Why Hiring Journalists for Inbound Marketing Makes Sense

By Raka October 13, 2023

If you’ve been to a marketing conference, visited a marketing blog, or taken a breath near a marketer in the last five years you know that storytelling is very important to inbound marketing. But storytelling is a weird skill to quantify on a resume or CV, so how do you hire good storytellers?

Hire journalists.

Reasons to hire former journalists as inbound marketers

1. We’re skilled at news gathering. That’s a given. And that’s a super-sleuthy cool skill to have. It gives your marketing department street cred.

2. We have the perfect attitude. Journalists basically have a can-do attitude. And if we can’t do it? We know how to ask the questions to get it done.

3. Social media is our middle name. Sure some journalists were resistant to tweeting when it first hit the scene (You mean I have to do that too?), but it is a great way to push our stories and photographs into the faces of our friends and readers–on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Hell, some of us even ventured into SnapChat. And as you know, social media is an expected and heralded part of inbound marketing.

4. We like to get out of the office. A Wall Street Journal reporter once advised that you should never be at your desk, that way when the editor looked up to assign someone to cover the car accident down on Route 1, you weren’t there. As an inbound marketer, your journalist will have no problem working in remote locations if need-be.

5. We won’t let the news go completely. We will still read national, and definitely local newspapers, er, news websites. I, for one, enjoy reading the e-pages of our local newspaper to see the hierarchy of the news. Hey, I’ve still got friends there. As an inbound marketer, local news that locals care about can be parlayed into timely social media both for your agency, and quite possibly your clients.

6. We know how to write the story to fit the headline. It’s true, we shouldn’t work that way in newsrooms, but sometimes it happens. Your editor already has the headline she wants in mind before you’ve even had your interview. Sort of like working backwards. This can be an advantageous skill in marketing, however. What is your H1, your banner headline? You need some copy to support it? You got it.

7. We want the big story. While marketing doesn’t have that juicy Page 1 story, it does have The Big Account.

Inbound principles that journalists get

And, on top of that, there are some inbound terms that journalists will have no problem adjusting to:

  • Advertising clutter: We read Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style” for that. Too many messages mess up the copy, in both journalism and inbound marketing.
  • Pitch: We’ve pitched a story about the woman who draws your portrait in cappuccino foam, we can pitch that story about lawnmowers.
  • Brainstorming: Yes, we did this once or twice as journalists. The news doesn’t write itself in January.
  • Call to action (CTA): This is when journalists used to yell out: “Someone needs to remember to turn the coffee pot off at the end of the day, or they’ll take it away!” For inbound marketing, it works similarly.
  • Content: Blog, video, social media post, photo, slideshow, or podcast—we did this like it was our job. It was. It still is.
  • Email: Yes. Yes. 1,000,626 times, yes.

There you have it. These are but a few of the reasons journalists make great inbound marketers. Want to talk more about this phenomenon? Call Raka. At press time, there were at least four former journalists on staff. We’d love to answer your questions (and help you ask more). It’s a journalist thing.

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