A Writing Refresher: 5 Tips for Success in 2022
By Monique Farmer, APR
Press releases, pitches, emails, social media copy, blog posts. As professional communicators, we are called on to write in some way, every single day — and if we do it well, then we can hold the attention of our audience, inform, change minds, educate and even inspire.
Chances are, you’ve gotten this far in your career because you’re a strong, strategic writer. You can whip out a press release with ease and take on the voice of your client like it’s second nature. But as we dive into the second month of a brand-new calendar year, here’s something to consider: There is always room to elevate your writing, for the benefit of your clients, your audience and your career.
Now is the perfect time to reflect on where you shine as a writer, where you can improve and how you can optimize your unique skills to deepen your connection with your audience. Cultivating your writing ability is also a great way to become even more marketable.
If you’re ready to grow as a writer (and maybe even become the go-to pro for your particular writing skill set), then here are five tips that can help you along your journey.
1. Revisit the fundamentals of good writing.
Start with a solid foundation. Take some time to revisit the nonnegotiables — the essential elements of all quality, effective writing that can make or break your message. Some areas to revisit include:
Clearly identifying your audience and understanding how to strike the right tone and deliver the right message
Beginning with a central theme you can stick with throughout your piece
Keeping your writing clear and concise
Remembering the first draft is just that. Get your thoughts on paper. Edit them. Shape them. Proofread. (Then, proofread again and polish.)
2. Reflect on what you do best.
When it comes to writing, we all have our strengths — the areas where we genuinely shine. Think about where you stand out and what comes easy to you. Are you a natural when it comes to writing releases that connect with the press? Are you phenomenal at ghostwriting articles for clients, seamlessly transitioning into their authentic voice?
Whether you lean toward more technical, research-driven writing or compelling narratives, pinpoint the areas where you feel most confident and focus on honing those skills that set you apart.
3. Read the work of others.
Virginia Woolf once said, “Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”
When we take in the writing of others — whether it’s peers in the industry or other writers we admire — we can expand our horizons, discover new strategies and grow in our own abilities. Take any and every opportunity to read other people’s books, articles, annual reports and social media content, and gather inspiration you can apply to your own writing.
4. Seek outside opportunities and resources.
Nothing beats the value of expert guidance and meaningful feedback. Consider optimizing your writing by applying for a writing residency, signing up for a virtual writing workshop or gathering a group of your fellow writing peers to discuss new writing trends and tactics.
You can also find a treasure trove of PR writing tools and resources online, including helpful checklists, cliché finders and grammar tools.
5. Write with your audience in mind.
As PR writers, we have a pretty substantial responsibility: to take the message of our client or organization and build a vivid narrative that connects with our audience. If we can’t connect, then we can’t convince, inform or inspire.
In working to strengthen your writing, consider your audience every step of the way. What are their needs? What are they hoping to get out of a piece of writing? Once you understand their motivations, use your writing to paint a picture for them — facilitating an experience in a reader that affects them personally and motivates them to act.
Strong, strategic writing is the foundation of our field of expertise. And whether you’ve worked in public relations for four or 40 years, there is always room to improve. Make this your year to take your writing skills up a notch. You’ll benefit from more audience engagement, organizational success and professional confidence.