Recently, Vertical Leap ventured out of our lovely Dockyard offices to go and speak to people in the real world. You know, face to face, like we used to.
The aim wasn’t just to get some sunshine, however, but to talk to some local students from the University of Portsmouth about content marketing. The aim was simple; educate them on what it would take to become a brand journalist once the thumping reality hits that after graduation day, they’re out fending for themselves in the big wide world.
So, armed to the teeth with slides, business cards and free pens, we headed to Purple Door, the hub of postgraduate recruitment for Portsmouth Uni.
The talk we had prepared detailed the world that writing, marketing and journalism now inhabit. Did you know for example, that the websites for daily papers such as the Guardian and the Daily Mail get more hits on their websites in a day than they do newspaper sales in a month? Well you do now.
These and other equally fun facts were lined up to give an indication as to what journalism has become and how the public are now consuming their news content.
The talk began with the rather unsurprising news that print media is on the decline, whereas its online counterpart is looking healthier than ever. As this trend continues and spreads to the business community, more and companies are looking to monopolise on these changing habits.
This incredibly abridged version of the content marketing revolution got us up to speed.
We then spoke about the day to day life of a brand journalist, which included the process of sourcing news stories, writing them up, verifying sources, creating longer feature pieces and so on. Given that this – as we know – is what journalism and marketing have become, it was aimed to provide an insight into what they could come to expect when actually on the job if they wanted to pursue this as a career.
The session came to an end with a discussion on the brand journalism vs. traditional journalism debate, and where the industry is expected to head in the future…
(If you want to know the answer to these questions, then you’ll have to tune in to the recorded version of the presentation coming to a screen near you very soon!)
After a Q&A session it was all over and everyone was left to think the whole thing through over a beer and burger.
Whilst the talk detailed all manner of subjects around content marketing, ultimately it was aimed at giving the fresh-faced young undergrads a view into a potential career they may not have previously considered. I was in that position myself just four years ago, having graduated from the same university knowing only that I wanted to be a journalist but not knowing what options were open to me. The feedback we received suggested that this may still be the case a few years on, with jobs for graduates still as rare as hen’s teeth.
Still, they also said that the talk had opened up a potential avenue that they otherwise may not have been familiar with.
So not a bad day out, then.