Until recently, journalists weren’t top of mind for roles in creative agencies. But as brands nudge their way into publishing, having a journo on hand is set to become as important to agencies as having a coffee machine or a ping pong table. I stepped off the editorial floor a while ago because I knew I needed to be in a progressive digital space, but I still love the evolving art of storytelling. Fortunately, when I joined The Royals, the guys had already started developing our content offering. By the middle of last year our strategy partner Dave King had refined our content engineering game plan. In 2015 we’re working on some exciting new projects. We can’t tell you what’s in the pipeline just yet, but for now, you might like to consider these five reasons why journalists can be a great fit in today’s creative agencies:
1. Journalists never stop looking for good stories
This year we’ve been working with some really forward-thinking clients who see the value in turning their brand’s stories into editorial-style narratives. It’s my job, and that of our inhouse filmmaker, Qiao, to look at elements of a client’s business and find the most interesting way to tell that story. We’re pretty stoked that we get to spend all day looking at briefs from a new angle and deciding whether to use mini-docos, writing, photography, Snapchat mobisodes or other social media elements to use to bring it to life.
2. They understand that audience retention isn’t assured
Gone are the days where people read any one publication day in, day out. Those of us who’ve worked through journalism’s transition into digital-first know how hard it is to compete to be heard in a media landscape that’s crammed with competing voices. Consumers are savvier than they’ve ever been. They know how to search for and curate their media experience and disregard the junk. It’s not enough for content to be good; it has to be compelling, culturally relevant and delivered through a bang-on user experience, too. In a creative agency, we can work with analysts and use data to find audiences that will be interested in the stories we are telling.
3. Designers, creatives and social media people are their spirit animals.
Creative agencies are a lot like newsrooms. Photographers, writers, creatives and developers are all hustling to produce great work. In both environments there’s a lot of passion, a lot of opinions and, sometimes, some frantic energy around deadline time. But journos can hack it. In fact, they thrive among diverse people and aren’t afraid to throw in their two cents.
4. Speedy turnaround? No problem.
Thanks to social media, response times have to be swift. We’re seeing the need to create relevant real-time content as speedily as a newswire. That’s not to say we’re going to jump on everything that’s trending for the sake of making noise, but many of our clients can make a valuable contribution to subjects that consumers care about. Rather than finding a third party platform to share a client’s news, our editorial team is developing new ways to release that information. Plus we’re pretty good at optimising those stories and ensuring that they land in front of people they’ll matter to.
5. Journalists are chameleons
Okay that’s a generalisation. There’s been plenty of hesitation and resistance to shifts in journalism, particularly as print made way for digital. However, those who’ve had to acquire new skills fast are adept at using their core storytelling knowledge and working with emerging tools to enhance the audience’s experience.
Brands and journalism might seem like strange bedfellows, but they’re oddly compatible. We’re just beginning to explore a whole raft of opportunities and we’re set for a great ride.