How Journalism and PR Converge to Create Digital Marketing Content That Works

Updated: 17 September 2018
How Journalism & PR Converge to Create Digital Marketing Content That Works

In this blog, we look at how journalism and PR come together to create the perfect skill set for digital marketing. Both have techniques that, when combined, create strong content that connects with the audience.

To understand the benefits of this combination, we first need to understand the similarities and differences between journalism and PR.

What is a journalist?

When most people think about journalism, they imagine the stereotypical “hack” journalist. Journalism is seen to embody a sensationalist approach, relying on shock value and the manipulation of emotions. This is partially true. Modern journalists do often manipulate our emotions to elicit the desired response.

Recently, we’ve seen a rise in the number of “fake news” stories appearing in the media, particularly online. Even with the more respectable news outlets, we’re all aware of the bias that underpins most reporting. This hasn’t helped their reputation, but one thing we can definitely say about journalists: they have plenty of creative licence.

This is the negative side of journalism, but there are positives too. Without the incredible work of investigative journalism, we wouldn’t be privy to some of the most important stories happening in the world today. Journalism also gives a voice to people who would otherwise be silenced.

To find their scoop, journalist use a range of information gathering techniques, including interviews, research, and fieldwork.

What is PR?

Unlike journalism, the aim of PR is not so much to inform, but to manage people’s opinions of a business. Whilst we perceive journalism as sensationalist and emotional, the stereotype around PR is almost the opposite: stuffy, robotic, and boring. PR is a “discipline” – this gives you an idea of its rigid nature. There’s little room for creativity or risk-taking.

Nevertheless, it excels at reputation management. PR understands how to create and maintain strong relationships between a business, its people, and its customers. It knows how to discover the qualities that attract people to a business/product and how to translate this into a message that connects with the audience and draws them in.

PR people conduct market research and use case studies to highlight their message. The message is always one that serves to enhance the business’s reputation.

The Common Ground

In some ways, Journalism and PR appear to be opposites, but they share plenty in common too. Both are forms of communication, albeit with different aims. One seeks to inform the public about outside events, the other seeks to inform the public about the internal workings of a business (with spin). Where PR people write pitches and press releases, journalists write stories about current events.

Both styles of communication have an underlying goal. With journalism, it’s often to inform the public and to keep people returning to a particular news outlet. With PR, it’s to create an impression in the public’s mind that builds and safeguards a business’s reputation. One thinks about what it wants to say (PR) and the other thinks about what people want to read (journalism). There’s clearly some overlap, but that’s the gist.

How the Skills of Journalism & PR Converge to Create Digital Content That Works

Journalism and PR offer the perfect intersection of skills to create digital content that converts, e.g. to sales, to email sign-ups, to a positive impression of the business.

PR understands the message a business should be trying to convey – journalism knows how to say it in a way that connects emotionally. This helps create content that people want to read, but that also enhances the business /product’s reputation too.

Where journalism can sometimes overstep the mark when reporting, PR has an eye on reputation at all times – it acts as a leash for the sensationalism. Together they create a good dynamic for interesting, accurate, and engaging stories.

Journalism has an aggressive approach to pitching. These skills make it easier to approach editors and advertisers for entry into magazines or publications. They understand how to pitch in competitive environments. PR can also pitch, but often approaches the task differently. A large part of PR is networking and building solid relationships with people. Journalism gets you in the door; PR keeps you there.

Finally, each has a different skill set in the way it gathers and produces information. When translated into a digital marketing strategy, it means we can create a huge range of different types of content. It keeps things interesting.

Together, journalism and PR have the tools to create content that people want to read and that best reflects the ethos of the business. Perhaps more importantly, they can get the content into the right places for maximum exposure.

If you want to learn more about how journalism and PR can improve your digital marketing strategy, please use our contact form and get in touch today!

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