There has always been a definite divide between PR and journalism, but as the decline in newspaper sales and jobs continue there are more and more journalists moving into PR/marketing and digital roles.
In the past PR was seen as a fluffy role performed by those who wouldn’t be able to cut-it on Fleet Street. Even from a regional paper’s perspective, press releases sent from PR companies ended up being spiked simply because frustratingly they didn’t even contain the basics – who, what, why, when and where? And for a journalist in a busy newsroom with tight deadlines, what those lovely people in PR didn’t seem to understand was there simply wasn’t time to pick up the phone to fill in the holes you could drive a bus through, to turn their nicely crafted press release into a hard news story.
Having worked in both, the only real difference between PR and journalism is that one acts for a client and the other acts for an editor, but the end result is the same, and that is they both want a good story that will get maximum coverage.
As a former regional and national journalist who has recently made the transition into the more gentle PR territory it is an area that allows you to be far more creative and multi-directional compared to working in the media. All of our clients want coverage, especially in national newspapers and television. Even though there are a mass of blogs and online sites which are far easier to get coverage in simply because of the sheer number of them which means they are not as selective of the content or topic. Whereas traditional mainstream press still demands a strong story and a topical good hook to attach it to and print coverage in newspapers and mainstream magazines is still king when it comes to clients.
Just as the journalist role has diminished there is an ever increasing demand for journalism skills in the PR and digital market. Content marketing is over-taking the more traditional role of PR and creating high-quality online content intended to build trust and community among your brand’s target audience requires great researchers and writers.
Content marketing and social media is used by every company and business from your local sandwich shop which has its own Facebook Page to massive corporations which have long since combined traditional PR and digital to spread the word through pictures on Instagram and sound bites on Twitter. The future roles of PR and journalism as we know them have not only changed, but have now merged into what has become digital PR.
Also, as a result of the ever-changing demands of Google, with the most relevant to writing being the Penguin update, it simply comes down to the good old fashioned skill of writing original, interesting, entertaining and informative content to engage your reader whether it’s online or offline.