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What Marketers Can Learn from the Newsroom

Published on Mar 11, 2021

What Marketers Can Learn from the Newsroom
Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith studioID

2020 disrupted even the best laid marketing plans and gave rise to shifts in consumer behavior and values that will last well into 2021. In a time where marketers are expected to have a voice that moves at the speed of news — who better to turn to for advice than the newsroom? 

2020 was a year like no other, impacting everything and everyone across the globe — including brands and businesses worldwide. As marketers, we had a front row seat to major shifts in content consumption and buying habits. As we watched our customers’ world change, a constant emerged: the need for quick, reliable, trustworthy, and competitive information. 

Companies and marketing professionals have been told to act like publishers for years, but in today’s climate, brand journalism takes on a new sense of relevancy — and of urgency.

In fact, Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer has just revealed that brands are now more trusted than media institutions, meaning we have a new opportunity and responsibility to provide quality information. 

Here at Industry Dive, we’ve taken years of media consumption data from over 11 million decision-makers and turned them into valuable insights and observations for the marketing community at large. The result? A crucial collection of key trends, industry knowledge, and actionable takeaways that we’ve crystallized into our latest webinar: Why You Need to Operate Like a Newsroom in 2021

Read on to get a sense of what we’ll share, along with four handy tips on how marketers can start thinking like reporters in 2021 and beyond. 

Be Nimble

Last year’s news cycle presented major challenges for marketers, more often than not making for quick changes and the creation of more and more time-sensitive content. It’s no wonder then, that according to Deloitte’s 2020 CMO Survey, the number one desirable skill is the ability to pivot as new priorities emerge.

At Industry Dive, many of our highest-performing topics have centered around the global pandemic and its ongoing repercussions, with terms like “coronavirus,” “telehealth,” and “resilience” — as well as “business continuity” — taking the lead. Marketers who adopt a newsroom mindset will be better equipped to staying close to these kinds of evolving global trends as they impact the topics their audience cares about, and produce the timely, relevant content their audience needs in response.

Put Your Audience First

One of the primary reasons for practicing a newsroom mindset is keeping your audience in the know and as prepared as they can be for what’s to come. If you’re able to give them the upper hand, they’ll look to you as a reliable, trustworthy source for timely information that helps them make critical decisions — in their industry and in their careers. But to do this right, you need to know who your readers are.

  • Who is your target audience, and what challenges do they currently face?
  • What topics shape and inform their everyday lives and careers?
  • And what kind of story will make them stop scrolling and read on for more?

Once you begin to answer these questions, you can begin to create an editorial content plan that resonates and evolves with your readers.

Commit to Real-Time Marketing

We’ve entered into an era that demands agility and immediate information, all the time. Brands need to keep ahead of the issues their audiences care about as they happen to in order to stay relevant and of interest to readers. 

With resources dedicated to real-time marketing, your organization can finally function like a rapid-response newsroom. And while the logistics of pulling off truly reactive, newsroom-worthy content may seem daunting at the outset, with 22 publications under our umbrella and counting, we’re happy to share our strategy for success.

Watch our on-demand webinar: Why You Need to Operate Like a Newsroom in 2021

Prepare for the Unexpected

Any good reporter — and marketer — knows that life is unpredictable, and to expect the unexpected. But the events of a year like 2020 were a stark reminder of just how much the world as we know it can change overnight. When you design and implement a reactive and flexible content plan, and stay in the know like a journalist, you’re able be ready for anything that may arise — whether that’s breaking news on current events, a guest-written article, or an interview opportunity.

The most advanced marketers out there are already building on these capabilities, either in-house or with agency partners. And it’s this kind of flexibility that’s fast becoming an essential requirement for today’s best brands. Case in point: mid-way through 2020, we surveyed readers and found that a quarter of our audience saw their job roles significantly change during the pandemic. 

What did that mean for us? Our reporters had to quickly pivot to produce stories that reflected the abrupt changes their audiences were facing in their industries and lives. Stories that people actually wanted to read and engage with at this moment in time. To learn more from Industry Dive’s award-winning newsroom, which features 80 full-time reporters and editors covering 21 different industries, check out our latest webinar: Why You Need to Operate Like a Newsroom in 2021.