When hiring new PR professionals, we always get asked “do you hire ex-journalists?” However, it is not such a straightforward answer as these are two very distinct disciplines, requiring some different skill sets.
People coming from a journalistic background they have the news and knowledge background to know what stories to pitch and where. Their work is clear, compelling and accurate just like a news story; they understand deadlines and the requirements which the media are after – and most importantly they should have the connections!
One of the biggest advantages of having a former journalist working with you is they know how to write, know what stories are genuine and what will receive coverage. They have a nose for a story and have a gut reaction about how good the story is going to be. Bonus is, the stories they write rarely need adjusting by the editor!
However, making the transition from journalism to PR isn’t as easy as it seems and ex-journalists have a lot to learn about the public relations industry, and need to learn some very new skills.
As PR and marketing specialists we can teach ex-journalists a thing or two when it comes to our respective field, not only to educate and inform but to engage and connect with the right target audience. We’ve highlighted our top five things that ex-journalists need to bear in mind before choosing a career in PR.
I’m sure we all know by now, a career in PR will present you countless opportunities to be creative in promoting a business, product or service. Not only in terms of writing, but also in coming up with new ways to promote businesses and approaching new clients. PR is a profession which constantly calls for fresh ideas and lateral thinking, so having a creative streak can be a crucial skill to bring you to career success. However, there’s no point having creativity in B2B PR without an understanding of business and how business works.
PR roles can be incredibly varied, you need to be an all-rounder with the ability to multi-task in order to recognise a busy workload and meet deadlines. PR is ‘the industry that never sleeps!’ You may often find yourself starting early, finishing late or having to work weekends. Your PR role is likely to involve juggling multiple projects and clients at once, as well as liaising with the media, handling a crisis and various other day-to-day responsibilities. With so much going on, you need to be able to organise your time effectively.
Today’s PR professionals need to have an understanding and interest in all digital and social media channels. In recent years, social media has had an effect on the PR industry as we used to know it. Digital media has shortened the life span of news stories, meaning journalists need to generate stories much more quickly, and as a result has forced PR pros to keep up. The likes of photos, videos, infographics, websites and apps have become increasingly important within public relations. And as such, coming into PR with knowledge in these areas could help you stand out – for example, knowing how to edit an image or video, or being able to use WordPress websites are all desirable skills!
- Become More Resourceful
Can’t reach a journalist or blogger via phone or email? Try reaching out to them via social media. Twitter is a great platform to pitch stories. Start by following them and sharing and commenting on similar stories to show you’re interested in their work and offer a similar piece that they may be interested in – their followers may even click through to your website to reach your article! By engaging with journalists the right way on social media, you will become a source that they will want to be in contact with in the future. View networking events as an opportunity to connect with people, make introductions and become the go-to person. Join professional PR and marketing associations such as the PRCA (Public Relations and Communications Association), CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) and IABC (International Association of Business Communicators).
- Strategic Thinking
A good PR pro needs an understanding of strategy, strategic planning is at the heart of all public relations. Launching a PR campaign without a strategic plan is like embarking on a road trip without a map! The ability to think and act strategically is the key that enables professionals to advance from doing reactive PR to becoming sought-after PR pros. Today, effective communicators need to know what to do and why and how to evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen approach.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so please do get in touch by calling 01758 247588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.