As a recent graduate with limited ‘direct’ experience of the PR world but plenty of written material under my belt, I got thinking about how a background in journalism can create a solid foundation for establishing a career in PR.
These are just a few of the ways in which journalism and content marketing cross over (and I promise they’re 100% less contrived than using your D of E award to showcase your ‘transferable skill set’).
Know your audience
Whether you’re writing BuzzFeed-style articles or creating compelling copy, your intended audience needs to be the main focus of your piece. Why would someone want to read it? Why will they continue to read it? What will they do after reading it?
If you can’t answer these questions then it’s unlikely that your article or copy will reach maximum coverage.
This goes for presenting stories to the press, as well. Journalists are another audience that PRs need to work with. In this case, you need to understand the scale and ‘hook’ of your piece and think about which publications it would fit with best.
Be social media savvy – get people to engage
A commitment to ‘create content that gets people reading, talking, liking, sharing’ is at the heart of spottydog’s brand, and with good reason. Nearly everything in today’s society is accessible through social media (or should be!). Regardless of what you write, it’s up to you to get it out there for people to read and engage with.
Think carefully about the headline and any images, as these will often be the first thing your reader sees. (A few of you clicked this link without reading the title and expected a countdown of the best Netflix series, didn’t you?!)
However, be really careful to avoid ‘clickbait’. This is an umbrella term used to describe tactics such as using sensationalised headlines, which often promote click-through revenue at the cost of quality. This might boost your audience reach initially but it won’t help you build a reputation for quality – and that should be the number one concern of any writer, whether in journalism or PR.
Send an (implicit) message
Most types of writing work in a way that in-your-face advertising doesn’t… By sending an implicit message to the reader. We’re not in the business of hammering home the hard sell, so the key lies with making sure the main messages are heard.
My articles for Hexjam had to be timely, relatable and identity assuring. In much the same way, PR is all about landing the right coverage at the right time and selling the concept of the brand, so that people want to be a part of it.
In today’s digital age, written content is presented to us at every opportunity, meaning that the world of PR is a tough one to crack. Amazing copy needs to be unique, engaging and hold value for the reader if it’s going to get heard above everything else. Being successful in the PR industry is certainly no easy task, but having a solid background in journalism is no bad start either.