Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The important role of journalism in PR & Marketing

Like many PR people, I began my communications career in print journalism. I began even before I knew what the AP Stylebook was. Yikes!
I began at the time when ad sales began to plummet and the future of newspapers in print became questionable. Over my college career, the Internet evolved at a very fast rate. All newspapers went on-line, most sharing all news and articles for free, with banner and button ads galore. That helped keep things going, but for the most part, the reality of newspaper’s history was setting in.
The first newspaper I ever worked for saw sales cut in half, and then in half again, and sold its assets to an on-line only news source. My college newspaper saw some major cutbacks. The staff went from earning a stipend and having a decent budget for coverage and diversity, to all being volunteers with little funds to spare.
Luckily, I had shifted my emphasis from journalism to public relations, but I still earned a minor in journalism and took all the required reporting and writing courses a journalism major was required to.
Throughout college, I was friends with the newspaper staff, not the PRSSA members. Journalism was my passion.
Now, I sit at the throne of a small PR & marketing company. Creative Touch Communications ( offers small businesses, non-profits and some individuals help with creating strategic game plans, which can include email marketing, graphic design, event management, website design, news release writing and media relations.
When I first meet with some individuals, presidents or managers they want to promote their product or service. They want to go on about it for pages and hours. My business partner and I have to tell them before any plan or line of content on a website is written, their want to share what they have to offer needs to change to a want to share how they can solve a problem for a client.
That makes all the difference. Then the problem solving needs to be brought into words. They hire us to do it, and the best way of doing that is putting on my journalism hat, not my marketing or PR hat. I need to be objective and get the facts out and relate those facts to the bottom line; how each client’s product or service solves a problem. One of my best relationships is with a free lance journalist, whom we often use to edit content we write for clients; news releases, features stories and so on. A journalistic writing style does not look like a solicitation or an advertorial. Journalists asks questions and deliver content that get the facts out and place an organization as having answers to your questions. Stepping away from the promotional angle PR and marketing people often use, gives an organization a great deal of credibility.
So, journalists, as the industry shifts, don’t forget you are much needed. You bring something to the table PR and marketing people don’t, and perhaps more jobs at PR and marketing firms will open up for those of you who have experienced cutbacks in your current positions.

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