
Photo Credit: Alex Barth