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Never forget your roots

By Leo Valiquette

A couple of weeks back, I expressed my firm belief about the portability of strong writing skills between disciplines, with particular reference to journalists who make the career transition into public relations or marketing. Here’s my promised followup on the importance of not forgetting your roots in the newsroom when it comes to writing copy and placing a story.

(DISCLAIMER: Everything I am about to say stems from the assumption that you are great at what you do. And, frankly, most writers are not, but that’s a subject for another time.)

Strong writing remains at the core of effective public relations and marketing activities and this has become even more apparent with the rise of content marketing. From the ubiquitous and often maligned media release, to blog posts ghost-written for CEOs and thought leadership articles placed with leading trade and industry press, the lessons learned as a journalist remain relevant. In addition to my points below, you might also want to read Alex’s post from a couple of months back, 5 tips content marketers should take from journalists.

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You don’t have sources anymore, you have clients

By Leo Valiquette

There’s a quote that I am fond of from journalist and author Gene Fowler, who passed in 1960:

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

I could only wonder what he would say if he were alive today about making a living from writing. Content is king. It is fresh and original content, as Katie Parsons wrote the other day, which remains the strongest draw to pull in readers. And yet, we live in this contradictory age in which the ability of almost anyone to easily and affordably be a global producer and distributor of content has undermined the definition of what constitutes quality content and fostered a growing disrespect for the time and craftsmanship required to produce it.

Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly believe that a quality writer has a substantial advantage in today’s marketplace by virtue of the fact that their skillset is the basis of a premium service that is highly transferable between disciplines. The classic example is the journalist who jumps the fence into other fields, such as public relations or marketing.

I use this example because I live it. After working for eight years as a business journalist and editor, I made the leap into a PR/marketing role. Here are my lessons learned along the way.

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August roundup: What does it take to bring technology to market?

By Alexandra Reid

As usual, we covered a lot of ground this month on our blog. We argued that RIM won’t commit suttee, why Harper’s free trade efforts need more thought, how Don Drummond’s arguments on Canadian business are flawed, and we also offered loads of advice for PR and marketing professionals.

Here are our posts from August, as ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

August 27: Harper’s free trade efforts need more thought by Denzil Doyle

August 29: Thinking outside the bunker by Leo Valiquette

August 30: Marketing’s hidden treasure map by Francis Moran

August 13: Secrets of bulletproof marketing implementation by Rob Woyzbun

August 8: 5 tips content marketers should take from journalists by Alexandra Reid

August 14: Five common content marketing mistakes by Alexandra Reid

August 1: Any press is not always good press, but it may pay dividends down the road by Leo Valiquette

August 28: 2012 B2B content marketing trends by Alexandra Reid

August 22: Inbound marketing: An alternative to traditional PR? by Alexandra Reid

August 23: Truth … and sincerity … in advertising by Leo Valiquette

August 2: Waterloo will not commit suttee on any RIM funeral pyre by Francis Moran

August 9: How to get the media’s attention with your dignity and reputation intact by Leo Valiquette

August 21: The case for inbound marketing: What’s in it for you? by Alexandra Reid

August 15: The buck has to stop with whoever owns the byline by Leo Valiquette

August 16: Unleash your inner consultant by Caroline Kealey

August 7: Don Drummond on productivity by Denzil Doyle

August 10: The worst marketing sin by Francis Moran

Image: Curt Fleenor Photography

Great articles roundup: innovation, media coverage, overly optimistic entrepreneurs, press releases, Facebook and automation

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are Read Write Web, The Globe and Mail, All Things D, Small Business Trends, Social Media Examiner and ClickZ.

Why venture capital no longer defines innovation

Today’s venture capital deal flow to innovative new companies looks a lot like a fat man trying to squeeze into a slim Italian suit — it just doesn’t fit. The new shape of innovation is a lot more inclusive of new approaches and sources of startup funding. Author Michael Tchong explains what that might look like.

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How to get the media’s attention with your dignity and reputation intact

By Leo Valiquette

Last week I talked about how any media coverage can be good media coverage if it provides an opportunity to establish rapport with a journalist.

Of course, this statement comes with a big fat caveat – it’s only true if said journalist is not on a witch hunt and sizing up you or your organization for a stake and a pyre. But if you have bad news to share, or find yourself embroiled in some kind of juicy scandal, then what you need is a program for crisis communications. That’s a different beast and not my focus here.

Instead, let’s look at how you can go about getting the media’s attention when journalists don’t have an obvious reason to come to your door or don’t know your story well enough to understand why they should.

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