- We are trained to ask questions.
Good journalists and marketers know to ask a variety of questions – both open-ended and specific questions, gather multiple relevant sources, conduct research ahead of time to inform the interview or focus group, and make subjects feel comfortable by being approachable, honest and vulnerable.
- We are good listeners.
Good journalists and marketers enter conversations with prepared questions, but are open and comfortable, allowing the interview to meander organically. If people want to talk, we know to listen. We don’t try to fill in the pauses in conversations with idle chatter, because we know that’s when people will sometimes reveal the most meaningful information.
- We love a good story.
Most of us are voracious readers, and many of us began our careers wanting to be novelists before we realized there were more reliable ways to make a living. So we deeply appreciate good stories, and we know everyone has one. The same can be said for brands and businesses. We know that, if we ask enough questions and listen carefully, we’ll discover it.
- We know emotion inspires and facts convince.
We know footnotes aren’t going to win a Pulitzer Prize or an ADDY; images – conveyed in words, photos and video will. But if the facts aren’t there to back up the emotion, we know those judging our work – including consumers – will ultimately dismiss whatever it is we’re trying to get them to do.
- We know proofreaders save the day.
A typo in a headline or a misplaced decimal point can thoroughly ruin months of work, damage credibility and reputation, and waste hundreds of thousands of dollars. We know this. We know we aren’t perfect. We know proofreaders are often the safety net protecting us from doom and despair.
- We are skeptical, not cynical. We’re optimistic, not naive.
A healthy dose of skepticism prevents journalists and marketers from making false assumptions, and optimism allows us to be open-hearted toward all kinds of people and opportunities. Cynicism prevents creativity, though. And naiveté leads to missed projections and overpromising.
- We love a variety of perspectives.
Did I mention how much we love asking questions, meeting people, listening closely and learning about new ideas? In the name of testing concepts and thinking objectively, journalists and marketers alike are keen on the concept of curating multiple perspectives.
- We see conflict as productive.
Creativity comes with conflict, especially when multiple viewpoints and stakeholders are at the table. We see friction as a natural part of coming up with the very best solutions and ideas, and we’ve learned that disagreeing can be done respectfully and with a focus on the greater good.
- We seek solutions and lean on experts.
We know we don’t know everything. The world is full of people who excel in their fields and are experts at specific topics. We turn to them to help add context and shed light on complicated issues and problems.
- We examine biases, including our own.
The best journalists and marketers aren’t unbiased. Everyone has biases. The best journalists and marketers are those who acknowledge that fact and approach their work with an appreciation for what their own biases are and work hard to set them aside as they consider other points of view and ideas.
Want marketing help from a journalist? Give us a call. Our agency was founded by former journalists and counts a number of veteran editors and reporters among our ranks. We’d be delighted to sit down and hear your story.