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Why You Should Consider Hiring a Brand Journalist: Joe Chernov of Eloqua [Podcast]

Hosted By:
Matthew Grant
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
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You don't have to listen to this week's episode of Marketing Smarts to find out why you should consider hiring a brand journalist. Why? The reason is simple: it will make everything better.

The first thing that it will make better, naturally, is your content. Indeed, Joe Chernov, Eloqua's VP of Content Marketing, told me that his primary goal for hiring journalist Jesse Noyes (whose current title at Eloqua is "Managing Editor") was "to ramp up the output of quality content" at the company.

I asked Joe why he wanted to hire a journalist specifically. After all, aren't there a lot of people in marketing communications who can write well?

"I think I'm a pretty good at writing," he explained, "but Jesse is a better writer, [and] the way a journalist approaches an article is simply different than the way somebody who is good at writing approaches an article."

And wherein lies the difference? Joe refers to it as "that journalistic nose for where a story lives and the critical thinking that goes into structuring something that's smart and interesting." 

Adding a gifted writer with a nose for a story, and especially one who is used to working on deadline, is the obvious benefit of hiring a journalist. There is, however, a surprise benefit, that  Joe described this way:

People are crushingly insecure about their writing. You know, it's almost like they're creating a permanent record of what they know or what they don't know. And I've found that people are really afraid to write; and what Jesse he gives other content creators at Eloqua...confidence. If he coaches them on how they should approach their blog post or their e-book and then he edits it, they feel, when it's finally published, much more confident in the output because it's been blessed by an actual journalist. 

In other words, in addition to gaining an individual contributor who can do a lot of great things, by hiring a brand journalist you can make all the content you produce better. 

The interesting thing is that, Joe insists, if your content gets better, it can have the effect of improving your entire business. He used the analogy of cooking stock to make this final point.

"Nobody goes into a restaurant and says, 'I will have the stock please,' but they order a dish that is based on the stock... and the chef spends a disproportionate amount of his or her time creating the stock. Because the better the stock, the better all of the dishes."

"For any company," he concluded, "spending time on the stock is a good thing."

Spending time on the stock, as he put it, is good because it gets you concentrating, in a focused way, on what you know and how that can benefit your partners and your customers. It makes you more aware of what you are doing and helps you figure out new and better ways to articulate it to the world.

In Joe's eyes, any company can "benefit at least from the thinking, if not the practice" of creating content, because the practice helps you uncover and share a host of valuable insights about your business. It's not necessarily about producing and publishing a lot of content so much as it is about going through the process of finding and telling the stories. And that's precisely what a journalist knows how to do best.

Now if that doesn't convince you why you should hire a brand journalist, then maybe you should listen to the entire episode (which you can do above or by downloading the mp3). If you are convinced, what are you going to do about it?

If you liked this episode of Marketing Smarts, check out the rest of them here, or subscribe in iTunes and never miss another one!

This marketing podcast was created and published by MarketingProfs.

Matthew T. Grant, PhD is Director of Content Strategy at Aberdeen Group. You can find him on Twitter (@MatttGrant) or his personal blog.

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  • by Wed Apr 25, 2012 via web

    I could not agree more. I appreciate the candor of knowing and articulating his strengths and weaknesses, and using his resources to get the best final product possible. It is VERY true that being good at writing is indeed different than "the way somebody who is good at writing" approaches any client assignment or markeing literature produced.

    I like the example of the chef's stock and that is applicable in so many areas of our professional calling and positions held. As a content writer/consultant myself, I am able to lend my abilities to my web design company not just in assignments but to business development efforts and opportunities. We all work together not only to make our individual projects great but to be "a part of the stock" to make the WHOLE BUSINESS stellar.

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