This trend is going far beyond the historical trickle of editors who jump ship to the PR darkside for a higher paycheck. In the past few months, I’ve experienced a surge in requests among print publishing industry professionals seeking advice on how to break into marketing. I’ve also noticed an uptick in the number of resumes I’'ve received from journalists for a variety of marketing positions I’ve been hiring for.
These career-changers are coming from all sides of publishing, including editorial, sales, research and circulation, and from all levels of experience, from the C-suite down to college students whose only internships were in publishing. Some of them work at the world’s largest publishers facing restructuring, while others are in relatively stable roles at niche publishers and see an opportunity to redeploy their talents.
My anecdotes likely are not anomalies. According to job website and search engines, the share of job postings containing keywords “publishing” or “editor” is down nearly 50% versus four years ago. Conversely, the share of job postings containing the keyword “content marketing” has nearly doubled over the same period, above current levels of postings with “publishing” or “editor.” The keyword “content strategist” was almost nonexistent four years ago and is now more prominent than the keyword “editor.”
There’s a tired narrative about quants becoming the new marketers. There may be a need for more quantitative prowess in marketing, but there’s an equal dearth of talent in marketing for people who command written words and storytelling. There’s also a huge need for people with skills in syndication and audience building.
The print publishing industry must become lean and reinvent itself, and I have no doubt great new things will emerge. It’s an exciting time to be in journalism, and society’s need for it is as great as ever. But amid the often difficult transition, the diverse field of marketing will benefit immensely from an influx of publishing talent.
This trend will not only fundamentally alter the talent composition of publishing, but of the marketing industry as well.