Content Marketing Tips from a Journalist

Between social media, email marketing and search engine optimization it can seem like content lives and dies in an instant. But, as good marketers know, great content that is relevant and engaging to your audience will live far beyond the “publish” button.

Before I was a marketing professional I was a journalism student. Throughout my studies I learned the art of factual story telling and the power of media from my journalism classes; then, I saw its applications to marketing through my work experience. And, I’ve been able to leverage that into a career of strategic storytelling, and now, I’m sharing my tips with you.

Diligent Fact Checking

There’s a saying in journalism “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.” It’s a fun reminder of the duty to fact checking everything. In marketing, we perceive ourselves to be the gatekeepers of information and “fact checking” may be lax. But, good content will backlink to other pages, quote data and feature images and infographics. If one thing contradicts the rest, the credibility of your brand, content, and message is compromised. So, check (and update). it. all.

Concise Writing

There was a time when a journalist would measure the length of their story in actual inches. The industry follows AP Style, which uses punctuation and abbreviation rules based on saving space on the page (goodbye Oxford comma). Safe to say, journalists know how to write to the point, and that’s exactly what good content will do. When you write “to the point” you’ll naturally stick to relevant keywords, keep the reader engaged, and the important information will rise to the top.

Multiple Layers of Proofreading

A news story may pass through 3 or more editors before final publication, and, mistakes are still made. So, it’s sufficient to say, blog content or video subtitles will have a mistake once in a while. To minimize the risk of a mistake slipping through, design an editing circle where content is circulated before publication. You could even assign different people in the circle to a “mission:” if one person really knows grammar, give that to them; let the subject matter expert fact check you; find someone outside the marketing team to edit for readability and understanding… the more eyes the better.

Story Mapping

There are different types of news stories: the stories that educate on the who, what, where, when and how, and the stories that come after the news breaks like the deep dive into the “how” or a profile on the “who.” The same could be said for content: there is the press release on a new product, but then there can also be a story about the team that worked on it or a video showing what problem it solved on a personal level. When you’re planning content, map out the different ways you can tell the same story and see your content become rich, deep and thoughtful.

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