How to use your journalism skills to boost income and career flexibility

How to use your journalism skills to boost income and career flexibility

Journalists are jam-packed with creative talents and industry know-how that translate well into other media and communications-related job opportunities.

Maybe you’re frustrated with the lack of available full-time journalism job options and want to change it up a bit with a new media-related profession, or perhaps you simply want to expand your services beyond journalism to increase income and flexibility in your career to pursue other professional interests within your wheelhouse.

Should you choose to take a glance outside of the journalism box – whether it be to add new income streams to your revenue lineup, pursue a new career path or take on part-time freelance side gigs for fun – there are options available to use your journalism chops for new and exciting opportunities. Here’s how to do it – and why.  

Journo skills easily translate into related opportunities.

Think about it: Journalists spend all of their time generating quality ideas for their specific audience, pitching ideas to editors and publications, researching information and statistics, hunting down and interviewing sources, finding appropriate story angles, understanding newsworthiness, thorough fact-checking, and offering authentic storytelling through quality writing and editing – all to provide information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.

These skills hold insurmountable importance for an employer or client seeking media or communications-related support. Journalists can easily take these innate skill sets and make the transition into other industries and services.

Consider these media-related services when taking the leap into something new.

Like I mentioned in my prior Muck Rack post, “An unlikely career path: journalist to PR pro and back to journalist,” there is a reason why journalists are so enticing to public relations agencies and in-house PR teams – they know the media inside and out better than anybody. A journalist’s appeal also rings true in many other media-related industries and services, including: content marketing, copywriting, social media, and writing and editing.

Here’s how to easily translate your journalism chops:

  • Public relations. Public relations consume all things media for brands and business clients, including writing press releases and speeches to developing messaging and talking points to gaining media coverage and traction on social media platforms (see more below). Journalists can utilize their behind-the-scenes understanding of the media world to help clients to better reach their audience through various media platforms.
  • Content marketing. Content marketing is all about writing quality content for a client with the goal of generating leads and turning people into customers. Content varies from blog posts to email newsletters to eBooks and how-to guides, and more. Journalists can quickly make the move to content marketing with their inquisitive nature and compelling storytelling abilities.
  • Copywriting. Copywriting is written content delivered primarily through online and print media for marketing-related purposes to either persuade or raise brand awareness. Copywriting may include everything from writing website copy to radio scripts to brochures and other marketing materials for clients. Journalists can use their writing and editing skills to work independently as a freelancer, or within an advertising or marketing agency alongside the creative team.
  • Social media. Social media, as you know, is everywhere and all-consuming. Social media content creation includes everything from writing copy for posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and every other social network to engaging with the online communities for brand awareness and support. Journalists’ ability to be clear and concise with words is extremely helpful in this arena; and besides, most journalists already use social media regularly for work and/or pleasure.
  • Writing and editing. Writing and editing is an all-inclusive category of other related opportunities including everything from ghostwriting a self-published book for an author to editing a manuscript for a seasoned writer who needs an extra set of eyes before submission. Journalists can use their vast array of know-how to support clients in nearly all writing and editing endeavors.

Gain additional credibility by continuously learning and expanding unfamiliar skillsets.

Take advantage of your journalistic chops if you’re interested in pursuing these other media-related opportunities. But also think about taking a few online courses through Media Bistro or another educational resources to up your game and skillset a bit to match that of the work you’re getting into.

Consider also reaching out to colleagues who are in the industry to dig into what it’s all about from the insider perspective, and read everything you can get your eyes on about the industry or service you’re interested in pursuing. With our industry constantly changing, there are always new skills to learn and perfect regardless of your experience. Journalists are naturally curious folk, so reading and learning, and asking the right questions to the right people are right up the journo alley.

By no means should you give up your journalism dreams. Instead, use your journalist-backed skillsets to pursue additional opportunities for a boost in income and career flexibility. It’s a win-win.

Cherise Henry is a freelance writer, editor and journalist, and communications consultant based in Sacramento, California. She’s passionate about telling meaningful stories and creating authentic content, connecting with people through the written word. On Twitter @cherisehenry.

Photo: Skills via Shutterstock

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