The rise of content marketing–the process of generating high-quality online content with the goal of building trust and community with your brand’s target audience–is generating demand for professionals with journalism and public relations (PR) skills.
Why? Because success in content marketing requires two key ingredients: great content and effective outreach. To create great content, companies need great writers and researchers (i.e. people with journalism skills). And to ensure that this content appears in all the right places, companies need PR professionals whose outreach skills can cut through the noise and promote a brand’s content.
But jobs in this role won’t go to just anyone with journalism or PR skills. In order to capitalize on the current demand, journalists and PR professionals will have to hone their online skills to make themselves attractive to companies looking for content marketing talent.
Before we dive into the career advice, however, let’s look at what’s driving this demand.
Are Traditional Newsrooms Becoming a Thing of the Past?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of journalism jobs dropped 25 percent since 2000. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of journalism jobs the BLS expects to see journalism jobs decline by another six percent. However, in the last ten years, PR specialist jobs and PR manager jobs rose by nearly 63 percent, and are expected to rise another 21 percent in the coming 10 years.
While traditional newsroom may be on the decline, journalism is not dead. We think that the drop in journalism jobs coincides with the rise in PR, marketing and advertising positions for a reason: marketing and PR departments are starting to function more like newsrooms, and journalists are being recruited to this role.
The Role of PR in Content Marketing
Content marketing is changing PR too. In the recent past, PR students looked to advertising agencies and PR firms for employment. Today, however, many are being hired as content marketers by companies ranging from Apple to MTV. But these PR professionals aren’t just spinning up press releases for major media outlets and reaching out to journalists. They’re focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and overseeing social media distribution.
These PR professionals are leading email outreach efforts to industry thought leaders, managing social media communities and monitoring site traffic in Google Analytics. As content marketing continues to grow in prominence, companies will seek PR people who aren’t just good at event planning and writing a press release but can also deftly navigate the world of online marketing and social media community management.
So what can journalism and PR professionals do to ensure a successful career in the age of content marketing?
Advice for Journalists
1. Uphold traditional journalistic principles, even if you’re not in the newsroom. Even though social media and blogs make it possible for anyone to report news, if you can produce quality content and conduct great research, you’re still valuable to businesses.
2. Stay current with technology. Embrace change and learn how to maximize the reach of blogs, social media networks, and visual communications. You should also learn how digital marketing strategies.
3. Develop your own brand. Since you have the ability to conduct quality research and produce engaging content, use these skills to brand yourself as an expert on blogs and social media platforms.
4. Do some self-examination. Why did you want to be a journalist? If you were interested in journalism as a career because you enjoy researching and you’re a good writer, then content marketing may be a logical transition.
Advice for PR professionals
1. Go directly to your target audience. To be successful in PR today, you need to learn how to reach your target audience through social media networks, blogs, and online publications.
2. Develop new skills. PR specialists can no longer rely on planned events and earned media. You will need to learn skills like: search engine optimization (SEO), social media/digital marketing, and maybe even graphic design.
3. Become a storyteller. Use your storytelling and pitching skills to develop your own content strategies, such as online social profiles and blogs.
4. Be ready at a moments notice. News and reporting has become a real-time industry with online reporting tools like Twitter and Facebook. That means before you start outreach, you need to have “post-ready” material ready to go.
If you’re a journalist or a public relations professional, make sure to leverage your existing skills and build new ones because content marketing may quickly be on your horizon.
Holly Regan is a Managing Editor at Software Advice, where she blogs on a variety of topics related to small business and software products. Born and raised in Seattle, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Political Science from the University of Washington. Her writing has appeared online in The New York Times and The Huffington Post.