Want great content? Ask for a journalist

Journalist_storytelling

We can all do content, right? You’d do well to find an agency website today that doesn’t mention that ubiquitous 7-letter c-word. As a result, marketers, advertisers and consultants, in a fight for digital breathing space, are constantly scrambling to reposition. To be noticed.

In this content space, a unique offering is rare. But you’ll never stop creative minds reordering their business’s big sell to present a new, arresting perspective on the search for true customer engagement.

So behold the rise of the individual. Gone are audiences. Gone are brand narratives. The client’s gone too. So are traditional media. The client is you: individual people. And the story is yours.

If you’re in marketing, you shouldn’t be. You should be in ‘people understanding’. Each message is now tailored for, and by, the individual. And you, the people, get your messages, your content as and when you want it.

It might start on a social feed, then continue on the bus passing you in the street and end on the back of the wearable connected jacket of the guy standing next to you on the Tube.

So I may as well stop writing. Because this isn’t bespoke. It’s for anyone who reads my LinkedIn. All three of you. And it’s long.

[I put a paragraph return in here in case you were getting bored]

But read on. Here’s the punchline.

I’ve heard all this before. It was about 20 years ago, at Journalism School. Day one. Class one. It was called ‘Know your audience’.

No journalist ever, ever taps a letter on a keyboard, a mobile, or the back of someone’s coat, without first knowing who’s going to read their piece. That journalist can’t guarantee where the piece is going to be distributed (Email, social, good old fashioned print) but they know the persona they are writing for.

They know what they’re writing about too. Class two: tell people something they didn’t already know. If it’s not new, it’s not news. Creating something longer? You’d better inform or entertain. Or you’ll break that code of trust between reader and author: you’ve got to deliver on your headline. Once the trust is broken, they won’t come back. Ever.

Class three was the inverted news pyramid. Journalists know how to deliver their story because they use Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Five Ws and One H’ (who, what, how, when, where and why). Colonel Mustard killed Mrs White with the letter opener last night in the library… because, well, she produced a bad video.

Whether your individual has two seconds or two hours, from video animations through to print magazines, trained journalists tend to tell pretty good stories. This isn’t just content. It’s captivating communication. Here’s that truly unique positioning: it’s journalistic storytelling.

So next time you’re looking to tell a story, it’s worth checking out who’s going to be telling it.


Peter Wilson    
Director and Producer