Is it ethical for journalists to work in content marketing?

When I read this title I thought what a great question. It immediately made me want to read the article which raised a number of interesting issues which explains why I wanted to retweet the article.

I retrained in journalism a few years ago but I’ve never worked as a full time journalist. My first role in writing has come working in content marketing for a business and technology consultancy firm.

I fully agree that many businesses and organisations realise the value of good writing. I write exclusively about the world of investment banking and in many cases the content and subject matter I’m writing about is not easy for many people to get their heads around.

I don’t necessarily agree with the freelance writer quoted in the article who thinks that content marketing has contributed to the demise of journalism.

What content marketing has done is allow journalists to use their skills and training in another area which is important due to the decline in the number of traditional journalism jobs available.

One of the reasons I decided not to pursue a career as a reporter was that I felt that the pay and working conditions would not be attractive as working in marketing.

I feel I get to do almost exactly the same job as a journalist but I get paid a salary I can live on and although you might be writing content that ultimately has the aim of promoting and marketing my company’s business and services, there is still a real skill in telling a story and marketing a business at the same time.

What we need to remember is that content marketing and journalism are performing two distinctly different roles. In my job I try to act as a journalist by using the skills I have been taught but I know I’m not performing as a journalist. For that reason I don’t have any moral dilemma about the work that I’m doing.

There’s no reason why freelance journalists can’t switch between doing journalism assignments and content marketing roles. I think it helps as a writer to be able to write for different audiences and for different aims and objectives.

Ultimately regardless of whether you’re writing as a journalist or content marketing it really comes to down to producing high quality relevant articles and content for your audience that is of interest, of value and informative and which will keep your audience coming back for more of the same.

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