One of the challenges of building a company in a new market is figuring out what type of employees to hire.
If you're Children's Hospital in Boston, you know you want to hire the best pediatricians you can find; if you're the HubSpot marketing team, developing a new approach to marketing, it's not clear who you want on your team.
Earlier this year David Meerman Scott pointed out that journalists could be great inbound marketers. I think that's absolutely true. But journalists and employers have to be careful about these types of hires. Inbound marketing requires qualities that not all journalist have.
Specifically, after a year of interviewing people at HubSpot, I think there are six key qualities that inbound marketers should look for new in hires. Journalist can develop these skills, but they do not by definition have them:
(1) Digital Intuition -- You need to understand how the web works. The web is an ecosystem, and if you don't intuitively understand the dynamics of this ecosystem -- how Twitter can drive traffic to a blog; the kinds of headlines that attract attention; the simple things you can do to build blog subscriptions -- you won't be able to help your company attract online visitors.
(2) Propensity to Create Content -- Do you share links? Do you publish photos? Do you have a website? A blog? Do you favorite videos? Companies today must do all of this. If you don't create this kind of content naturally on your own, you won't have the skills and experience needed to do it well for your company.
(3) Content Talent -- It's great if you have good intuition and a propensity to create content; it's even better if you're good at it -- if you write like Hemingway, if you shoot film like Scorsese. Great content stands out on the web, spreads quickly and attracts people to your site.
(4) A Salesy, Social Streak -- The best inbound marketers promote their own content. They build and nurture relationships, and they know how to use these relationships to spread their own content, without abusing them.
Understanding & Acceptance of Content's Place -- This is the one
where most journalists come up short. For businesses, content is a means to an end, not
an end in and of itself. Every article, tweet and video is
assessed based on its ability to generate visitors, leads and customers, not
on any subjective judgment of content quality.
(6) All That Is Important in Any Other Job -- Passion, raw intelligence, creativity, leadership, toughness and work ethic.
If you're an inbound marketer thinking of hiring a journalist (or any other type of candidate), you should consider these qualities. If you're a journalist looking for an inbound marketing job, you should understand that these are the skills required for success.