Are Journalists More Professional than Freelancer Writers?
When searching for a writer to handle your content marketing needs, you can’t just hire any freelancer. Every freelancer has their own skills and experiences. You hire a travel writer to deal with travel related content. You need a professional blog writer to handle your blog posts. You want to hire journalists to take care of your interviews. However, often content marketers will choose a writer with a journalist background over a freelancer with a business degree. Why? There is the unspoken notion that journalists are better writers than basic freelancers.
Part of this comes from the facts. Fact #1, journalists with experience have worked for print publications ranging from magazines to newspapers. Fact #2, to get in the door of a national newspaper or trendy glossy you need to have the education and experience to support your resume. Fact #3, newspapers and magazines have been closing up shop for years, leaving professionally trained journalists to pick up the scraps as freelancers. For these reasons, many content marketers will choose a journalist to tackle their online content needs.
The Unprofessional Beast
Unfortunately, while a journalist is trained in finding credible sources, conducting interviews and researching the latest buzz, they may not have the skills need for online content writing. When you are working with SEO keywords, internal links and headings, you need a new set of tools as a writer. These tools are typically learned on the run since content marketing is an unprofessional beast that has yet to be welded by English lit and journalism professors. Furthermore, the world of web content takes a spin every year or so thanks to Google and its ever-weaving analytics.
You need someone to put the spin on web content while you are throwing social media writing and email marketing into their day. These writers’ work day might include eyelash treatments in Beverly Hills, leaf season in New England and how to wrap holiday gifts with flair. It’s not the latest breaking news, and there’s no chance they’ll earn an award for their work. But these writers are professionals because you are paying them to write for your business.
Best in Show
Here’s the scoop. While journalists might be more professional on paper, they aren’t always the best fit. Keep in mind journalists are diligent with deadlines, capable of producing 10,000 words a day, and experienced with writing content. The same can be said for web content writers, many of whom have been in the industry for a decade, and who have pressed millions of words through their keyboards.
Therefore, you shouldn’t choose a journalist for your web content simply because of their pedigree. Before hiring a journalist gone freelancer, find out what experience they have on the rough and rowdy freelance side of content writing. Chances are, if they’ve been in the business for a bit, they are going to be able to blend their professional skills with the web marketing needs of the current scene.
Miranda B was an unprofessional journalist in high school, serving as a sports reporter, and later a columnist and random feature writer for a small town paper. She prefers the life of the rough crowd as a web content expert.