Need Content? Hire a Journalist.
Why hire a JOURNALIST to write business content?
To start with… we’re FAST. That’s critical when your budgets are tight. We try as hard as we can to be ACCURATE. We get RIGHT to the story (usually). We don’t do warm-up copy. After all, your audience’s time is limited AND valuable. We’re right there at the TOP of the story with “This is a story that can help you.”
We’re loyal. We’re hard-working. Those of us who have been around a while do not go for hype. You might, but we will tell you to cool it. COOL sells better.
We know what a deadline is.
Here’s a personal story that demonstrates the above. In 2012, I wrote a book for Howard/Simon & Schuster. It was about Southeastern Conference football. The SEC had won six straight national championships in college football.
I pitched the book in January, 2012, and the publisher sent me a contract in April, 2012. They said, “We need the manuscript by September for publishing in December for Christmas.”
That was too late. I said, “If the SEC does not win its seventh straight title in 2012, no one will buy the book in December. It needs to come out in September, 2012, while the streak is still alive.”
Publisher said, “Ok, you have eight weeks to write it.” That was April 6, 2012.
I wrote a good book in eight weeks. 62,000 words. Turned it in on June 6, 2012. The publisher then wanted another chapter to fill a hole. That was an additional 5,000 words. I did it for no more money.
There was a meeting in New York of the publisher’s business people. They asked the editor who authorized the book, “Are you crazy trying to get some guy to write a book in eight weeks.”
The man said, “Don’t worry. He’s a journalist.”
I hit the deadline. The deadline is sacred. It was a good book. (Go buy it: How The SEC Became Goliath).
If you hire a journalist everything in writing is sacred. We take the written word a lot more seriously than you do.
There are Commandments that journalists protect.
The most fundamental is getting things right. I have always told people I would rather be a good reporter than a good writer, any day of the week. We would do the same for you and your business, protect what’s right.
It’s agony to have one number wrong in a sports story, one stat a decimal off and, heaven forbid, a wrong name. You don’t sleep at night when there is a mistake under your byline.
We like to ask questions and get inside something. We have to learn fast, sometimes while sitting in a hot car in traffic. We know how to get up off our ass and not take things for granted.
“The sun is out,” you say. “Let me see for myself,” says the journalist.
People call us when there is trouble. We respond. We had serious problems at the local high school this week involving two sports teams. Some parents called me, a journalist, looking for answers. Sometimes we stir the pot. Many times we provoke a response from the brass.
“Journalists are open 24/7. We don’t do banker’s hours.”
Look at the Atlanta newspaper. It has made a comeback from the recession looking under rocks at the spending of public money. That’s huge.
Here is something else. Journalists are honest, the ones I know, at least.
When I first started to pitch my writing skill, there were some companies that wanted to hire me, but they also wanted me to get their name in the New York Times or USA TODAY. I couldn’t do that, of course. If they paid me to write something, I couldn’t turn around and sell that to a major newspaper. Death would follow.
You know how many bobbleheads I have turned down, how many free dinners, how many junkets to write a story?
Here is what’s cool. I am convincing clients not to talk about themselves in their Content marketing, but to help somebody. Sounds simple, right? It’s not always. Companies want to talk about themselves (I do), but more and more companies I write for realize they are out there to help somebody solve a problem.
Eventually their goodwill comes back. The person the company helped with a piece of content can turn into a person who wants to buy something.
Journalists are open 24/7. We don’t do banker’s hours.
Here is something else. We are loyal, us journalists. Look at that book I told you about: “How The SEC Became Goliath”. Look at the dedication. It was dedicated to all the journalists who lost their jobs in the recession when advertising went away.
I’m competitive when it comes to writing assignments, and I have not helped every journalist who has called after being laid off, but I do tell them they can make it and they have to be entrepreneurial.
That’s one thing a journalist will do for you. Fight back.
Authored by Ray Glier