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.
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.
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.