How many aspiring public relations professionals consider themselves writers first? In my personal experience, I can’t say that very many do. I’ve been a writer, copy editor and everything in between, but if I’ve learned anything it’s that good writing is hard to come by. It may sound like a given, but excellent writing is the key to making yourself and your content stand out in a sea of mediocrity. With that in mind, here are some tips to mastering the written word:
1. Map It Out
Starting a new project can be overwhelming. Sometimes you have an idea where you’re going, and other times it can feel as though you’re hopelessly lost. Either way, outlining your project whether it’s a web page or a story will help set you on the right path. Having a road map to reference will not only make it easier to write, but it will also make the final product clearer and easier to read. Trust me.
2. Engage with your own content
You’ve been staring at your computer screen for an hour wondering how on earth you’re going to make that blog post about water conservation interesting. We’ve all been there, but chances are you’re not engaging with your subject matter to the best of your ability. Let’s face it, if you think it’s boring to write, then it will certainly be boring to read.
Instead, use your expert knowledge and know-how to approach your subject differently. Know what makes your client stand out from the competition, and have fun with making your content reflect their stellar attributes.
3. Keep It Simple
Effective writing is a practice in minimalism. As much as you may love colorful language, you only need one adjective per noun. Trim out excess words and phrases that don’t add any substance to what you’re working on. Not only will it become easier to read, but the audience will keep reading for longer and get more out of it too.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
Nothing speeds improvement along faster than practice does. When it comes to writing focus on the formats you’re looking to refine. If you’re struggling with blogging do some research, and model your initial drafts after bloggers whom you enjoy. As you do this more and more often, you’ll begin to develop your own voice and style. Pretty soon, you’ll become the master you always knew you were.
5. Grammar Counts
While it’s not new information, it’s something that everyone loves to forget ⎯ grammar will make or break your content. A misplaced, but well-intentioned comma has the potential to change the meaning of a sentence and discredit the piece entirely. Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure to familiarize yourself with grammar basics, search the Internet if you have a question and keep your AP Style Book handy.
by Alexis Solis