It used to be that ex-journos were hired in narrow roles based on skills or pedigree. At a large agency where I once worked, they were invited to the big pitch to weigh in on story potential, drop names, and wow the prospect.
Others were installed in editorial spots where they could wield a blue pencil but otherwise stay out of the fray.
Recently, the conversation has shifted to something that professional communicators are doing more often—brand journalism. Though the term is somewhat controversial, its practice—corporate storytelling through compelling and relevant content—is not contentious.
So, is there anything new here?
It comes down to a matter of approach and commitment. In the past, we were identifying and telling client stories, but the typical PR approach lacked a true journalistic sensibility. A press release is not a story.
Today, with the influx of traditional journalists into the profession and the rise of digital and social media, the emphasis is more on getting it right. And without question, someone with experience spotting news, shaping a story, and writing against hellish deadlines has the requisite skills.
Here are some guidelines for better storytelling for all communicators.