Every musician will tell you they have the coolest new single, every restaurant will tell you they make the tastiest food, and every organization will tell you they possess the greatest mission.
Moral of the story – everyone thinks they are the best and that the entire world cares to hear their wonderful story. In my years as a journalist, I learned otherwise. The unfortunate truth is that most people probably don’t care…that is, until you make them.
Opening hundreds of emails from publicists pitching me their clients’ products and services nearly drove me insane. Little did I know, this insanity would aid me in future public relations endeavors.
Before ever writing my first press release and sending out my first pitch, I was receiving them in high volumes from public relations representatives. My goal as a writer was to tell stories that mattered, and I quickly realized that most of the things publicists were sending me didn’t matter, especially not to my news editors. Hence, being a journalist directed me to quickly get to the point of what truly matters.
In journalism school, I distinctly remember my professors cutting my articles down from 700 words to 350 words, telling the exact same story in a more efficient way. That has to be the most beneficial concept journalism has taught me about PR. Newspapers and magazines don’t want all the details, they only want the important ones.
My transition from journalism to PR felt natural, because I already had a great understanding of not only what journalists wanted, but also what they needed.
In my time writing for a Phoenix music publication, my inbox was full of publicists insisting that I would love their artists. The truth is, I would never know, because I was not inclined to downloading the MP3s they would send me. My thought was this, “What makes you think I want to download this song to my computer, open it, and listen to it?” I noticed that I liked publicists who made things easier for me. I always preferred when publicists sent me SoundCloud or YouTube links versus MP3s.
Lo and behold, when I became a music publicist, I already knew how to formulate my pitches and provide journalists with everything they needed to easily feature my clients i.e. access to links, album artwork, and past projects.
Writing for different publications trained me to be simple and concise with everything I communicate and as I continue my career in PR, I am constantly reminded of how starting out as a journalist helps me. Working both sides of the media playing field has built my mind into that of a journalist-publicist hybrid. Not to mention, it has turned me into a content-creating machine.
Today, I still enjoy switching my hats from time to time, as it continues to teach me how to be better in media communications all around.