The transition from Journalism to PR is quite a common one and for those journalists interested in this career change, you’re not at a disadvantage at all.
It’s normal to feel as though you lack the knowledge and skills needed when making the switch to a different field but as a journalist, a lot of the skills you have are transferable and if anything you’re at an advantage.
Whether you’re a university graduate or well into a journalism career, there are so many skills that you can implement into starting a career in PR. At the end of the day, journalists know how to tell a story, generate great content and build rapports with people, which are all skills needed in a successful PR career.
So let’s take a look at how being a journalist can equip you for PR:
As a journalist, you’re used to coming up with interesting and engaging stories that will generate a good engagement. Similarly, as a PR exec, a good chunk of your time will be spent writing up exciting press releases that have to be concise yet eye-catching. Those with degrees in PR and marketing may not have the ability to write an effective story as quickly as a journalist who is used to coming up with 5-8 stories a day. So from a writing aspect, the two roles are very similar and being able to write a great press release that will be placed on websites and in papers is a great start to a career in PR.
Part of the PR role includes pitching press releases to journalists and if you’ve come from this background you’ll know that journalists get flooded everyday with this kind of stuff and chances are you’ve been there yourself. Because of this, it’ll be easier for you to judge what story is likely to capture a journalist's attention and you’ll know how to pitch this to them. You can flip the situation and think about what catches your eye when people are constantly sending you hundreds, if not thousands of stories a day.
If you’re a journalism graduate, you’ll have an eye for great stories and over time on your course you’ll have been able to recognise what makes a good and engaging story by thinking about what people out there want to read. This judgement is no different to the one needed as a PR exec when it comes to writing press releases.
Journalists know how to build a rapport when interviewing people for stories and having this social skill is perfect for creating relationships with clients, the media, journalists and the public. If you’ve been a journalist for awhile you’ll already have other industry connections that will be helpful when it comes to pitching stories. You’ll also be able to understand their needs more, because you’ve been in their position.
Keeping up with news
This isn’t so much a skill but it is something that is present in both careers. As a journalist, you’re expected to keep up with the news and be on trend and current in order to create a great and relevant story yourself.
In PR it’s no different.
It’s so important to keep up with ever changing trends and see what’s going on in the news that could potentially link to your client. Isthere something you can build a story around? Can your client offer an expert comment on a specific topic that’s in the news?
It’s also important to keep up to date with social media trends that you might be able to news-jack for one of your clients! If you don’t keep a regular eye on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, you should definitely start to.
Keeping up with the news will allow you to create opportunities the same way it does when you’re a journalist.