How being a former journalist gives you the edge in digital PR

Katie Storey


24 Oct



Consumer’s Senior Account Manager Rebecca Calderwood explains why clients aren’t always looking for those with PR experience, and why the expertise of a former journalist is just as beneficial.

Here at Press Box PR, one of our main objectives is to drive captivating, useful and engaging digital content on behalf of our clients. So, who better to produce and pitch that exact content than former journalists themselves? While having a background in PR can also be valuable, it wasn't until I applied for Press Box that I realised just how beneficial the skills of a former journalist can be for clients, especially those looking to secure links and coverage. In fact, there are a number of key factors that make former journalists stand out in the world of digital PR - and here’s how. 

Firstly, in digital PR, creating engaging and captivating content is a clear winner for any client. During my time as a showbiz journalist, much of my day-to-day consisted of finding new angles and delivering original content. Therefore, with extensive experience in crafting compelling news pieces, journalists know what it takes when it comes to bringing a unique perspective to the table for clients. They have the instinct for identifying what works and communicating it effectively - whether it's writing a press release or interviewing talent, journalists understand the importance of finding the right angle, and delivering information in a way that makes it interesting in order to shape a brand’s narrative and create attention-grabbing campaigns. At Press Box, I’ve often used my journalistic roots to help tailor content in order to meet the needs of client targets, whether it be landing new domains or international publications. 

Whether it's writing a press release or interviewing talent, journalists understand the importance of finding the right angle
I knew what Love Island content worked well whilst targeting Irish domains for a client

Journalists also have extensive experience working with media outlets, editors, and reporters, which in turn helps to secure media coverage for clients. They understand how newsrooms operate, what writers look for in a story, and how to pitch ideas effectively. Working at Press Box, I regularly reach out and rely on former colleagues and editors to help land coverage. While pitching to them was initially strange, I do believe that keeping in touch and maintaining those past relationships has helped me facilitate content on several occasions. Not to mention, I already had the intel as to whether content was landing in the hands of the right people - and I guess it’s always nice to have a familiar name popping up in their inbox. 

Clients also appreciate that journalists are no strangers to tight deadlines and high-pressure environments. They thrive under the pressure of delivering timely and newsworthy content. In the fast-paced world of consumer PR, where we’re often jumping on reactive television moments or royal appearances, having professionals who have experience in breaking news and being able to adapt quickly is invaluable. Former journalists also bring this sense of urgency and efficiency to the table, ensuring that a client's message is quick and impactful. Essentially, their ability to work in high-pressure environments makes them valuable assets to any client. 

Having professionals who have experience in breaking news and being able to adapt quickly is invaluable

While it’s important to acknowledge that former journalists may need to adapt to new practices and gain a deeper understanding of PR, the skill set they already bring to the table puts them at a unique advantage. Their storytelling instinct, network of media contacts and adaptability makes them more than capable for a role in PR. And, by working with an agency like Press Box, we’re able to use these skills to help deliver results and hit monthly targets. So, if you're a journalist considering a career switch and still want to embrace your journalistic roots, working with clients in the world of digital PR may just be the perfect fit for you. 

Feeling inspired, We’re hiring at Press Box, you can find the full list of vacancies we have available here.

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