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Taking the leap from journalism to PR: 4 tips that translate

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Everyone finds his or her own path to the PR world. For me, the road was winding. My career began not in public relations like many of my co-workers here at Franco Public Relations Group, but in journalism.

I found my way into the public relations field after more than a decade of covering news and entertainment here in Detroit. Over the years I worked with talented PR pros both locally and nationally and more than a few suggested I try my hand at public relations.

In 2009, I finally took that leap and joined my first agency. Not a day goes by that I don’t still use the skills I learned in journalism school and mastered in the newspaper business. Four of the skills that translate into the day-to-day work we do in public relations include:

  • Master the art of writing – Strong writing skills will take you far in any career, but they are especially important when communicating with reporters, drafting press releases and sharing your clients’ visions clearly and concisely with the appropriate audience.
  • Research and interview like a pro – In PR it is crucial that you gain the trust of your clients and the media, and that you are proficient in seeking out the most newsworthy information to promote. A good reporter has honed these skills by researching and interviewing trustworthy sources. A smart PR pro knows how to use them to her advantage.
  • Be a walking AP Style guide – Editing copy is just as important as writing it. In PR you’ll be expected to know AP Style as well as any reporter. By creating media materials with all of the elements a reporter needs, written in a style adopted by the industry itself, you’ll have an important edge over the competition.
  • Deal with deadlines and switching gears – In the agency world you could be answering one client’s question one minute, posting to a social media site for another client the next and pitching the media on behalf of a third client just seconds later. You have to know how to balance and complete multiple tasks on tight deadlines and with finesse. Having a reporter’s background can help. When you’re used to finishing multiple stories on the fly and finding the appropriate sources at a moment’s notice, the busiest PR circumstances are much more manageable.

Those are just a few of the ways my reporting background serves me well in business. Can you think of other skills that translate from journalism to PR? We’d love to hear about them. Share your thoughts in our comments section.

Stephanie Angelyn Casola still carries a reporter’s notebook. She is a senior account executive at Franco PR Group. Reach out to her at casola@franco.com, @StephCasola on Twitter or Facebook.com/StephanieAngelynCasola. Call 313.567.5048.