Journalism today is a classic “red ocean.”
That means too many fish and not enough food. There’s blood in the water from all that competition, and all those kills.
How did it get that way?
According to this article in The Atlantic, U.S. print advertisers spent $45 billion in 2003. Ten years later, they spent only $19 billion. That’s $26 billion in lost revenue, and counting.
The result: wave after wave of layoffs in the news business.
The website newspaperlayoffs.com has tallied close to 50,000 newspaper jobs lost between 2007 and 2012. In an average year, that’s more than 8,000 layoffs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that jobs for reporters will decline another 13% between 2012 and 2022.
It’s the same in every market. For example, UK journalism has lost more than one-third of its jobs.
Vying for digital jobs
What’s worse, more than 2,200 people graduate with journalism degrees in the U.S. every year, plus 400 in Canada. Another 200 earn a Masters in journalism every year.
That’s 2,800 hopeful j-school grads added to the North American media workforce every year… on top of 8,000 being laid off. In other words, more than 10,000 people are seeking jobs in journalism every year.
But the web created lots of new jobs, right? Only a pitiful few. According to this PEW research report, only 5,000 new jobs have been created at online news sites around the world… EVER. Since the Web was born.
Clearly the math doesn’t add up. Most laid-off journalists, recent grads, and others to be laid off will never get jobs in journalism.
If you’re among them, what will you do?
Freelance for newspapers or magazines? Anyone who tries quickly learns that fees are stagnant and competition is deadly. It’s still a red ocean.
The silver lining: B2B content marketing
Ironically, the same developments that killed journalism are creating a huge opportunity for anyone with journalistic skills.
To fill the gap left by the collapse of journalism and the rise of Google, millions of companies have become publishers.
The trend to content marketing means that companies must publish helpful, engaging information to help prospective buyers find them on the web, and trust them enough to do business.
Content marketing is the #1 trend in marketing today, used by an estimated 9 out of 10 B2B companies.
And the most common element these firms outsource is writing. In-house marketing teams just don’t have the time or the skills to do it themselves.
All this is documented by the Content Marketing Institute in their 2014 B2B content marketing survey.
Who’s writing this content?
That’s where you come in, especially if you’re an experienced journalist.
As a journalist, you have valuable skills that are perfectly aligned with the needs of content marketers. Business people need these skills; and they’re willing to pay for them with a steady stream of assignments.
We’re not talking about writing infomercials or sales letters or anything with a BUY NOW button on it. And B2B content isn’t tweets or Facebook updates.
B2B content is very much like newspaper features, op-ed pieces, profiles, and news updates.
It’s more like service journalism, where you provide helpful tips and useful advice. Millions of companies desperately need this type of content… and there aren’t enough seasoned writers to do it.
Some popular forms of B2B content
Here are some popular forms of B2B content that any journalist can create:
- Blog posts—short online columns
- Case studies—short business profiles
- E-newsletters—e-mails for a subscriber list
- Press releases—online and in trade journals
- White papers—long, op-ed pieces
Plus, every company needs informative, factual webpages about the company, its products, and management team.
None of this content is overtly “salesy.” The audience of hard-headed business people won’t tolerate puffery.
Instead, these pieces “sell without selling” by telling stories and presenting facts… just as any trained journalist does.
The pay is good
Most of these popular formats pay over $1 a word; and much more than most newspaper and magazines. Take a look:
- Blog posts—$250 to $500+ for ~600 words
- Case studies—$1,000 to $1,500 for 800 words
- Newsletters—$500+ each, on annual contract
- Press releases—$250 to $500 for a format journalists can write in their sleep
- White papers—$3,000 to $7,000 for ~3,500 words, the same effort as a magazine feature
In fact, you can earn a comfortable income writing B2B content… and maybe far more than you’ve ever earned before by using your skills in research, interviewing and writing.
With a wide-open market that’s growing every year, you can forget about any impending layoffs.
Trust me; if you’re a journalist who can’t find work in your field, B2B content marketing could be just what you’re looking for.
Dive into the blue ocean, today
Remember that red ocean?
B2B content marketing is the exact opposite: a blue ocean. There’s better pay, less competition, and far less stress than in traditional journalism.
If you’re a journalist struggling to make a living, or worried about the next round of layoffs, catch this wave and get swept into a blue ocean of freedom and opportunity.
To find out more, check out the Crash Course in B2B Content by Gordon Graham.
This is a quickstart to writing the 12 most popular forms of B2B content, from blog posts to white papers. Gordon describes each format, shows examples including a detailed video walkthrough, tells the going rates you can charge, and gives lots of tips to help you start writing that format right away.
Before he was That White Paper Guy, Gordon was a freelance journalist who wrote almost 1,000 magazine articles. Since he swam into the blue ocean of B2B writing about 20 years ago, he hasn’t looked back.