In 2007, David Meerman Scott suggested an unconventional angle to online marketers: Hire a journalist. It took about five years, but that shift is finally happening, and in some of the biggest organizations around the world. If you think your marketing strategy might need a good shakeup, read on.
The thing about journalists is that they're not just trained to create stories, they're trained to create interesting stories. Infuse an organization with this skill and suddenly they've got e-books, white papers, infographics and content-rich webpages full of valuable information told in a way that's actually readable.
"...consumers love it," wrote Scott. "How refreshing to read, listen to, and watch these products of journalistic expertise instead of the usual product come-ons that typical corporations produce."
Journalism at Google
Wordsmiths from all corners of the Web drooled with envy when, in April of last year, Caroline McCarthy announced that she was leaving her social media writer post at CNET for Google's greener pastures. How her journalistic expertise would be utilized at the Googleplex wasn't immediately clear, however, as few details were given outside of McCarthy's own blog post:
After five incredible years at CNET, I’m moving on. May 6 is my last day; ten days later, I will join Google’s New York office as a member of its fledgling Trends & Insights team. I’ll be doing a lot of writing, editing, and analysis as I work with Alli Mooney to humanize Google’s massive amounts of data for the marketplace.
Today you can find many instances of McCarthy humanizing data by heading over to Think Insights, an information and resource hub Google released for marketers in November of last year.
Journalism at Eloqua
Eloqua offers a better-documented case of journalist fever through the hire of Jesse Noyes, a former reporter for the Boston Business Journal and Boston Herald.
“I had a simple problem I needed to fix – to produce more and better content,” wrote Eloqua’s CMO, Brian Kardon, in a blog post celebrating Jesse’s 1 year anniversary with the company. “Our blog was not particularly well read or indexed. The frequency of our postings was too low. Many of the postings were too Eloqua-centric. [Scott's] idea did not require lots of process changes, or giant budget approvals.”
It proved to be a wise decision. In Kardon's words, the results of adding Noyes to the team have been “fantastic.” Eloqua’s company blog has thousands of new followers, and there were twice as many visitors recorded between Q2 and Q3 of last year. “It has become the hub of our content marketing strategy.”
Communication = Power
This growing trend shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The re-emergence of the written word as a center of power is everywhere. Think about it: How do we use Google or Bing? With words. And what about Facebook posts, blogs, tweets and text messages? All words. These shifts in communication have raised the Customer Experience bar for companies across the board. Hiring someone outside the company with a voice honed for talking -- not selling -- just seems obvious at this point.
The power of communication can't and shouldn't be underestimated, especially on a day like today, when SOPA protests are blacking out some of the Internet's biggest websites, including Wikipedia, Boing Boing and Reddit.
If you haven't yet, go Fight for the Future. And then hire yourself a journalist.