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Is Marketing the New Journalism?

The structure is shaping the content, McLuhan was right when he said “the medium is the message”. Blame it on social media, SEO or analytics, the truth is that digital media is having a tremendous impact in how content is done and perceived these days.

SEO, SEM are changing content

SEO, the new kid in town, threatens to limit creativity, quality, even the use of written language thanks to natural search’s very specific requirements:

  • It requests more words. At least 500 so the search engine can understand what you write about and rank you accordingly.
  • It asks for keywords. Now you cannot be vague, you need to really use clear keywords that are reader friendly. Nothing abstract, no reading between the lines.
  • It limits the titles length. This hurts when you write in a language with longer words (French, Spanish, German…). Now everybody needs to follow the 70 characters -or less, for mobile- rule. Read 5 tips to write smart titles.

Marketing is changing journalists

Journalists´ new BFF is Marketing, who knew. Information used to be sacred and any Marketing or Sales attempt to mingle in the newsroom would fail ridiculously.

But journos have gone through a lot in the past years in order to survive the many changes of their industry, and this means new commitments: writers provide different versions for online or print. Reporters are now shooting and editing, radio talents are becoming podcasters. For digital journalists, marketing is now mandatory.

You need to know how to compete in SEO, how to market your work in social networks, how important an email or SEM campaign is. And you learn how to read the new analytics data (page views vs visits, aso).

Marketing themselves is included in the package (we will less and less hear “it is not about the journalist but about the story”.) Because of social media megapopularity, everybody loves followers and likes and journalists need to be very likeable to get both audience and leads.

So how to keep the passion for Journalism?

After several layoffs I decided to join “the forces of evil” and find new pleasures. Like SEO (I love playing with words). I tried the blogging and self-branding thing (isn’t it cool to see your picture online and have an author snippet everywhere with your social media?). There are many things to love in the new media:

  • Write, edit, publish. Back to square one. There is always room for a change of heart.
  • Publish on the go.
  • Get in touch with your informers and receive information tips more easily thanks to social networks.
  • Do a little bit of design, video, photography. Awesome.
  • Frustrated with SEO? Finding the right keywords for your story will pay off really quick
  • Even better: you can measure the audience, and learn what they really want. Data can teach how to reach a larger audience

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Clarisse Céspedes

Journalist and Content Strategist. SEO, sponsorships and video. Follow me on Facebook and @ClarisseCespede.

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