Journalist vs. Marketer: Who’s Your Content Marketing Champion?

With content marketing being one of the most talked about topics lately, many companies are creating a content marketing team to stay ahead of competitors. Searching for tips on content marketing will get you a plethora of ideas about the subject, but what is hard to come by is how to organize a content marketing team.

It’s clear that content marketing contains both aspects of its title – content and marketing. However, content curation, creation, publication, and marketing all make up essential elements of the practice. And finding someone who has the skill set to excel and lead all of these steps in content marketing can be difficult.

You might think that the answer for whom should lead is obvious – a marketer. After all, we are talking about content marketing, right? While a marketer generally has a strong business background, his or her creativity and storytelling skills could be lacking. On the other hand, if you look at the content side of content marketing, a journalist could provide great leadership. While a journalist might not have as much experience in business, a journalist does know how to write for a specific audience and entice readers to consume content.

Both fields work well with content marketing, but which one is better? Here is how they stack up against each other.

Pros of a Marketer

Backed with the knowledge of business, a marketer is a combination of a businessperson and a salesperson. Marketers know their customers and create an outstanding customer experience. In addition to marketing the content, marketers focus on how and why the copy, videos, and graphics help enhance the customer experience while solving any of the customers’ problems. They will come up with the most cost-effective ways to create content that drives the most revenue to the company.

In addition, digital marketers interact with technology daily, so any technological update regarding new gadgets and software to help either themselves or the customer will definitely pique marketers’ interests. Always on top of the new technological trends and innovations, marketers might help their company be revolutionary in content marketing efforts, given the available budget. They could be front runners by making content easily available and readable on any device.

With their business background, marketers understand and interpret data with ease. Looking at the analytics from a content marketing plan won’t be a struggle, so any numbers and analysis won’t prove to be a roadblock. Plus, marketers are trained to work on deadlines. The business world doesn’t stop the clock for anyone.


Pros of a Journalist

Backed with storytelling skills and an eye for what content viewers want to consume, a journalist is perfect for creating and planning content for a content marketing effort.

A journalist’s job is to write, inform, engage, and build a trust with readers. And that’s exactly what anyone creating content for content marketing does, too. The major overlap between journalism and content marketing emphasizes that the skills learned in journalism closely relate to content marketing.

Journalists are trained to write truthful articles and know that any piece of content needs to be accurate. Consumers trust that companies publish correct information because the company itself is the most likely place for the truthful and transparent data to reside.  So a journalist trained to write truthful articles and to spot content that might include incorrect data is necessary for a company to decrease the chance of legal and ethical challenges.

In addition, a journalist is trained to know what their audience wants to read or view. Journalists’ curiosity leads to digging for the latest scoop, whether it’s for a story, for technological advancements, or for an easier way to implement content. At the same time, they have an eye for details and can recognize errors in grammar and design easily. The world wants to see perfection in content, and that’s what a journalist strives to do.


Cons of a Marketer

On paper, a marketer seems perfect to lead a content marketing team. But two of the key ingredients of successful content might be lacking from a marketer’s background and skill set. Creativity and storytelling usually doesn’t improve with a business degree. Sure, if marketers received a marketing degree from a school of business, they do write. But what they write are reports, not stories.

Unless the marketer’s degree came from a college of communication or the marketer had another major or minor in journalism, public relations, advertising, or fine arts, the marketer most likely didn’t release his or her inner artist very often. No doubt there are exceptions to this rule, but that’s what they are – exceptions.

But think about it. Creativity and storytelling are needed for content marketing to create compelling content. Not many will want to read content if it’s boring, and the same applies to poorly designed videos and infographics.

Another challenge a marketer might encounter is the editing process for content. Making sure all content adheres to the company’s style guide and editing content for grammar and punctuation is needed for consistency and brand building. However, copy editing can be very time consuming without proper training.


Cons of a Journalist

Business and math sometimes don’t click with journalists. Unless the journalist has had classes and training in either field, journalists can encounter problems with the business and analytic sides of content marketing.

Knowing what the numbers behind the results in content marketing efforts mean or even the numbers in articles written might prove difficult for a journalist. The translation between opposite fields of study to everyday language can be dampened with errors and those errors might not get caught during the editing process.


Our Recommendation

Both marketers and journalists put up a good fight for the lead role in content marketing. But after reviewing the pros and cons of each, both the journalist and the marketer lack a quality that the other possesses. Instead of fighting for the lead position, two roles should be created so that each type of leader fills in any gaps in knowledge and experience that the other lacks. The two skill sets are different, so the likelihood that someone possesses both is slim. Therefore, to lead a great content marketing team, two leaders must collaborate so that a journalist brings insight for content creation and a marketer develops a strategy for marketing.

So what are your thoughts? Who do you think is better suited to lead a content marketing team? Let us know in the comments!

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Author Profile
ashley monismith
Ashley Monismith
Ashley Monismith is a client strategist at Bay Leaf Digital, where she helps SaaS companies achieve and surpass their lead generation and brand awareness goals. In her free time, you can find Ashley hiking on nearby trails with her dog and working on various sustainability projects within her community.
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