Think Like a Journalist; Blog Like a Marketer

  Image via  Dollar Photo Club

This post was written by Cara Hogan, a content marketer at InsightSquared. Follow her, @CaraHogan27.


Just because you are a blogger doesn't mean you should rely solely on listicles, GIFs and how-to's. 

While that type of content can be valuable to readers, a blog post can do so much more than simply skim the surface. As content marketing has become increasingly competitive, quality and depth of content are what differentiates the best bloggers in the business from the rest of the crowd fighting for online attention.

You already know research is vital to writing a great post, but writing in-depth content takes more than just reading a Wikipedia page. Instead of relying on online sources alone, you should explore and find experts in your field to interview and use as sources for your posts.

As a former journalist, I’m a big believer in the value of actually talking to people. I use my reporting skills to interview people about their opinions and experiences, and use that to write more compelling and completely original blog posts.

You may be a blogger, but you can learn to write like a journalist.

Find Your Sources

For anyone who hasn't worked in a newsroom, it is easy to be intimidated by this type of source-driven reporting. You may think finding quality sources means spending hours on the phone, scheduling interviews and calling for quotes. But Twitter and LinkedIn make reporting a breeze. Here is a message I sent someone on Twitter that resulted in a great interview:

Social networks make it easy to search for relevant sources and approach even perfect strangers with a simple tweet or direct message. It is amazing how many people are willing to offer their comments for a blog post, either in a quick email or on a call. By framing the interview as something that will raise their profile and personal brand, it's easy to quickly source interviews on even the tightest deadline. Most people are flattered, and will be all too happy to answer a few questions focused on your topic of choice.

Write a Story

While a Q&A with one expert is great, not every single interview has to be formatted so simply. Instead of just putting an entire interview into a post with minimal editing, you can also write a multi-source piece that tells a story focused on one topic. Weave a bunch of quotes from various sources together, just like a journalist would. 

I recently wrote a post specifically focused on sales mentors, and asked a number of sales reps about their personal experiences with mentorship in the industry. People shared fascinating stories of how mentors have influenced their lives and careers positively, and offered constructive advice on how to find the right sales mentor. Their quotes were infinitely more interesting than citing a dry report or just writing my own opinion, especially since I was able to put a face and name to every thought.

Market it Right

Once you have published your journalistic-style blog post, it is time to put on your marketing hat. Pull out some of the best quotes and make a few great images you can share on social media. It’s a fact: People will share your post like crazy if you accompany it with some interesting, insightful quotes. Here is an example I pulled from the sales mentorship post:

 

Once you have published your quote-heavy piece, reach out to the sources you interviewed and send them the link. They will be thrilled you included them, and will most likely share it across their own networks. You will see shares and social reach greatly increase with multi-source posts. In fact, the more sources you use, the more shares you will see. In terms of marketing, a journalism-style post is truly a win-win.

While this type of writing does take more time and effort than a traditional blog post, it is infinitely more interesting to your readers. Don’t be afraid to get out there and ask people for interviews, no matter how high-profile they are. With the right drive and a little persistence, you can start blogging like a journalist.