November 20, 2019 (Updated )
If you’ve ever studied journalism, by the way lecturers talk you might think it’s a world away from PR. Tet Kofi, co-founder of PR request service JournoLink, explains why they’re actually a lot closer than you might think…
Many young journalists wonder what PR and journalism have in common as careers, and the truth is actually pretty simple. In short, the core skills involved in PR are also found in the journalist’s skill set, making it a perfect side hustle if you’re interested in client promotion.
You can work as a content creator, leverage brand’s social profiles as influencers, create or write blog posts for clients – in short, things you’ll already have a lot of experience with. So, just how can you make it happen for you?
Relationships Are The DNA Of Marketing And PR
First things first, you can enter PR either from a marketing perspective or a journalism background. I have both and feel blessed from the confluence of skills both disciplines have provided me to progress my career in PR.
As a journalist though, you’ll already find yourself at an advantage, as of the two, I’d say journalism is the most important skills because it enables the building of relationships.
The power word in public relations is the word ‘relations’. Relationships are in the very DNA of PR and it’s about fostering mutual understanding between a business or a brand and its various publics.
This can be consumers, opinion formers, investors, and even the competitors in the market.
You need the right relationship with each of them to do what you need to progress the growth of your business or brand.
Recognising What Is –And Isn’t – A Newsworthy Angle
Journalism is especially important in this process, because you’re best placed to have a sense of what is genuinely a story. People are attracted to things that are newsworthy and a journalist’s stock in trade is to recognise what the story is in any situation.
A good journalist will not only spot what the story is, but also approach it from an angle that makes it relevant, interesting, and unexpected.
Let’s say your business provides fitness services to new mums wanting to tone their figure after childbirth. You can talk about figures, diet, exercise, but what about their lifestyle? How do you fit your new regime into a lifestyle now busy with a baby?
How Using JournoLink Can Help Journalists
As well as being able to view scores of relevant press releases on their online portal, JournoLink connects journalists with small business owners directly. Just tell them your request and deadline and they’ll match it to the relevant people.
Your news could well focus on this lifestyle angle to show people it can be done, despite the new demands made on their now hyper busy lives. In essence, as the journalist, you’re best placed to pick the angle to follow up on.
Journalists also constantly monitor the news agenda to see what’s trending, and what people want to read and talk about, making you ideally placed to connect a client’s news and features to whatever is the buzz of the moment.
Without this sense of news it’s hard to make a client’s business relevant. When the brand is placed in the midst of ongoing realities in the market place, people see it as something relevant, and that’s something that always translates into sales.
In short, knowing what’s newsworthy is an incredibly useful tool.
Storytelling Humanises A Business
Journalists are communicators who share information succinctly without hyperbole, exaggeration, use of technical jargon, or as a sales pitch.
For marketers, it’s about seeing their brands as an accumulation of characteristics. They’re strong on customer journeys and the ins and outs of the landing page, but for the end consumer, more is required.
They need to see how the characteristics of the product fit into their lives, they need to establish a relationship with the product. And that’s where storytelling comes in.
Sometimes it’s not even the product itself that counts – it could be the way the business was created, or the ethos behind it.
People love the conflicts in other people’s live, and more importantly, how those conflicts are resolved. Perhaps the founder reached a dead-end in their life, or had to make a career change. That’s where you can tell a compelling story about the business that people want to know the end of.
I’ve come across many businesses founded from the personal challenges confronted by their owners. Skins problems translated into a new cosmetics brand, food allergies translated into special foods for people with allergies, work life balance issues leading to a business where things can happen at home.
These are all real life challenges many of us have faced and the inspirational power of seeing how one entrepreneur turned their negative into success cannot be emphasised enough. When the end of the story is reached by the founding of the business, customers, investors and the general market find that they’ve created a bond of understanding and empathy. And that, in turn, easily translates into purchases or investments.
Enjoyed this and want more from our friends at Journo Link? Here they’ve put together a step-by-step guide to finding expert comment for your stories – everytime.
Storytelling is a key skill of journalism, which is a massive strength when you’re thinking of going into PR and working directly with businesses to get their stories out.
So, if you’re looking for a good PR, while it’s important they understand digital marketing, beneath this it is enormously helpful if they have the skillset of a good journalist.
PR and journalism are joined at the hip. If you’re a journalist making the transition to PR, whether as a side hustle or career progression, it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Tet Kofi is a director of Journalist and a working broadcast journalist . He has consulted as a Crisis management expert for UK and European multinationals and trains senior execs in media management and presentation. This sponsored piece was produced in partnership with JournoLink, a service which helps to seamlessly link journalists with small business experts when they need them.