Having seen both sides of the automotive fence, journalism and PR, reinforces the crucial role strategic thinking plays at the core of every effective story. It isn’t a case of ‘Wow. Manufacturer A has a new car, isn’t it great?’ The story’s value goes far deeper than that; the new model is actually only part of the picture. Being behind the scenes and discovering what the new car means for the company, the business and the broader marketplace is often where the real story and interest lies.
This is especially important for start-ups, as you get to really understand what they have been through to get to where they are today. You’re really close to their strategic vision – what they are trying to achieve, and what it means to the people behind it. Working with the teams myself on the automotive PR agency side, you also find yourself becoming quite emotionally invested. That’s the power of a good story, and when combined with an intelligent, specialist communications strategy, it goes a long way to generating affinity and credibility.
Journalists often refer to joining an automotive and e-mobility PR agency as ‘crossing to the dark side’, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re actually stepping into the light, obtaining new insights and getting to see inside the industry in a way you may not have been able to do before, which is hugely illuminating and a real privilege.
But, once a journalist, always a journalist. You still need to know how to ask all the right questions of your clients so that you can fully understand their offer, interrogate and stress-test their brief, and present an impactful strategy in the best possible manner.
I would also say this: never fall out of love with writing. This is especially true for thought leadership and content creation. Presenting the facts is vital, but so too is the ability to do it in a manner that people want to actually read and stay engaged with. If you don’t love writing it, then you can’t expect anyone to enjoy reading it.