With more journalists seeking fewer commissions, switching to corporate communications is tempting.
But writers who make the leap from mainstream journalism into the corporate world could be in for a shock. A company may not be the right home for you if you want to continue writing for most of your day.
Web 2.0 is changing everything in the mix of company communications, from marketing to internal publications.
In-house content faces social media threat
As big corporations get social media savvy, the in-house magazines that journalists traditionally moved into, whether through an agency or directly for a company, are facing hard times if not extinction.
The likes of IBM are not just connecting with business through blogs and websites but also allowing their employees to talk among themselves using micro-blogs such as Yammer. The top-down communication provided by in-house teams is dying on its feet – as well it should (it rarely worked).
Some companies have kept print publications going because their mobile workers have no access to a PC at work. But these are becoming extinct thanks to mobile technology such as smartphones and the iPad that make it easy to read news any time.
Online news will also die out, as 140-character one-liners such as Tweets are even easier to digest.
Corporate culture shock
Going in-house can be a culture shock for journalists in other ways too. Not only do you have to get used to people approving your copy, but you also have to immerse yourself in meetings, admin and company politics. Any writing may have to be outsourced because you simply don’t have the time.
Most of all, you’ll have to start thinking strategically – about how to engage employees, fitting the parent company’s communications in with national ones, which agency is best for search engine optimisation and so on.
It’s not just the corporations themselves that are changing but agencies – another home for journalists. They’re moving closer to clients with a more strategic offering.
To corporate communicators already in the field, this is all exciting but precarious. For writers, the future lies in content – an area where being properly trained and able to write can make all the difference.