Why Writing Skills Are Vital To A PR Role

Due to my recent change in my career aspirations, I have spoken to various PR professionals about the difficulty of a transition from Journalism to Public Relations, (read my blog post about it here.) Every single one of them mentioned the transition being simple due to one vital skill both industries have in common: writing. Why is this?

1. Press Releases

The staple task of most PR professionals,  they are short, factual news stories written in the third person and given to the media to encourage editors/journalists/broadcasters to feature the story in their publications and programmes. A press release is not very forgiving when it comes to grammar/spelling errors and it must be clear and concise. If you can’t write clearly, put the story into context and write a newsworthy headline, your press release will get little to no attention.

2. Communication

PR is all. About. Communication. As well as verbal, written communication is vital. Whether it’s in an email to a client or a blog post, you must communicate your message clearly. You can’t expect something to gain publicity if your audience is unsure about what you’re trying to tell them.

3. Social Media

Social Media is a vital platform to many industries today, and PR is no different. With social media, when writing you should be asking questions, maybe use extra punctuation, avoid abstract titles and tell people what to expect.

4. Writing Styles

You should know how to adapt your writing style for different platforms. Brands can be a large part of PR, let’s say the brand you’re representing has a very specific personality, it is important to adapt your writing style to fit theirs. The way you email should be different to how you do a press release and so on.

Also, if like me, you have got into the habit of writing academic essays, practise writing in a more concise style, make your writing sound as if you’re talking to someone. Practise this by writing blog posts for example.

Writing styles also come in styles that can vary on different platforms: expository, descriptive, narrative and persuasive.

5. Persuasion

Many will argue, the most important writing style in PR is persuasion. Often your role will be to persuade: persuade journalists to write an article about your artist or product, persuade a radio to give your band some air time, persuade clients you are the right person to work with. Most of this is achieved through effective writing techniques.

 

 

 

 

A Change of Heart : From Journalism to Public Relations

I am final year Music Journalism student studying at Southampton Solent University, soon to be graduating in July. I decided on my degree not long before applying for university. At that point all I knew was that I loved writing and I loved music. I applied for my current course and some other Journalism courses in 2013 whilst still in college.

In my first year of university I thoroughly enjoyed myself, going to gigs, listening to tons of music, designing my own online music magazine, and of course lots and lots of writing, which all sat very well with me. Writing is one thing I have never lost interest in, ever since school I have always been a keen writer. So when I found myself becoming less interested in Journalism I was confused.

It was only after deciding to do a little research of my own that I discovered it wasn’t the writing I was getting bored of, it was the style and content of the writing. I began looking into other communications careers, but I wanted to make sure that my Journalism degree would still be useful and relevant. I started looking into PR,  it appealed to me for a number of reasons: the marketing (something that really stood out to me through my final year group collaborative project) branding, strategising, campaigning and writing. These roles sounded more appealing to me then Journalism.

Saying this, I don’t regret choosing my course, it has taught me so much. It has given me so much varied experience that I know I would not have received on any other course. It has given me so much more confidence as a person too, this came from the abundance of networking which is a key aspect of the PR industry.

I attended the PR SSU ‘Meet the Professionals’ event on the 7th of February; I chose to attend (as the only Journalism student) simply because i was interested in learning more and speaking to professionals about my career change. I was happily surprised to meet multiple former Journalists who had gone into Public Relations, (Simon Carr, James Morton: HantsFire PR). The professionals encouraged me to go beyond my degree and assured me that it was perfectly okay to change my mind. Head of Earned Media at Koozai PR Vicky Taylor also shared with me that she had studied film, then worked in recruitment and then ended up in PR, advising me that change is fine. What was also repeated to me was that in a degree like Journalism, you gain a lot of transferable skills that can be used in a range of fields, particularly within communication jobs. (advertising, public relations, marketing, etc.)

I felt very confused and worried about changing my career aspirations at first but after an abundance of research and lots of helpful advice, I am excited to begin a career in the PR industry.

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Meet The Professionals Event @ Solent University (The Spark)

 

Stayed tuned for my next blog posts similar to this one:

‘Top Tops For Picking A University Degree’

‘Top Tips & Advice: Changing Your Mind Mid-Degree’