Tips for Transitioning from Journalism to a Marketing Career

Journalism to marketing career change

With the increasing popularity of inbound marketing and content marketing, journalists and writers have new options when it comes to career changes.

In fact, Harvard Business Review discussed this phenomenon in their article, The Content Market Revolution, saying big brands are poaching journalists for content positions “because trained journalists and writers are in the best position to synthesize information, capture a reader’s attention, and uphold a critical editorial standard.”

Journalists and talented writers would make a nice addition to a content writing team within a marketing department or agency. However, new skills may be necessary. Many companies require marketers to possess a variety of digital skills in addition to being able to produce buyer-driven, valuable content. From understanding the basics SEO (search engine optimization) to web analytics, content marketers now must build out their skill sets to remain a valuable member of the team and position their content within competitive markets and complex buying journeys. So for journalists who may find themselves short of a few skills, here are tips to help you secure the marketing position you desire.

Showcase Marketing-Related Experience on your Resume

As a journalist, you have a lot of experience needed to fill a marketing vacancy. Revamp your resume to highlight specific skills such as being industry-specific research, industry-specific subject matter expertise, understanding of key market trends, research skills, story-telling abilities, editing and proofreading abilities, understanding the news cycle, publishing capabilities, and having connections in the media industry. In addition to general marketing skills, these writer-specific talents go a long way in the field of marketing.

Industry Specialization Matters

As a journalist, you probably have many marketers following you on social media. Begin to share content, thoughts, and trends related to both the marketing industry and a specific business category that you wish to penetrate.  Start to follow popular blogs and trade publications, reposting content that you find useful, and grow your following.

Keep in mind, content marketers must develop a deep industry knowledge in their category of business. You cannot just study trends in SEO. If you plan to be a content marketer focusing on B2B technology companies, for instance, you must also develop subject matter expertise in the industry. In this case, you would study trends in new IT concepts, the emergence of turnkey SaaS offerings, challenges in moving from on-prem. to cloud, etc.

Companies will be interested in your if you have a large social media following relevant to their industry because it means you have influence in a particular market. Use this to your advantage in the interview and when reaching out to a specific company.

Find your Marketing Skills Gap

Most likely you are a strong writer, which is a good start to a career in marketing. Many people in this industry are specialists or at least well-versed in SEO, lead generation, sales enablement, content distribution channels, analytics, and/or email marketing (among other skills). If you’re interested in marketing, most likely you’ve dabbled in a few of these already, so figure out which skills you need to learn more about (depending on which type of marketing you want to be) and go from there.

Example subjects to explore:

  • Understanding sales enablement and the role content plays to educate and influence buyers
  • How to position and package content for organic social media, paid social media, conversion landing pages, and email drip campaigns
  • Tips and best practices for building email workflows using marketing automation
  • How to conduct a competitive content analysis within a specific industry

Fill the Skills Gap

There are ways journalists can build out their marketing skills before even applying for a marketing job. Take analytics, for example. Journalists can gain access to their publication’s analytics to begin to understand which of their articles did well and which did poorly. In which articles did the reader follow the call to action? Did they read another piece? Did they sign up for a newsletter? Journalists that can understand what makes good content and how poor performing content can be improved are one step ahead.

Alternatively, take online classes and become certified. Look at Google and HubSpot certification courses to build out skill sets that are in-demand. Take an online course in a marketing specialty to learn about PPC, ads, SEO, data, etc. Employers will be impressed by the initiative taken and happy they do not have to do much training.

 

Recommended Certifications for Content Marketing

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification – month 1 (better yet try to complete in one to two weeks)
Content Marketing Certification by HubSpot – month 2
HubSpot Contextual Marketing Certification – month 3
Email Marketing Certification – month 4
Google Analytics – month 6

Take a look at our: Digital Marketing Career Growth Tips

Create, Test, and Learn

Lastly, the best way to transition to a career in marketing is to run tests on your own. Try running an ad campaign for a friend, launch a blog on a niche topic and try to increase its ranking on Google by X amount each month using specific keywords, A/B test different landing pages on a website you run to find out what calls to actions work best within a certain market, etc. Obviously, you do not have to run all of these tests, but take one aspect of marketing you enjoy and run with it. Practice is essential for content marketing. Theoretical knowledge is not nearly as valuable as hands-on practice.

If you can go into an interview having run your own experiments, ready to explain what worked and what didn’t work, employers will be very impressed.

Content Marketing Job Openings at Ironpaper

Content Marketer in Charlotte, NC
Content Marketer – New York, NY

Sources

Harvard Business Review, The Content Marketing Revolution, July 1, 2014.




Follow Ironpaper

* Your privacy is important to us.

Connect socially



Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.