Recently I was asked by a lifestyle journalist:

I am a journalist looking at getting into a public relations/communications/social media career. Any suggestions on what kind of skills I would need? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Many people out there in the work force wonder if they can transition into a new career easily but may not make a move due to the bad economy or being unsure if what skills are needed to make a career change.

Fortunately for a journalist, choosing a new career in social media, communications, and PR is a good move that will be easy to do.

This is the answer I gave:

You have an edge on the PR side of things since you have media contacts. I’m not sure if your contacts are local to your area or national, but PR clients expect you to have great contacts to send press releases. It also helps for marketing clients because getting featured on the radio or in a magazine leads to sales. I did PR when I first started my marketing business, ( I don’t do PR as much any more), and I constantly expanded my contacts by attending press/media networking events, connecting with journalists on Facebook, and signing up for some really good services that connected me with journalists looking for stories. HARO (Help A Reporter Out), Vocus, Cision, are some good resources to use to expand your media list.

I see that you write for a lifestyle magazine. I’m not sure if you want to stay within that niche or expand outside of it. But the direction you want to take will depend on that.

On the social media side, you need to have targeted connections on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. As part of my marketing business I use my Facebook to build my email list for email campaigns, based upon the industry of each client. So for example, if a client wants to promote a new product geared toward C level executives I can quickly pull from my friends list. I have 5000 Facebook friends and I segment my list by occupation. (They have a list menu once you add a friend to do that on Facebook.)

You’re in a good position being a journalist. You can easily transition into PR and social media since they interconnect. I started in journalism early in my professional career, and now I occasionally do food reviews. I find that my writing career helped springboard me into my marketing and social media business. Feel free to email me directly for any additional help.