content marketing, learning from journalism,

What Content Marketers Should Learn from Mainstream Journalism

Journalism Has Disciplines Content Marketing Should Learn From

I stumbled across a great article by Aaron Aguis of Louder Online, which he published on the website Content Marketing Institute.

Please feel free to read the entire article by selecting the link below. I have merely summarized it, then at the end added an item of my own.

9 Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn from Traditional Journalism

Headlines Should Convey Information

This is a general truth for newspapers and magazines, and is more critical for blog posts. This applies to both post titles and section headings within posts.

The reason is very few of us actually read online per se. Most of us scan. We scan the headlines and section headings and if something catches our interest we read that section.

For this reason you engage your desired audience more when the headline contains a summary of what appears in the article or section.

However….. At the same time it is important to choose SEO friendly titles and headlines. SEO friendly means the title contains words people are likely to be searching for without “wasting” space by using any words twice.

Avoid Unrelated “Click Bait” Headlines

I see this often. The headline is interesting and enticing, then the articles is about something else. Writers who do this lose credibility fast.

Write for Your Desired Audience

If it helps, make up a fictitious person who is your ideal customer, and write for them.

Selling bathroom remodeling services? Your customer is the woman of the house, aged 35 to 55, with 2 kids and a busy life. Let’s call her Jennifer.

Selling artisan coffee beans (whatever that might be)? Do you homework and find out who buys artisan coffee beans, then make up a person and write for them.

You get the idea.

Tell the Truth

Never ever under any circumstances should you make statements and claims you know to be false.

If you’re stating facts, verify them. If you can not verify them, be clear that you can not verify them and go so far as to ask your readers if they can confirm or correct (engagement matters).

Journalists have a rule of two sources of confirmation before going to press. While that might be overkill for content marketing about dog sweaters, don’t claim your sweaters are hand made by Bolivian Llama ranchers unless you know for absolute certain that claim is true.

Publish a Balance of Current News with Evergreen Stories

Current news is that darn dress that broke the Internet a few days ago. Publishing articles about current news stories helps attract your audience to your website, but not forever.

The interest in the dress will subside and people will stop searching for news about it.

However the 50 top uses of WD-40 will NEVER go out of style.

Minimize Distractions

Those pop up windows we all use but hate actually prevent people from remembering what you wrote about. It’s distracting.

I believe Google made a great design choice way back when, when they decided their home page would be clean and uncluttered.

Strive for that on your website and the pages that display your blog posts.

Tell the Truth

I know I already covered this, but it’s important so I’m saying it again.

If you have any form of relationship with any person or business you’re writing about, disclose it.

Think of the Bigger Picture

There is generally a larger context into which your story fits. Find it and share it.

Create Fresh Content at Frequent and Regular Intervals

Always be looking for story ideas. I used to carry a pocket sized notebook with me to jot down ideas until I realized my smart phone has a voice recorder app (that only took 3 years). When a story ideas pops into my head, I record a quick reminder. When I’m back at my desk I play them back and write them down.

The Ones I Added: Learn to Set and Keep Deadlines

You MUST publish every day.

Journalist have deadlines that are imposed on them by their editors. You must impose publishing deadlines on yourself and you must meet them.

Websites that are updated more than once a day have more visitors than website that are updated less than once a day.

The link above is to an article by Bill Belew about a class he taught at  International Technological University in downtown San Jose, CA. I know the statements he makes are true as I acted as a sort of teachers aid or technical support for the class. I created their Google Analytics accounts and regularly checked their results. His claims are true.

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