Dogs…Many families have them, and mine is soon to be one of them. What does this have to do with journalism skills for copywriters?

Today’s content marketing demands engaging content that is shareable and builds a relationship with your readers. That means you need to be creating valuable content that keeps your readers coming back to your brand.

Which is exactly what magazines have done for decades. You can learn from the journalists and create better, more effective content and copywriting.

Back to dogs. There are 5 different dog magazines on the shelves of my local bookseller. I’m sure there are many more besides.

Dogs don’t really change all that much (as far as I know), so I wonder how there is enough content to fill the pages of these magazines and where it might come from.

How do they decide which content goes in which magazine?

This is key to understanding why you – as a content marketing person – need journalism skills.

Understanding an audience

Dog people. Cat people.

That’s the first thing journalists work on understanding.

The audience.

You see, dog people are not (necessarily) cat people. And while pet owners all need certain types of information, the fact remains that people with dogs would like to read content about dogs.

Thus, the dog magazine range.

But there isn’t just one dog person. No no! The journalists and editors that put together these magazine understand that. The content is highly crafted to align with a particular audience segment.

Most marketers struggle with this. We want everyone to love our brand. But the thing is, in the desire to be everything to everyone, the brand becomes diluted.

Which type of person will be most interested in your brand? Pick one person. Today, I’ll pick the family dog owner (to be).

Creating a plan

Struggling with new content ideas? That’s possibly because you’re thinking like a marketer. You need a different plan.

One skill that journalists excel at is creating an editorial plan. This is the way they come up with new angles on the same old dog content month after month.

Hint: it’s not created at the last minute. They follow a carefully planned out calendar of content. Topical is okay from time to time, but content planning is where the success of these magazines emanates from.

The ideas, interviews, titles and angles have all been worked out in advance – sometimes months in advance.

Imagine how much easier it would be to have something to work from instead of struggling for ideas week to week.

Different types of content

Ever noticed that your favourite magazines have different types of content in them? These editorials, articles, reader comments and interviews are all designed to break the information into readable (and enjoyable) chunks instead of lengthier pieces.

Do you only write blog posts? Is your marketing stuck on whitepapers because you read that they are effective pieces of content marketing?

Try thinking like a magazine and create some different types of content across your marketing channels. Tweet, blog, write articles, create infographics, interview staff or people in your industry. Try a podcast or videos.

Be the journalist for your brand and make your content interesting to your specific reader.



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