Finding a Writing Job


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What every high school student with a passion and talent for writing needs to know about finding a job in a writing field like journalism, public relations, advertising, creative writing, technical writing and grant writing.

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  • I went to college… twice. And after a few writing jobs, became a Public relations consultant and made it my career. Which is interesting because I never intended to become a Public Relations professional. I wanted to be a journalist, but I discovered early on that I like to make money and frankly it paid better than minimum wage.
  • OK, so after all that, I wound up here with my own company. And we do hire writers. WE rely on our staff to be skilled writers, who are accurate as well as creative. Ask audience how many want to become creative writers--novelist, playwright? Bloggers? Journalists? Advertising or PR writers? How many want to become Rich? 
  • Just to give you an idea of the kinds of things that I’ve been paid to write and that you might too…
  • I don’t plan to talk about creative writing; too many experts in that field already on the agenda here and it’s not my background. I’m going to talk about the writing jobs that will subsidize your creative writing projects until you make it big.
  • I won’t talk about creative writing; too many experts in that field already on the agenda here
  • What’s the next best thing to being a creative writer? Getting paid to write creatively. Ad copy has to be one of the hardest things to do. In 2 or 3 words, capture people’s imagination and brand a product. Ad copywriters work closely with agency art directors who come up with the visual execution. The ad agency account executive works with the client and the strategy people brief the copywriter on what advertising messages they need to communicate as well as how the product or brand is to be positioned. If this is a field you think you want to enter, read the advertising classic Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. And you’ll understand the genius behind the Avis slogan “We Try Harder.”And keep a portfolio of your copy ideas. You can create mock ads, slogans and headlines for products and show these to get yourself a great internship. Look for opportunities to volunteer and help nonprofits with advertising assistance to gain some experience. The downside of advertising is…
  • Danielle… Has some great advice … And Kris, her former colleague…
  • These days, you can establish your own blog like Perez Hilton, become a paid contributor to a news blog in topics like the environment or science, contribute free content as an expert on the Huffington Post (to establish your credibility and create a platform for your ideas) or get a gig reporting on all of these trends writing for Establish your own blog, and start producing and publishing your writings. It is a great way to showcase your talent and build your audience. IF you’re serious about writing, do it.
  • Geoff Daily followed his own advice here and was able to establish himself as an expert in extending high bandwidth network access to communities through better access to fiber. It led to speaking gigs, free conference passes, and ultimately a job leading a nonprofit advocacy group. Erica Holloway is a former North County Times crime reporter. She went on to work for County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and launched an award-winning PR program to battle oxycontin abuse and addiction. Her passions ran toward the political and she now blogs and consults as a political, government relations, community outreach and PR consultant . She learned to be fearless as a reporter when she had to knock on the door of mother who had just lost her son for an interview…
  • So you do a good job as a blogger, it might get your foot in the door as a freelance or salaried writer for a news outlet. This can include magazine, a newspaper, a website, … The media landscape is very different from my childhood when there were 12 TV channels and no internet. Today it is very fragmented with many smaller outlets serving niche markets.
  • This isn’t really accurate, but what I do like is that it emphasizes that PR is not publicity. It’s strategy, relationships, a ton of writing, and creativity. It is consistently ranked in the top 5 to 6 most stressful jobs. That’s because it requires you to influence other people – make an editor take your call and consider your pitch, encourage a reporter to include your client’s quote in their article or report on your client’s new product, etc. You can control a lot of things, but you can’t control other people. But back to writing… nearly everything in this circle requires writing skill; And a career in PR will give you many opportunities to exercise your way with words and your creativity. It is stressful but rewarding.
  • How many people have a smart phone? When you opened up that iPhone 5 box, there was probably a nice little booklet in there called a user manual. A technical writer drafts docuemtns like manuals, training materials, policy and procedure publications, etc. Yes, it’s not a sexy writing job, but it is in demand. And no, unlike the figures in this picture, you won’t lose all your hair and facial features.
  • Be specific in the subject line so it’s clear to the employer that you are responding to their specific ad.In the covering email, reference some information that makes it clear you read their ad but also visited their website and know something about their companyAttach your resume as a PDF – look for opportunities to acquire experience and referencesIf you lack experience, develop some writing samples Don’t be too cute, clever or cocky; be interesting, be unique and memorableI earned my first job in PR because I included ax throwing in my hobbies – it’s a good spot to stand out
  • Finding a Writing Job

    1. 1. PRESENTATION Writing Your Own Ticket Making a career out of your passion and talent for writing JULIE WRIGHT Feb. 22, 2014
    2. 2. THE BEGINNING… 2
    3. 3. 3
    4. 4. THE MIDDLE… • College degrees • First writing jobs – Script reader for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. – Freelance journalist – Newspaper columnist – Radio newscaster – Public relations consultant 4
    5. 5. THE END... • Founded PR agency 16 years ago • Hire other writers – full-time & freelance • Enjoy sharing my knowledge & experiences • SELFISH: I want more great writers!
    6. 6. THINGS I’VE BEEN PAID TO WRITE • • • • • • • • • Ad copy Product names Press releases Op-eds Letters to the editor Classified ads Websites Video scripts Signs • • • • • • • • • • Brochures Annual reports Packaging information Posters and billboards Email blasts Employee newsletters Company newsletters Speeches Obituaries Tweets, posts, Instagrams 6
    7. 7. PROFESSIONAL WRITERS • Creative writer – Self publishing, novelist, playwri ght, script writer, etc. • Advertising copywriter – Creative and strategic, writes taglines (Just Do It), creative headlines, jingles, etc. • Blogger – Social media has created new opportunities and is a great entry point
    8. 8. PROFESSIONAL WRITERS, cont’d • Journalist (hack) – Freelance, staff writer, editor, multimedia journalist (TV, radio, print, online) – Specialize: food, science, entertainment, fashion, busin ess, environment, etc. • Public Relations (flak) – Press releases, speeches, social media content, ad copy, newsletter articles, opeds, etc. • Grant writer – Help nonprofits and others secure funding based on your proposals • Technical writer – Software manual, policy and procedures, etc.
    10. 10. ADVICE FROM AD PROS 10
    11. 11. BLOGGER 11
    13. 13. JOURNALIST 13
    16. 16. ADVICE FROM THE PR PROS 16
    17. 17. GRANT WRITER 17
    18. 18. TECHNICAL WRITER 18
    19. 19. FINDING A JOB • Craigslist – – – – Email subject line Email body message Resume attachment Writing samples • Job Sites – Ex: – Keywords • Interviews – Prepare – Focus answers on the needs of the employer – Come prepared with some questions of your own – Always ask for the job 19
    22. 22. 22
    23. 23. Q &A 23