Transitioning from journalism to PR

Change is inevitable in life and learning to accept that change is normal is a skill I’ve slowly mastered.

Recently, change has again risen to the surface, this time as I switched jobs from the business reporter at the Holland Sentinel to the writer and communications strategist at Boileau.

As with any major life change, there was the inevitable learning curve.

And while it’s expected, this time around, the learning curve was minimal at best because I embraced the change.

Why Boileau Communications?

There were several factors that attracted me to Boileau but the simple truth is that my personal goals and beliefs closely aligned with Boileau Communications and their team.

At Boileau, we are storytellers. We enjoy taking a company and its core beliefs, looking deeper into what makes them unique, and telling that story in a creative and direct way.

It was the drive to be a storyteller that ultimately attracted me to the company. At the Sentinel, my favorite articles were the ones where I had the opportunity to sit down with someone and listen to their story.

I had a passion for taking the time to get to know a person on a deeper level to hear not only the positives but also the negatives they’d experienced in their journey. From there, I thrived off the challenge of thinking about how to craft their story in a way people would want to read.

Today, I get to do that exact same thing, this time taking a business and it’s goals and dreams and creatively sharing it with our customer’s chosen audience.

The stories I hear today are different from the past but the one consistency is that the people I speak with are still willing to become vulnerable, sharing their goals, dreams and even their frustrations.

From there, it is our job to devise a plan to reach their goals and ultimately educate the community about the amazing things these businesses are doing.

It would be easy to over complicate the transition from the Sentinel to Boileau but the reality is the writing concepts remain the same.

Whether it is using the “less is more” concept for word choice or realizing that everyone has a story to tell if you are willing to listen, I’ve been trained to write. I’ve been trained to understand that every single word serves a purpose, no matter how small it may be.

A talented writer has the ability to form a rhythm and a flow with their words and that applies in both PR writing and journalism. A reader shouldn’t have to work to get through a piece, instead progressing from one sentence to the next effortlessly. It’s an artform, something you develop over time.

Although the rhythm changes from journalism to PR, the principles remain the same.

Change is not the enemy

American business writer Tom Peters once said that “excellent firms don’t believe in excellence — only in constant improvement and constant change.”

At Boileau, that could serve as our motto. Taking each project and learning and improving is vital in the communications landscape and with that comes constant change.

Constant improvement rests solely in change and the acceptance that change is okay.

Today, I’m proud to work for a company that embraces change and wants constant improvement out of not only the company but also each of its employees.

Ultimately, it’s the only way to provide the best for each of our clients.

About the Author

Austin Metz

Austin joined the Boileau team after nearly two years at the Holland Sentinel. Through his experience, Austin cultivated valuable relationships with the local business community while also learning to take big picture stories and localize them to the paper's readership. A Grand Valley State University alum, Metz studied journalism for three years before earning his bachelor's degree in psychology. Metz is a GR-resident, an avid runner, blogger and an aspiring fiction author who enjoys his daily walks with his dog and sitting around the campfire.

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