From journalism to content marketing

January 29, 2009 was my last day as a journalist.

Unemployment

Almost three years in my editorial post at a business magazine, I was called into my editor-in-chief’s office. He, my publisher and a member of HR were all sitting there, looking at me with pity in their eyes. We’d received a mass email that morning about company-wide layoffs, so when I saw an HR rep with a folder in her lap and a box of tissues by her side, my face went blank. As I shut the office door behind me I sighed at my boss: “I know what this is about.”

Getting laid off didn’t take very long. In 5 minutes the deed was done. I was handed my severance agreement, told I needed to clear out. From there, the search was on. Filing unemployment in February in Massachusetts. Sitting in a cold apartment all day, culling job sites and sending resumes while it snowed. Trying to keep my spirits up during the most dismal time of year.

Somewhere in the barrage of cover letters, I caught the eye of my current employer. I hadn’t even applied for the content position I have now — I believe I was banking on an entry-level web development role based on some work I’d done in college as a freelancer — but the HR officer who saw my resume thought content marketing might be a better fit for me. After a number of really encouraging and intriguing interviews, I was hired as a Multimedia Content Producer. And more than a year later I can’t believe that I ever did anything else.

My journalism background is a perfect fit for the work I do now. Reporting skills always come in handy in content marketing, from interviewing a subject matter expert to keeping your finger on the pulse of an industry story. An inquisitive reporter’s mind guarantees fresh, timely content. It is in our blood!

I’m not the only one making the case for journalists moving into content marketing. I know a number of fellow ex-journalists have fallen on hard times. (My former magazine doesn’t even exist anymore, it folded during a massive cull by my previous publisher.) If you are an unemployed journalist looking for next career move, I implore you to look beyond reporting or editorial work — especially if you worked in trade publications. Here are two great blog posts on moving from journalism to content marketing:

Have you made the transition from journalism to marketing? Are you considering the leap? Please drop me a comment, I’d be happy to hear what you have to say on this.