Back when I did my degree at 18, I didn’t really know what PR was. I had heard it around but didn’t really understand what the job entailed or required. Because of this, it never occurred to me to do a Public Relations degree. Lucky enough for me, there are many degrees and qualifications that can be a huge help in gaining the transferable skills in order to succeed in the world of PR. Journalism, English, Communications and Creative Writing to name a few.
I mentioned in my Day the Life of a PR blog post that most people don’t realise how much writing is involved in being a PR. It is true also that most people don’t understand quite how much communication and branding/marketing come into a creative writing degree. In so many ways they are a fantastic match.
Here are some of the ways in which a creative writing degree helped me when starting off in the world of PR. You’ll probably find many transferable skills in a number of similar creative subjects.
In one way or another, both PR and Creative Writing are about communicating ideas in a memorable and interesting way. In PR you need to be concise, accurate and engaging when you connect with others, both in written form and otherwise. These are valuable skills that I developed a lot during my degree studies. My BA Honours in Creative Writing lay the groundwork that I would later build upon during my PR internship.
It Wasn’t All Fiction
There are whole modules and sections of a Creative Writing degree that focus on writing a variety of types of non-fiction and mediums. I learnt the basics of writing advertorials, press releases, blog posts, nature writing, journalistic pitches and a variety of other forms.
Though the degree wasn’t focused in these areas, there was plenty of opportunity to explore these elements of writing, meaning when I started of in PR, I once again was already familiar with the kinds of writing and communications that would be required from me.
In another sense, however, the fiction side of things was also hugely beneficial. Writing fiction allows you to develop your writing voice, learn to embody the tone of someone who is not yourself as well as think and express yourself in a unique and creative way. These are all excellent skills to take into the PR world.
If you study any subject at all you will find yourself coming face-to-face with a lot of assessment and portfolio deadlines. What I mean here specifically, however, is how I learned to write to a deadline. My degree taught me that inspiration doesn’t just come to us. We have to actively work to create it. My degree allowed me to become a more disciplined person, especially in terms of my writing. I know how to get things done to a high standard even while being chased by a ticking clock. I also find this has helped me a lot in terms of adjusting to the fast-paced nature of the PR world.
Another overlap in the world of fiction writing (or any form of writing for that matter) and PR is that building connections and contacts is vital within the industry.
Both involve building genuine and meaningful work and business relationships with people in a variety of fields and with a range of expertise. You need to be able to work well with others and know how to provide value and kindness in every situation. In creative writing, this is a lot about meeting working with editors, agents and publishers, but the same thing applies in PR when it comes to building and maintaining relationships with clients, publications and journalists.
To find out more about the path into a job in PR check our blog post all about my PR internship experience.