There’s an old saying among journalists that your degree and college matter little; it’s your on-the-job training that jumpstarts your career.
What differentiates English majors from journalists is the lessons learned in the field — at a commissioners’ meeting, a crime scene, or ballfield — will keep good writers asking questions.
Today, journalists are moving away from traditional news and into alternative writing to the benefit of corporations, government agencies and marketing departments. Hiring a journalist as a freelance writer for your company’s blog writing comes with many supported benefits.
1. They Understand Storytelling
Storytelling is the core of what journalists do. They know that every good story, whether it’s for a product, a service, or about a person, has a beginning, middle, and end.
The key to writing a good story is to find a way to connect with readers. Journalists understand the value of a punchy first paragraph. They know the facts are crucial to building credibility for users. They will not oversell a product or be preachy. Instead, they’ll find a way to make people want to read all the way to the end and identify with what has been written.
2. They Can Hit Deadlines and Word Counts
Anyone who has had to produce a relatively clean 600-word story after a contentious city hall meeting in about 30 minutes to meet a newspaper deadline will handily be able to produce a piece with a lengthier deadline (4-5 days).
The word count mantra — “Don’t send in 1,000 words when the word count was 750” — is a staple of the journalism business. Infinity is not an option for word counts. Journalists will deliver crisp, clean copy on time consistently. They also won’t require much babysitting. With a clear picture of what is needed, they’ll get the job done.
3. They Can Do More Than Just Write a Quality Story
Journalists know how to take photos and place quality images in stories, whether it’s with a cell phone or fancier equipment. Many former newspaper reporters were required to produce images and write, regardless of their job title.
They can write a punchy headline with the right SEO words. They can edit a story and understand the value of reaching readers with limited words on social media.
4. Journalists are Fearless, Committed, and Empathetic
A seasoned former reporter has always had to ask hard questions of important people for big stories. They’ve likely been yelled at in public for seemingly being too aggressive and are trained to keep their composure despite being the object of scorn.
They have also learned compassion and empathy when interviewing family members or friends for an obituary. Asking sensitive and personal questions while maintaining respect drives to the empathetic core of journalists.
5. Journalists are Famously Impatient and Direct
This is the perfect quality for stories that can create a well-rounded vision of your company. Journalists don’t hesitate to ask more questions, and they love the challenges of finding answers to those questions.
That can come in the form of sleuthing on the internet or a quick phone call to more company sources to find the answers.
6. Journalists are Objective
Journalists are trained that the story isn’t finished until both sides have had a chance to weigh in. The good ones dig hard for facts from diverse sources. That objectivity enhances writing and blog posts beyond a blatant sales pitch.
Their writing can sell a story with facts and prose that keeps users engaged.
7. Journalists Know How to Conduct Interviews
It can be intimidating to interview a CEO or an important politician looking for good information. Asking more profound questions than the five Ws is what journalists do daily.
Good journalists also know how to build rapport with their subjects, gaining trust that makes them want to share their stories in a detailed way. They also know how to build relationships with sources over time. That provides access and insight for a deeper understanding of their subject. All of this leads to a better story.
8. Journalists are Obsessed with Accuracy
There are tales about professors failing students in their journalism class if a name in a story is misspelled. The stories are true. There is also a famous line from the City News Bureau of Chicago that reads: “If your mother says she loves you, confirm it with two sources.”
Any good journalist has agonized over a misspelled name that appeared in print or on a TV graphic. They probably spent a sleepless night beating themselves up for the mistake. They know to check and double-check before turning in a piece and won’t create text that feels fake just to reach a word count.
9. Journalists are Quick Studies
The best writers are good reporters. Give a journalist an assignment about a topic they are unfamiliar with, and they’ll find a way to get as much information about it as efficiently as possible.
Good writers continue to read insatiably and have been trained to spot an errant fact. They aren’t shy about reaching out to sources for one more piece of information to create a compelling read.
10. Journalists are Ethical
Most journalists worked for organizations that required them to sign ethics statements that required integrity in all situations. This could range from avoiding plagiarism to not taking gifts from sources. Integrity is the backbone of the free exchange of information.
Discover How Journalists Can Help Your Company
Good stories will bring readers to your website and convert them into customers. Journalists know the value of a high ranking on Google and have the ego to make sure your company reaches its goals.
PowerPublish’s team of brand journalists and editors can start your company on the path to success with your blogs. We will match your branded content interests with exceptional writers. When you outsource your brand publishing, you discover content that delivers results and drives revenue.