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While journalism and other careers in writing have been an institution for centuries, massive changes make staying in the industry as shaky an endeavor as leaving. Brand journalism and content marketing have grown in popularity in recent years, causing more journalists to consider making a career change. Dan Lyons is perhaps one of the most well-known examples of a journalist leaving the rocky journalism industry in favor of the uncharted world of content marketing. Though Lyons is just one of many journalists who has taken the leap, he is unique in that he did return to traditional journalism later. Similarly, Spencer Ante, a technology journalist, left the Wall Street Journal to become the vice president and deputy editorial director of the Creative Newsroom at Edelman, which works to make companies content creators. The departure of these two journalists from the industry represents a growing shift in journalists becoming different types of content creators. Many journalists have used brand journalism as a way to tap into other passions and find their creative niche.
For instance, Scott Martin, a former journalist for USA Today, followed his passion for technology when he became the director of content media strategy for the Bateman Group, an integrated public relations and digital communications firm. Some people have found it possible to dip their toes into both pools and remain journalists while writing branded content on the side, according to Digiday.

The careers in writing that both Fankhauser and Lyons chose show switching over to writing branded content or working for a content marketing company doesn’t always have to be a career change with irreversible effects. While there will likely be sweeping changes in both worlds over the next few years, taking a peek at the careers of those who came before you can be helpful when considering your options. I was invited on Thursday to speak to a group of journalism students in the Lowcountry who are interested in pursuing careers in the field. It was a very nice experience, because unlike previous career day-type events at which I’ve been asked to speak, these students were all specifically interested in journalism or some other aspect of broadcasting.
There’s a third aspect of writing that journalism students should explore, too: news marketing.
A study of 1,500 people from all major ethnic backgrounds, including white Britons, also found half were not interested in joining the armed forces, more than a third (38pc) were deliberately avoiding the police and 44pc were ignoring a career in politics due to perceived racism.
For years, the structure was consistent: You come into a newsroom, do your time writing less interesting stories, find your niche, and then achieve career success (to put it simply). The lesson seems to be that if you are good enough at your job and build up enough of a reputation in your field of interest, then you will have options when pursuing a career in writing. Writers benefit most when they find new careers in writing that involve brands aligned with their interests.

As brand journalism gains steam, these types of cross-industry transitions will happen more often and become more accepted. If you want to get started writing for top brands, join Skyword’s pool of contributing writers. From their questions and the answers I was able to come up with, I figured I’d post my top 3 pieces of advice for journalism students. However, with so many newsrooms laying off staff members and the very face of journalism rapidly shifting, many of these conventional career paths have fallen by the wayside. Having a specific focus can actually open doors for journalists who are used to covering a variety of topics. Both rely on similar sets of storytelling skills, such as interviewing subjects, researching topics, writing, editing, and sharing content via social media.

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