How To Start A Journalism Career By Starting Off As A Freelance PR Writer

The news industry has undergone many changes over the years. The rise of digital media, social media, and citizen journalism have all come about within the last decade. 

The skills needed to succeed as a journalist have changed as well, with digital literacy becoming more important than ever before. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of having a good story idea and knowing how to write it well.

How to Become an Online Freelance Writer in 2022 – YouTube
Learn how to initiate a journalism career through freelance PR writing.
Understand the potential of freelance PR writing in the journalism field.
Discover the benefits of building a portfolio as a freelance PR writer.
Explore strategies to effectively transition into full-time journalism.
Gain insights into networking, finding opportunities, and advancing your career.

Put Yourself In The Shoes Of A Journalist

Before you begin, it’s important to understand what journalists go through daily. As a journalist myself, I can tell you that one of the most difficult parts of my job is getting information from sources as quickly as possible and then turning around and writing stories about them promptly. 

If a reporter gets an assignment for an article about something that happened earlier in the day, he or she has to write up their story by the deadline (usually 8 p.m.), which means they don’t have time to conduct interviews or gather any additional information after they get the assignment. 

Journalists are under pressure from editors who want them to file their stories on time and if they don’t meet this deadline, they could be reprimanded or even fired!

Here are some tips for making sure your PR pitches will catch his attention:

Keep it short and sweet! Journalists don’t have much time before deadlines hit; therefore any pitch must be concise enough so as not to waste valuable minutes/hours away from actually writing their articles (you’ve seen how fast writers move at The Atlantic!). 

Don’t worry though it doesn’t mean there won’t be room for great ideas (we’ll talk more about those later). 

It just means yours needs to come across clearly within those few sentences instead of going off into lengthy tangents like we sometimes tend to do when thinking things through first before sending out emails…which brings me back around full circle: short sentences are best here because the focus is key when pitching journalists.”

Learning how to effectively craft press releases not only saves you time and effort but can also significantly impact your outreach. Check out our guide on writing press releases that save you time and money to master this essential skill in the world of journalism.

Do Something Every Day

Consistency is key. You should aim to do something every day. Even if you only have a few hours, take the time to pitch your services and get yourself in front of as many clients as possible.

Ask for help when you need it. If you need a new pair of shoes or a ride home from a business dinner, ask someone from your company for help they’re there for that purpose!

Be proactive about finding new opportunities. Don’t wait around for someone else to find something for you; instead, make sure everyone knows what kind of work you’re looking for and where they should send it if they hear about anything that might be relevant to what interests you most!

Get A Journalism Qualification

If you’re interested in pursuing a journalism career, it’s important to first consider the differences between PR writing and journalism. 

Journalism is all about reporting “the news,” while PR writers are focused on creating content that reflects positively on their clients. While journalists have no formal qualifications, PR writers can get training and obtain accreditation through bodies such as the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

However, if you want to work as a journalist but don’t have any qualifications yet that’s okay! Your experience working as a freelance writer will still be useful when applying for jobs later on in your career.

Transitioning from a traditional job to a successful freelance PR writer takes dedication and strategy. Read about how one writer quit their day job and earned over $100k in a year through press release writing, and gain inspiration for your own journey.

Have A Broad Knowledge Of The Media Landscape

The first step is to have a broad knowledge of the media landscape. 

This means knowing what is happening in the industry (new publications, new social media platforms, etc.), what types of media exist (radio, print magazines, and newspapers), and what different types of publications there are (local weeklies vs national newspapers), as well as what kinds of journalism exist (investigative reporting).

You should also know who your target audience is whether you’re writing for an environmental publication or a fashion magazine. That will help you select appropriate topics and formats for your work.

Make Your Mind Up On What Area You Want To Specialise In

The first thing you need to do when it comes to choosing a niche makes your mind up on what area you want to specialize in.

  • Choose an area that you are interested in.
  • Choose an area that you have a passion for.

Choose an area that you are good at. If possible, choose an area where your academic background plays a part because this adds credibility to the content, which journalists find attractive when they look through potential writers’ portfolios before hiring them for jobs or freelance work opportunities such as those offered by PR Daily (

It is important to know what makes a good writer and how writing skills can help them stand out from the crowd when trying their luck as freelance writers for PR agencies, marketing companies, or even journalism schools!

In the age of digital media, crafting press releases that capture attention and go viral can be a game-changer for your career. Learn the techniques to create viral press releases that resonate with your audience and spread your message across the web.

Don’t Wait For the Opportunity To Knock, Go Out And Find It Yourself

Don’t wait for the opportunity to knock, go out and find it yourself. Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of the industry, build up a portfolio of work that will show off your skills and make prospective employers want to hire you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re having trouble finding clients or getting started as a freelancer, there are plenty of people who can help (including me). You may even have access to free services through college programs or community groups that can give you some pointers on how to get started in freelance journalism.

Don’t be afraid to be knocked back by rejections – it happens! The world isn’t perfect so don’t expect everything in life that’s worth having will fall into your lap overnight either; sometimes things take longer than expected but as long as you keep trying then eventually it’ll happen – just keep going!

And finally: undersell yourself at first – don’t underestimate what experience even small jobs give someone like yourself without any formal training whatsoever because these experiences add up over time.

The industry is willing to listen if they see the potential within what they read/hear from writers like me who’ve been doing this kind of thing since before we could drive ourselves places without worrying about getting lost along the way 😉

Embrace The Multi-Media World

In this day and age, it’s important to be able to write for multiple platforms. If you have a blog or website, great! But you may also want to consider writing for other media such as print magazines, radio shows, podcasts, and even videos if you can get your hands on the technology.

The more multi-media opportunities that you have at your fingertips, the better chance that an editor will be interested in hiring you for their publication. 

When competing against hundreds of other writers looking for work at any given time (especially in cities with many publications), having experience working on different platforms can give editors confidence that they’ll still be able to turn out quality content even if they don’t always have access to their preferred mediums.

Writing press releases tailored for startups requires a unique approach to effectively communicate their stories. Discover essential tips and strategies in our guide to writing press releases for startups that will help these emerging businesses shine in the media landscape.

Work On Your Copywriting Skills

If you’re looking to get into the media industry, copywriting is a great skill to have. Think of it as the difference between being a journalist and being a PR writer—one writes the actual news stories, while the other creates content that gets those stories published.

Although writing is not necessarily something that can be learned from scratch, you can certainly improve your writing skills by taking courses or reading books about good writing techniques. 

There are many ways in which you can learn how to write better copy without having to take formal classes or read textbooks like by following tutorials online and studying samples written by professionals who are already established in their field.

Have A Presence On Social Media

The next thing you need to do is make sure you have a presence on social media, especially if you’re looking to get into the journalism industry. Social media is an excellent way to network with people, learn about the industry and build your profile. And there’s no denying that it can be a great resource for finding out about job opportunities.

You should also set up a personal website where you can share your work your resume and portfolio will look much more professional if they’re hosted online rather than stored as attachments in emails or documents.

Learn How To Use Subbing Tools Like Nuj Tuc Online Or InCopy And Quarkxpress Or Indesign Correctly And Confidently

You can practice using subbing tools like NUJ TUC online or InCopy and QuarkXPress or InDesign correctly and confidently by getting some real-world experience. You can do this by working as a freelance proofreader, copy editor, or writer for a magazine or newspaper.

Proofreading involves checking for any errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage.

Copy editing involves correcting minor errors such as typos but also making suggestions to improve the flow of the text.

Writing involves producing new work from scratch using either your ideas or those suggested by an editor

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem silly or obvious. Your colleagues have spent years working in the industry and have a lot of great advice for you. 

When you are starting as a freelance PR writer, you must understand which clients to work with and when something isn’t worth your time and effort. If this is not something that comes naturally to you, then ask someone else! 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other freelance PR writers who may have more experience than yourself or even better yet, hire someone who has been there before like us (we offer both services).

Network, Network, And Network Some More!

The importance of networking can’t be overstated. You don’t have to be the most talented writer in the world, and you don’t need to come from a prestigious university; if you want to get ahead in journalism, PR, or any other field for that matter, it will take hard work and persistence.

But it also takes being able to network yourself into opportunities. And that is something everyone needs help with at some point or another (or even all the time).

The first step is making connections with people who are already in your industry: journalists are always looking for new sources and contacts who might know something interesting about what’s happening in their field; 

PR folks want access to journalists who write about their clients and campaigns; editors seek out journalists who will write stories about them and what they’re doing at their publication(s); etcetera you get the idea.

Be Prepared To Be Knocked Back And Learn From It, But Always Dust Yourself Down And Give It Another Go

Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get an interview. You could always try again and it’s important to remember that there are plenty of opportunities out there, so don’t let one knock-back hold you back.

If a potential employer doesn’t think you’re what they’re looking for, they’ll let you know. If the rejection is not based on something personal (ie: if it’s just because they prefer someone with experience in journalism), then don’t be too hard on yourself and think about where else you might like to apply.

Don’t Underestimate Your Experience

 However small it may seem. the industry is willing to listen if you are confident about your worth

However, the key to getting your foot in the door is confidence. You can always start small, but the industry is willing to listen if you are confident about your worth. You may not have an extensive list of credentials or experience, but if you believe in yourself and what you can offer, they will too.

For those just beginning their journey into press release writing, understanding the fundamentals is key. Explore our comprehensive guide on press release writing for beginners to build a strong foundation and pave the way for a successful career in journalism.

Become A Good Pr Writer, Then Become A Journalist

When we talk about PR, we’re talking about promoting your company’s products or services. It’s one of the best ways to get your name out there and create buzz for your product.

PR writers are also known as publicists, press agents, and media relations specialists. They write articles that appear in newspapers and magazines, on TV stations’ websites, and so on. They promote companies through these articles. 

The goal is to inform the public while getting them interested in what you have to offer as a business owner or employee at a company and ultimately get them to buy things from you!

A journalism career can be very lucrative if done right but it takes some work first before becoming an actual journalist yourself! 

It may sound like an easy job but don’t be fooled by its simplicity because there are many details involved such as deadlines that require strict adherence if not met could result in serious consequences such as losing credibility with editors who will eventually stop working with them over time (not mentioning any names).


It’s a little intimidating to consider how much work it takes to be a journalist. But the good news is that there are ways to get started in the field without having to go through all of those hoops right away. If you have an interest in writing, journalism could be a great way for you to make money while doing something you love!

Further Reading

How to Become a Freelance Journalist Short Description: Learn about the steps and strategies to kickstart your career as a freelance journalist and thrive in the industry.

Becoming a Journalist: A Comprehensive Guide Short Description: Explore an in-depth guide on becoming a journalist, including education, skills, and practical advice to succeed in the field.

Getting Started as a Freelance Journalist Short Description: Discover valuable insights and tips for launching your freelance journalism career successfully, from finding clients to building a portfolio.


How do I start my journey as a freelance journalist?

To begin your journey as a freelance journalist, consider obtaining relevant education and honing your writing skills. Building a portfolio and networking within the industry can also help you get started.

What qualifications do I need to become a journalist?

While formal education in journalism can be beneficial, it’s not always a strict requirement. Many successful journalists have diverse educational backgrounds. What’s crucial is a strong understanding of storytelling, ethics, and research.

How can I find freelance journalism opportunities?

To find freelance journalism opportunities, explore online job boards, freelance platforms, and industry-specific websites. Networking with editors and fellow journalists can also lead to potential gigs and collaborations.

How do I manage my time and stay organized as a freelance journalist?

Time management is essential for freelancers. Create a schedule that includes research, writing, pitching, and administrative tasks. Utilize tools like calendars and task management apps to stay organized and meet deadlines.

How do I handle payment negotiations as a freelance journalist?

When negotiating payments, research industry standards and set your rates accordingly. Clearly communicate your expectations to clients and be prepared to negotiate. Consider factors like the complexity of the project, word count, and your level of expertise.