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6 Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn From Journalist

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Taylor Griffith

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6 Lessons Content Marketers Can Learn From Journalist

  1. 1. 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS TAYLOR GRIFFITH CONTENT MANAGER, KNUCKLEPUCK @KNUCKLEPUCKDC #SEMDMV
  2. 2. #MerrillMade
  3. 3. 1. DON’T BURY THE LEAD 2. WRITE TIGHT 3. FACT CHECK LIKE A BOSS 4. READER FIRST 5. OUTREACH WITH OOMPH 6. ADD COLOR 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  4. 4. 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  5. 5. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT ▸In this attention economy, time is a hot commodity ▸Your lead has to hook a reader ▸Nut graf is typically the lead, but not always ▸Use visuals, bullets, h2s, etc., farther in the copy to keep a reader’s attention ▸Follow inverted pyramid
  6. 6. THE INVERTED PYRAMID Essential Info Who, What, When, Where, Why & How Helpful, But Not Critical Extra Info ‣ Hit ‘em with the hard stuff right away. If this reader stopped now, would they know the essentials? ‣ Essentials = Who, What, When, Where, Why & How
  7. 7. EXAMPLE Essential Info Who, What, When, Where, Why & How Helpful, But Not Critical Extra Info Arlington Bank was robbed at gunpoint on June 22. Police arrested a suspect, Jessica Rabbit, 32 of Cedar Lane, at 3:15 p.m., one hour after the robbery. The robber was wearing a clown mask, which investigators found in a dumpster nearby. Sally Smith, a bank teller who witnessed the event, said it took police more than 10 minutes to arrive on the scene.
  8. 8. EXAMPLE Essential Info Who, What, When, Where, Why & How Helpful, But Not Critical Extra Info MARKETERS, DOES THIS LOOK FAMILIAR? Arlington Bank was robbed at gunpoint on June 22. Police arrested a suspect, Jessica Rabbit, 32 of Cedar Lane, at 3:15 p.m., one hour after the robbery. The robber was wearing a clown mask, which investigators found in a dumpster nearby. Sally Smith, a bank teller who witnessed the event, said it took police more than 10 minutes to arrive on the scene.
  9. 9. CONVERSION FUNNEL Awareness Interest Desire Action ‣ Think of the conversion funnel similar to a reader’s interest/attention span. ‣ Early content get the most readers with the least interest. ‣ End content gets the least readers with the most interest.
  10. 10. 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  11. 11. MARK TWAIN I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN A SHORTER LETTER, BUT I DID NOT HAVE THE TIME.
  12. 12. TIPS FOR WRITING SHORT ▸Beware unlimited space. ▸Put stock in word value over word count. ▸Omit needless words. ▸That, really & very EXAMPLE: I’d really love to go to the party, except that I already made other plans. FIX: I’d love to go to the party, except I already made other plans.
  13. 13. TIPS FOR WRITING SHORT ▸Avoid cliches and other fillers. ▸The fact that, in the event of, concerning the matter of & is it possible that EXAMPLE: I’d love to go to the party, except for the fact that I already made other plans. FIX: I’d love to go to the party, except I already made other plans. ▸Avoid passive voice. Active voice = who does what. EXAMPLE: Taylor was invited to the party by Kiara. EXAMPLE: Taylor was invited to the party. FIX: Kiara invited Taylor to the party.
  14. 14. 3. FACT CHECK LIKE A BOSS 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  15. 15. ACCURACY ABOVE ALL ELSE ▸Journalism & marketing are built around trust. ▸Journalists have many ethical rules when it comes to reporting. ▸Seek Truth & Report It ▸Minimize Harm ▸Act Independently ▸Be Accountable and Transparent
  16. 16. ACCURACY ABOVE ALL ELSE ▸Journalism & marketing are built around trust. ▸Journalists have many ethical rules when it comes to reporting. ▸Seek Truth & Report It ▸Minimize Harm ▸Act Independently ▸Be Accountable and Transparent
  17. 17. AVOID SNAKE OIL SALESMANSHIP ▸Your users deserve this same level of truth as newspaper readers. When writing: ▸Use credible sources (.edu, .gov, professional associations, etc.) ▸Attribute facts ▸Quote industry experts or those directly involved ▸When in doubt, fact check!
  18. 18. EMBRACE FACT CHECKING ▸Fact checking = ensuring what you have is correct ▸Double-check what you don’t know ▸Ask questions ▸Resources: Webster’s New World Dictionary, When Words Collide, Grammar Girl, AP Stylebook, Purdue Online Writing Lab ▸Every error (including spelling/grammar) cuts down your credibility
  19. 19. 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  20. 20. WE WRITE SO PEOPLE WILL READ ▸Content marketers, like journalists, must always put the reader first. ▸Targeting search engines should always come second.
  21. 21. HOW TO TARGET YOUR READERS ▸Research your readers: ▸Twitter ▸Reddit ▸Quora ▸Meetup ▸What questions would you have if you were a reader? ▸Ask your client who they’re trying to target. ▸Write honest headlines.
  22. 22. 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  23. 23. HAVE YOU HEARD THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY IS STRUGGLING?▸Newspapers are reducing their reporting staff, which means reporters: ▸are being asked to write more stories ▸are getting more emails ▸have less help from coworkers
  24. 24. Hi Taylor, Papa’s Pig Pickin’ is opening its second location in Arlington, VA, on June 22. Owner and operator Peter “Papa” Porker opened his flagship location of the fast-casual barbecue joint in Alexandria, VA, last year. Since appearing on “Bobby’s Backyard Battle” on The Food Network with Chef Bobby Flay, Papa’s Pig Pickin’ has become very popular in the northern Virginia area. Recently, Porker won several awards for best pulled pork in Washington, D.C. He’s become so successful, he now sells his secret Carolina- style barbecue sauce. Peter Porker will be hosting interviews with journalists on opening day, June 22. Would you be interested in writing about Papa’s Pig Pickin’? Thanks, Stephanie Taylor, super busy journalist who doesn’t want to give you a free ad You, linkbuilding/digital PR newbie
  25. 25. PROS ▸Lots of information ▸Local interest story ▸People focus ▸Newsworthy CONS ▸Definitely a template ▸Salesy, stuffy language ▸Clearly promotes two products ▸Way it’s written shows me how Papa’s will benefit, not how my paper/my readers will ▸Doesn’t give me the scoop ▸Is basically an ad
  26. 26. Hi Taylor, Thanks for sharing that recipe for corn bread in last week’s Eat & Drink section — I can’t wait to try it! I have a story idea related to comfort food I thought you might be interested in — Peter “Papa” Porker, of Papa’s Pig Pickin’ restaurant, is opening a second location in Arlington this month. You may have heard of him; Porker, a local Arlingtonian, appeared on The Food Network with Chef Bobby Flay last year, and this year won a few awards for best pulled pork in D.C. If your readers enjoyed last week’s column as much as I did, I think they’ll definitely be interested in reading about a local barbecue success story. I’d be happy to arrange an interview, if you and your editor are interested. Stephanie Taylor, super busy journalist who is grateful to have an awesome story idea handed to her You, linkbuilding/digital PR badass
  27. 27. PROS ▸Lots of information ▸Local interest story ▸People focus ▸Newsworthy ▸Spells out why my readers should care ▸Not a template — offers unique details ▸Egobaits the writer a tad ▸Acknowledges my editor ▸Gives me the scoop CONS ▸Still may be similar to an ad, but pros outweigh the cons
  28. 28. PRO TIPS ▸Offer details unique to the reporter/newspaper ▸Mention “story idea” or an existing article in subject line ▸Make it easy — explain why it would be a good story for readers/paper ▸Offer a scoop, even if you’re sending the same email to others ▸Hook: newsworthiness, local angle, people angle, or all of the above!
  29. 29. 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  30. 30. SHOW, DON’T TELL Charles Williams is getting nervous. He grips his hands tighter together while he talks, causing his knuckles to whiten. His voice lowers and his speech slows. If one were to look closely, they may see a bead of sweat or two appear on his brow. He’s talking about swimming, or rather his inability to swim, as he stands amongst four huge six-foot-by-six-foot paintings of the ocean.
  31. 31. INTERVIEWS & QUOTES ▸Quotes create depth, add credibility. ▸You can interview: ▸Your clients ▸Their clients ▸Industry experts ▸No. 1 interview tip — don’t fear the silence.
  32. 32. BRAND VOICE ▸Interviews add personality to a journalist’s story. Brand voice is a brand’s personality. ▸If your brand were a person, how would you describe them? ▸Go back to basics — what is your mission? ▸Establish brand voice early.
  33. 33. 1. DON’T BURY THE LEAD 2. WRITE TIGHT 3. FACT CHECK LIKE A BOSS 4. READER FIRST 5. OUTREACH WITH OOMPH 6. ADD COLOR 6 LESSONS CONTENT MARKETERS CAN LEARN FROM JOURNALISTS
  34. 34. @KnucklepuckDC #SEMdmv

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