Journalism Career – All media has gone online. If your media or content cannot be found online, it almost does not exist. You won’t get the same reach or impact, and as a result, your readership and income will be minimal at best or, in the worst case, will cost you with absolutely no return. This is true for all creatives and media professionals, but especially those that create content.
While the process of building an audience and monetizing said audience with a variety of different approaches is common amongst all content creators, it’s slightly different for journalists.
The Reality of Being a Journalist
Journalists aren’t just creating content that is meant to be engaging or exciting; they’re creating content meant to inform and even change society. Journalists keep big, power-hungry institutions in check. Their work helps bring societal change into focus. More than just reporting what happened, journalists help their audience understand the why and how.
It may feel like your workload is already higher than you can handle, just researching, interviewing, fact-checking, and, of course, writing. Adding on marketing, analytics, PR, reputation management, and even your own financial accounting can be too much for many. In those cases, it’s better to work for a publication so you can work as part of a team.
Regardless of whether your goal is to become a staff writer or an independent journalist, you need to create an online platform. An online platform and audience will help you establish yourself as an independent or give you more value as an employee. If you come with your own readership, you’ll see so many exciting opportunities become available to you.This Journalism Career true for any career today. If you have a big following that engages with your content, you have more negotiating power. You can use that audience to help you get your dream job or to sell your work to news outlets.
If you’re just at the start of your career, don’t worry. There are many tips and tricks that will help you get started and many ways that you can prop up your income once you’ve built that audience. Knowing both can help stabilize your career and give you a platform that lets you launch your career in your dream direction.
Earn a Journalism Degree
Learning on the job when you already have so many steps ahead of you, and, unfortunately, so much competition on the job market means you’ll be several steps behind even freshly hired journalists. While you don’t need a degree per se to work as a journalist, you do need to know how to conduct yourself as one.
The good news is that there are unique, forward-thinking degrees that go beyond just helping you develop the traditional skills of writing, reporting, and editing. Today you can earn a digital Journalism Career degree that teaches its students how to incorporate digital news and how to create digital-first content beyond just text (video, photography, and audio). Students are also taught how to code to create impactful and engaging media assets and also how to establish a unique identity as a journalist online for Journalism Career.
Click here to learn more about the full scope of what a digital Journalism Career degree can offer you, but know it’s designed to help journalists master the sometimes difficult-to-navigate online world to establish themselves as a leading figure in their field.
Create an Online Brand
Having the skills is essential, but you don’t need to graduate before you get started on building your online platform. Start today, even before you apply, and start a journalism career. You can then adapt your approach and the content create as you learn. In fact, starting today and using your education is a comfortable way to learn and adapt your online marketing approach so that you aren’t thrown into the deep end of trying to job hunt while growing an online audience from scratch.
Start first by deciding on your name. If you like your given name, then you’re all set! If not, there’s nothing starting you from creating a nom de plume or a pen name. This will be the professional name that you publish content under and what your audience will know you as. With social media being what it is, you may also need to create an alternative version of your name to use as a username. There may be a character limit or the username you want may even be taken already.
For simplicity’s sake, it’s best to always have the same username. This way, people can find you no matter what platform they’re on. That, and you won’t accidentally send your audience to an unrelated person who happens to have your Instagram username on TikTok, for example.
All journalists work in a niche. This niche is generally a field. You may work as a new or foreign affairs journalist, a fashion journalist, a sports journalist, or anything in between. The reason why you’ll want to choose a niche is that you need to have an in-depth understanding of the field you’re reporting on. You need to know the key figures, you need to know how to explain key information to a wider audience, and you need to know the history of the field itself so that you can clearly understand how it’s changing and why.
Journalists rarely just report what happened. While yes, reporting what happened is a huge part of journalism, keep in mind the biggest stories are more in-depth than simply relaying what happened. That’s why you need to specialize. Envelop yourself in that field and know the ins and outs of it, so you can report, analyze, and write better.
Tip: Though you’ll usually start by specializing in a broad field, you’ll likely specialize further as you go. A fashion journalist may start specializing in sustainable fashion, or in couture, for example.
Having a name and niche is just the start of building your brand. You’ll also want to decide on an aesthetic, a logo, and even your journalistic style. Your brand needs to be easily identifiable, and it needs to help you stand out. Don’t immediately go for something eye-catching just to get attention, however. You need to make your brand true to you. Just clean it up, polish it, and use that as a way for people to recognize you, even without necessarily seeing your name.
All journalists should have a website. This website should have written or produced content, as well as an about page, to help people understand who you are and what you are about. Your website is a platform and a resume all in one. When it looks fantastic, works beautifully, and is engaging, your site is doing a lot for your career. If you can bring in a lot of traffic, you can monetize it. You can also use it in job applications and when networking.
To launch a website, you’ll need three things:
- A domain name
- A web host
- A theme
It’s easy to set your website up, but you will want to put some time and thought into customizing the theme so that it’s uniquely you. This means changing the logo and the color scheme and even learning the basics of how to use formatting and HTML so that you can create a beautiful site.As for making it accessible and readable, remember to keep paragraphs short, break up content into lists and subheadings, and properly tag everything (H1, H2, H3, etc.) so that your content can be properly understood not just by users but also by search engines.
Social media is the best place to grow your audience because you can do it both organically and through paid marketing. Use the same username across accounts, and create content specifically for that platform. This can be as simple as posting your short video to Instagram and TikTok separately rather than sharing the TikTok video directly to your Instagram (this causes the logo to show up and also results in a decompressed video).
Having a unique approach will mean you’re offering value to each audience. In general, try to have two to three accounts you are active on. The most popular platforms for journalists today are Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Of course, the approach you take to curate and engage your Twitter audience is going to be vastly different to the one on TikTok.How you relay the information you’re talking about will also need to change based on the platform you use. TikTok, for example, is overwhelmingly used by Gen Z and younger, while older adults will be on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Keep demographics in mind when creating content, as this will make each platform more engaging and help you get the most out of your efforts.
Creating Winning Content
A career in Journalism Career is all about content. Today that content will come in the form of text, video, audio, and photography. While there’s nothing wrong with focusing on just one medium, you’ll almost always find it beneficial to focus on two or more mediums. A photojournalist that can also compile and write well is going to be more valuable than a photojournalist that just sends in images.
If you can run and manage a podcast on top of writing and publishing articles, then you can send the audience from both mediums to your other platform. Have those who read your article in a major newspaper go to your podcast and send your podcast listeners to the articles you’ve written.
It takes time to create truly great content, especially in multi-media format. The time and energy you spend on developing these skills, however, is worth it. Wearing multiple hats in any media profession opens up exciting new doors and gives you a chance to take your career independently.
For example, if your podcast kicks off, you can stop working as a staff writer and instead focus on your own independent Journalism Career platform. If you have a big online following, you can be hired for new job opportunities that are looking to translate news for social media.
Creating winning content in more than one format is the best way to get practice and put together an amazing portfolio that can really help with your career.
Getting your work published is so important for journalists. It establishes you as a credible journalist simply because you’re now affiliated with a trusted news source. You’ll also be able to introduce your writing and specialization to new audiences, who may very well go online to follow you for more of that content.
When it comes to getting published, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is to know your audience. Your audience and the audience of the publisher need to align. If you are writing for business professionals, then you’ll find more interest in industry Journalism Careers and magazines than general interest publications, for example.
You’ll also need to be aware that it can take time before major publications start showing an interest. There’s nothing wrong with starting with smaller publications and working your way up.
Work with other journalists. Collaborate on projects. Invite others as guests on your podcast or social media content. Getting out there and establishing a name for yourself means knowing the other bigwigs in your field – even the ones that are just big online. Everything in society is about who you know, so getting to know other leading journalists in your field or figures in your niche will play a huge role in your career.
Start small when it comes to finding other aspiring journalists with a similar following and niche as you. Create projects together, and grow from there. Just as with everything, there are many baby steps you’ll need to take before you start to see progress, but stick with it.
If someone knows that you’ve worked with a journalist they know, they’ll be more likely to talk to you. Collaborating is a way to show your integrity and that you’re trustworthy – which are both traits essential for those looking to establish themselves as credible journalists.
Review How to Create an Online Platform for Your Journalism Career.