The term “content marketing” wasn’t the buzzword that is now when I wrote a post four years ago about the convergence of the roles of communications professionals.
I wrote then, “Maybe the terms advertising, public relations, publicity, promotion and direct response should be consigned to the compactor. Those words just don’t seem to work in the new online communities that are forming like runaway amoebas. How about new terms like collaborators, community builders, prophets, enablers? Or maybe one word that summarizes everything we are: communicators.”
I still believe that except now instead of being called communicators, we are being reinvented as content marketers.
The Rise of PR
A thought-provoking post from Software Advice in The B2B Marketing Mentor makes a solid case for the blurring of roles between journalists and PR professionals. The reality is that very definition of these jobs is changing. While the role of traditional journalist is shrinking, PR jobs are increasing as shown in this graph. The role of content marketing is increasing faster than either journalism or PR.
New Roles for Journalists and PR Professionals
The trend line for each profession is misleading, though. Journalism schools are dominated by students majoring in public relations. For years, corporations have had “news bureaus” in their PR departments sending out press releases and responding to media inquiries.
Now the corporate news bureau is disseminating content directly to consumers via corporate blogs and social networks, bypassing the media altogether. The PR person has become part publicist and part journalist. At the same time, the role of the journalist is morphing into a hybrid role as writer and publicist.
As B2B Marketing Mentor points out, “…journalists don’t stick to one beat or one medium; in fact, they may cover all of them at once. They may also do their own publicity: writing blog posts and sharing them through social media, or Tweeting breaking news and information.”
Journalism majors are also being hired by corporations to develop content that promotes the company’s brand. They have the requisite writing skills, which is at the heart of all communications.
You’ve got to be creating compelling content in all mediums. In my view, a corporate blog should be the centerpiece of a company’s social media strategy, where a company can shape its messages and points of view without the filter of social media. That’s where the journalist cum-PR person can really shine.
Corporations are tweeting information about their products and services. But many journalists have their own Twitter followers, too, retweeting their posts and reports on breaking news around the world.
So I wouldn’t worry too much about journalism dying as a profession. It’s just that the nomenclature has changed. As communicators, we need to think of ourselves in a whole new way. We are all content marketers — pushing out the news in print, broadcast and online. Titles don’t matter anymore. What you’re doing is what counts now.