Marketing = Journalism = Marketing = Journalism …

It sounds silly, but my junior year of college is when I really “found” myself professionally.

I did so by trying all kinds of new things and by expanding my leadership experience. I joined an advertising class and the American Advertising Federation, took an introductory marketing class, applied (and got) a summer corporate communications internship, served as editor-in-chief of my university’s student newspaper and maintained a 3.5-something GPA.

But this post isn’t about bragging.

These experiences subtlety show how I had my legs in , marketing and journalism, thinking they were two completely different worlds. But these worlds are actually one in the same. These experiences have helped me learn something important: Marketing is journalism and journalism is marketing.

Let’s start with the first one: Marketing is journalism.

Gone are the days of simply pushing out ads urging customers to buy, buy, buy!

This strategy might work in a few cases, but for the most part, marketers need to be genuine and to establish trust. They do this by creating honest information and resources that people will care about and that people will come to depend on. In most cases, people won’t buy from someone they don’t trust.

Acting objectively and fairly like a journalist builds trust and helps a customer feel he or she can depend not only on the information the company provides, but also on the product or service the company provides. Then, the company has to live up to that feeling by delivering on the promise.

Now second: Journalism is marketing.

Journalists out there might scowl right about now, but it’s true. No matter how objectively you report, you’re still giving out an idea and requesting or hoping people take in that idea as fact. You could report the most accurate version of a story using the most powerful words, but if people don’t buy into that story, you’ve lost. No one is going to read and you’re going to go out of business.

In the past, these worlds were separate from each other, but technology and other factors have brought them closer together than ever. For this reason and others, I’m so glad I decided to combine these industries my junior year, and I hope to expand professionally in both areas .

Before closing, here are just a few things marketers and journalists have in common:

  • They both work for an audience. For marketers, the audience is customers; for journalists, it’s readers, who are essentially customers of information.
  • They both sell ideas. Even unbiased, objective journalists have to sell you the idea that they’re unbiased and objective.
  • They both need creativity, honesty and strategy. Journalists and marketers who bore and lie to their audiences will be ignored. Also, journalists and marketers who ignore and fail to have at least a fuzzy plan for the future will also fail.

I could go on, but I ask you: What else do journalists and marketers have in common?


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