Home Content Writing A content creator’s journey from writing to communications: A Q&A

A content creator’s journey from writing to communications: A Q&A

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Working in a specific industry for a long period of time might give a person a tunnel vision — meaning that they can’t really see what opportunities await them. A lot of inspiration can be taken from Irvine’s journey on how she worked as a journalist and ended up becoming the founder of her own communications agency.

So, if you are a content creator, it might be time to take a closer look at what other ventures you can take to grow your career.

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Are you ready? Let’s jump right in:

What industries can you move into as an experienced content creator?

At this stage, there are very few industries that are closed to content creators. Most of them have realised that, in order to survive and thrive in today’s business world, they need to be able to tell their stories.

It’s also generally easier to teach a content creator the fundamentals of finance or engineering than it is to teach an actuary or engineer how to craft compelling content for both broad and specialised audiences.

What similarities are there between a content creator and a PR specialist? This can be in terms of skills or responsibilities.

In terms of skill sets, there’s a lot of crossovers. They have to be able to understand what makes a good story and be able to tell it effectively. The major difference is that a PR specialist has to be able to build, and foster, good relationships within the media.

They also have to be able to sell a story more than a content creator might have to. Most people in PR can do both to a reasonable degree. Those who can do it well are much rarer and should be treasured.

What opportunities does the communications industry hold for content writers?

Let me put it bluntly. There would be no communications industry without content writers. Everything from speech writing and scripts, to op-eds and social media copy, requires the ability to write well and compellingly.

In terms of career advancement, it’s up to individuals to take the opportunities available to them — whether that involves doing short courses to pick up new skills (in podcasting for instance) or immersing themselves in an industry they were previously unfamiliar with.

Do you think that journalism opens up the right doors for you to enter the PR industry?

There is a lot to be said for spending time in journalism before moving over to PR. People who’ve been journalists understand how newsrooms work and how much pressure journalists are under. As such, they’re less likely to make the mistakes that some junior PR professionals make and can temper client expectations to reasonable levels.

That being said, not every journalist is suited to PR. I’d suggest that any journalist looking to make the transition speak to colleagues who’ve done so and get a realistic idea of what PR entails before making any big decisions.

What sets journalists and PR professionals apart?

The best journalists take an adversarial approach to their craft. Ideally, they shouldn’t be on anyone’s side, other than that of the public interest. They look for the holes in any story someone’s trying to tell.

Of course, things are often more complex, but the point stands. While a good PR should also look for, and understand, any weak points in a client story, their approach is generally much more promotional.

How does PR fit in with digital marketing?

I’m of the belief that PR is increasingly one of the most important parts of any digital marketing strategy. Every media outlet now has an online presence. So even if you land a story in a magazine or on the radio, chances are that it will also end up online.

That provides valuable digital real estate for clients on credible properties. The content produced by PR teams can also provide fodder for social media teams, further entrenching its importance.

What advice can you give people in the media industry that want to expand into the communications industry?

Be patient. Building trust and credibility takes time. Even if you’re a big name in the media, you’re an unproven quantity in the communications industry. Start with one client and serve them well. Make sure that you can demonstrate that you’re doing so.

Once you’ve got that down, do it again with another client. It will feel like a grind for a long time (because it is), but do good work for long enough and clients will start coming to you.

If you work as a content creator, have you ever considered moving into the communications space? Why or why not? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Proving your work as a PR pro is essential. If you want to know how to deliver results seamlessly, , be sure to read Three ways PR pros can prove the value of their work.

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