Lessons shared from moving from journalism to digital marketing

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I thought that moving from the everyday functioning of a newsroom to a digital marketing setup would be worlds apart. In the newsroom, I’d be scanning through Twitter for a news story, get my contacts to share information to write long-form, and even ensure that my story was ranking.

In the past year, I have come to realise that if you’re in the content universe – whether it is a newsroom or a digital marketing agency – there are several common factors. Here are some of my learnings:

You’re always telling a story: The first lesson in the newsroom when you pitch an article idea is, “What’s the story?”. Ensure that your article goes as a 600-word piece in Page 1 of a newspaper or in Page 10. In the online newsroom, too, the story is integral to see if your article is in the leads of the homepage. Similarly, when you pitch an idea to a client, you need to use trending topics to share that story. We wrote a story in April 2019 (which also happens to be appraisal season) to one of our clients, where we shared tips and tricks on how you can work towards getting the increment you want.

SEO is vital: Journalists don’t take SEO people seriously, which is a mistake. Using keywords is essential to make your story rank on Google. This was particularly true during election season, where we had a list of keywords that needed to be incorporated when we wrote copy. While we grumbled, we saw the results on Google Analytics. Now, in the digital marketing space, incorporation of keywords and semantic keywords to ensure that a copy moves from page 2 of Google to page 1 is essential.

Stay on top of trends: Much like the newsroom, you need to stay on top of trends. This is particularly important if the digital marketing agency also has a social media team. Not being aware of the trends is a big thumbs down if you run a social team.

Deadlines are sacrosanct: Like a newsroom, a digital agency doesn’t have its share of unreasonable deadlines. Clients can be demanding, saying that they want an article or social media post ‘yesterday’, and you need to go all out to ensure you deliver on time.  This is the same rule in a newsroom where if you don’t deliver first, you don’t rank.

To sum it up, irrespective of whether you’re in journalism, advertising or a digital marketing agency, your content is king. Good content, clubbed with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, will ensure that you and your organisation will be taken seriously.