After spending years working towards a career in journalism, unsurprisingly the people around me were quite shocked to hear I was making the switch from news to Public Relations. Many people made the fair point that I hadn’t extensively studied the industry.
But despite this, I was aware that I had developed some helpful transferable skills when studying and practicing journalism;
- I loved writing and anything to do with it.
- I loved talking to people about whatever they were interested in.
- I loved structure and following a plan through to completion.
Becoming a journalist had a lot to do with these three things.
Listening to and understanding other people’s stories and being able to provide a platform for their voice is incredibly rewarding.
I really liked the idea of being able to write for a living, and the process of finding a story and then adapting it to suit the platform.
Meanwhile, Public Relations was in my peripheral vision, and after studying it for six months as a part of my degree. I grew to understand that the relationships between journalists and PR executives weren’t that complicated, widening my scope of potential careers.
“No two days are ever the same” were phrases thrown around in every job advert I had seen for journalism, and the same can be said for Digital PR.
But my expectations and the reality of my new role have led me to gain a valuable insight that helped me to understand more about how public relations works and may be able to clear up some of the misconceptions for you, if you’re planning on making the switch!
“Digital PR does not help our readers; it serves only to benefit their clients” ???
Many journos I know felt as though people in Digital PR were trying to pitch non stories that would be of no interest to them or their readers.
This could not be further from the truth.
Coming into the role with the mindset of a journalist, what a journalist and their readers would find interesting and helpful was at the forefront of my mind.
Any story idea has to pass the “So what?” test and if it doesn’t you have to search deeper for a relevant and interesting angle.
Assessing data, looking into research and digging around for angles and fresh insights that a journalist can easily pick up and display to their readers is the most important thing.
Naturally, finding a way to make a story link back to our client is incredibly important, but that’s part of the challenge, and having positive feedback from journalists loving the stories and data we present them makes it all the more rewarding.
“Digital PR is not as fast paced as the newsroom” ???
For some people, they want to make the switch to benefit from more sociable working hours, but don’t want to find themselves bored.
Journalists are used to incredibly tight deadlines and hectic schedules, working random hours to get a story covered, and Digital PR is no different.
Instead of adhering to the daily news cycle, you are constantly keeping an eye on any potential changes in your client’s expectations or requirements. There can be an announcement in the news that means you have to completely rewrite a press release that you were just about to send out. There are deadlines with targets that can bring a real sense of pressure to the working day, as no one wants to let a client down!
So whilst we aren’t driving about the town, trying to secure that last interview with minutes to spare, Digital PR can be just as demanding, in a completely different way.
“I love how journalism is different every day, I don’t want to be doing the same thing constantly”
One of the reasons I chose to study journalism was because the ever changing news cycle sounded exciting to me.
The same can be applied to Digital PR.
Every day there is a new campaign to be focusing on, new angles to be found to refresh the current ones, new people to contact, new research to analyse, new… well you get the gist.
The point being, if one of the main aspects of working in journalism is the constantly changing work material, you won’t be disappointed in PR.
Naturally, there are days when you might feel that the amount of coverage and links secured for a campaign doesn’t mirror the amount of work put in.
But, as a journalist making the switch to Digital PR, the fast paced and demanding elements of the industry bring me the same satisfaction as a busy day in the newsroom would, whilst keeping me integrated in the news and giving me space to grow and learn.