During my 20-odd years in the financial services and management consulting industries, I had always enjoyed the written communication side of things. I built up a lot of experience crafting strategic plans, investment pitches and business proposals, often for audiences of senior executives or boards of directors. But most of this writing was ‘corporate speak’.
While I had penned the odd article for industry publications, I was very keen to write more, on a broader range of subjects, and for a wider audience. The BCJ course in freelance journalism has helped me enormously to achieve that goal. In terms of technical writing skills, the course notes provide a solid theoretical base, which is then applied in a diverse range of tutorials that take you outside of your writing comfort zone.
Feedback from a highly experienced journalist, was robust and very practical, and zeroed in on areas I could improve on. I still refer back to it regularly. But equally important is what the course offers on the practical side of freelance journalism - how to come up with article ideas, which publications to target, who to pitch to, and how to pitch. That was incredibly useful for me, having little knowledge of the media industry.
Since completing the course, I have mostly stuck to my niche - business, finance and investment feature articles. Combining my industry expertise with a more solid foundation in journalism has definitely given me a foot-up and I now write regularly for a number of publications in this area.
Some of my work involves quite technical and research-heavy articles for a professional audience, such as my regular features for The Review magazine of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. One of my cover stories was a special report looking at the impact algorithmic trading is having on investments. I have also written investment articles targeted at a much wider audience, such as a piece for Wealthsmiths magazine on Greece’s fragile recovery from its financial crash. Sometimes, I venture into less familiar territory - covering subjects such as minimalism - and have felt comfortable and equipped to do so.
I would highly recommend the course. My next challenge is to write regularly for some of the mainstream newspapers with much larger readerships.