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The Difference Between Journalists and PR People? Not much


My last job in mainstream journalism was editor of the Boston Globe’s then-weekly Health and Science section. My job, in essence, was to convince reporters to do stories I thought would interest readers and then persuade the paper’s top editors to give the story prominence. 

 Shortly after entering the PR field, I realized my job wasn’t all that different. I spent most of my time pitching story ideas to reporters - this time on behalf of well-paying clients - and then leveraging whatever influence I had with their editors to run the story on page one.

marketprwordle Since then, this convergence of journalism and PR has actually picked up steam. So much so that the lines between the two disciplines are nearly disappearing. I know that’s going to induce paroxysms into some of my former newspaper colleagues but the facts and numbers speak for themselves. We first took up this notion in a guest blog post in January that examined why journalism jobs were shrinking yet PR jobs were growing. Between 2000 and 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that journalism jobs dropped by 25 percent while PR jobs rose by nearly 63 percent. If the primary job of PR people was to sell their clients’ stories to the media, how could the industry be expanding when their target base was shrinking? 

The reason is that basic journalism skills - writing, storytelling, research, fact collecting, explaining, investigating etc. - are still very much in demand, maybe more so than ever. Only they are in greater demand among corporations and institutions, startups and other organizations that need content - compelling content - to distribute on their ever expanding folio of channels and networks.

 A recent article by The B2B Marketing Mentor, details the skills (e.g., social media marketing savvy) journalists and PR people need to capitalize on this growth. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

 “Modern marketing departments are changing. Brands are starting to understand that pushing their marketing message out to their target audience is becoming less effective. As a result, companies are turning to creating high-quality and genuinely useful online content to build trust and community among their target audience. This approach to marketing is what is now being popularly referred to as content marketing.

 Today, many brands understand the need to adopt content marketing. But they know less about how to build a team that can consistently create the high-quality content that can earn you the shares, “likes,” links, and Tweets needed reach their target audience. 

 At Software Advice, we think that journalists and PR people can be vital components to an effective content marketing team. In this article, we’ll explain how the skills of journalists and PR people can be incorporated into your content marketing team--and offer a few tips on preparing yourself for content marketing success.

 Journalists Can Help Craft your Message and Tell Your Brand's Story

With the decline of the traditional model of journalism, job opportunities for journalists have been dwindling in number for a while. But the growth of content marketing means that these journalists can be reborn as content marketers.

 To be successful with content marketing, companies need, well, great content that tells the brand’s story. That means that companies need people with great research and writing ability. And that’s where journalists come in. Journalists are great at quickly becoming resource experts and making a topic accessible and compelling to the masses.

 Hiring a journalist to your marketing team is also beneficial because journalists are used to creating and maintaining an editorial calendar that’s needed to maintain a consistent flow of content. Their thoughtful messaging can go a long way toward creating content that drives sales but still adheres to strong reporting styles and standards, which can increase the authority of your content.

 PR People Can Help Get Your Brand in Front of the Right People

The role of PR people has always been raising awareness. But the methods of raising awareness are changing. Increasingly, effective outreach and marketing is more about SEO and social media distribution that pure press coverage. So instead of drafting up a press release to tell everyone about how great your brand is, you need someone know how’s how to get the attention of influencers online and in social channels to promote your brand for you. 

PR people are already great at managing outreach for things like event planning. Content marketing teams can take this skill set and apply it to things like managing social media communities and handling email outreach. This will provide a more organic way of getting your brand in front of customers. 

 Tips on Putting it all Together

In order to use the skills of journalists and PR people effectively, you have to plan ahead to lay the foundation to execute on creating great content. Here are four tips to help you succeed:


  1. Hire people with online skills. When hiring PR people, it’s important to hire someone that already knows the ins and outs of social media so you don’t have to teach the basics. At the same time, you should look for journalists that have already written great well-researched content for online publications. This will ensure your hires are immediately effective. 
  2. Use the relationships you build. As you’re out there creating great content you’re going to buil some relationships. Make sure that you incorporate using these relationships into your overall marketing strategy. 
  3. Pick a story and stick to it. Great content is successful because it has a very targeted message. Your message should reflect your company’s mission statement and core values. If you want to position yourself as a thought leader, hire someone with the same philosophy and cultural bent.
  4. Create a content marketing department. To succeed at content marketing, your brand must have a department that can perform the functions of an editorial staff, while promoting the content it creates like an advertising agency or PR firm.”

The entire article can be found here:


You can always learn something new everyday. You just have to take your chances and move forward..
Posted @ Friday, August 23, 2013 1:37 AM by Dennis @ cat fishing
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