THE ART OF STORYTELLING

A decade ago, when I was transitioning from my role as a reporter to the advertising world, I felt completely lost. My journalism degree, which I had worked so hard to attain, seemed to be holding me back.

I was trained in long-form exposes, deep dives into uncovering the stories that people not only wanted to read but the stories that people deserved to read.

I had won awards for my work uncovering misuses of state funding and the impact of drugs in communities. How did the trade I worked so hard to master translate into two-word headlines? Print ads? Display ads? Integrated marketing campaigns?

I remember feeling that in order to be successful in the world of advertising that I should have majored in marketing at some boutique creative school like my other co-workers.

In journalism school, I learned to go where the facts led me; not where my creative license wanted to go.

Those first months in the advertising world were challenging, to say the least. Probably the most taxing part of that transition was learning how to re-frame the way I thought about my writing talent.

I had to find a way to apply the rules I had learned in the newsroom to my new role as a copywriter.

Now, years later, I’ve done just that, and I’ve made a key realization in the process.

My background as a journalist isn’t a detriment; it’s an advantage. Not only do I know all the tricks to avoid making distracting technical mistakes (like ending sentences with prepositions); I know how to recognize what people and audiences want to hear, and I know how to tell the stories that help brands and products stand out.

I have an eye for detail, I know how to research and interview (which has come in handy in a couple of instances when producing site or social media content), and I know how to use credible sources and facts to support the story I’m telling.

As the years have passed, I have realized that although I may always approach my work as a journalist, I am, above all, a storyteller. And every brand needs one of those.


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