In the wonderful world of public relations we write a lot. From press releases, to pitches, to tweets and Facebook posts, to blogs – we write it all. Most of this writing is tailored to styles that aren’t our own. AP Style. Client’s preference. Socially acceptable tweet format. The point is, PR people are super creative, but you don’t always see that in our public writing.
That’s why I blog on the side. I have a book club blog that I write mostly for my friends’ entertainment. Why do I do it? I get to be creative and funny and write in my own way. No restrictions. No approvals. It’s awesome.
What’s the benefit to my professional life in PR? Practice! The old adage “Practice makes perfect” applies here. The more I write on my own, the more practiced a writer I become. Writing about something you really enjoy lets you spread your creative wings more, which helps strengthen the quality of your writing for clients.
In particular, I’ve found this creativity helps with writing pitches. I’ll admit to being a bit silly in my personal blog posts. This silliness turns into some fairly entertaining and eye-catching subject and opening lines. For example, I once opened with “So I was stalking you on Twitter and know you’re out of town…” Totally worked. This brand new contact I was pitching was flattered she had a stalker.
Here are some tips I like to keep in mind when it comes to writing:
- Write Often – Practice writing on your own every now and then. I choose blogging about books. But maybe writing an email to a friend is more your style. Either way, daily writing can only strengthen your skills and you’ll write better on behalf of your clients later.
- Plan – Plan out what you what to say. Think about how you want to organize your thoughts and the point you want to make. If that means you bullet out the 5Ws (who, what, when, where, and why) or build an inverted pyramid, go for it. This will get you closer to the “C” goal: Clear, Cohesive, and Compelling.
- Read More – The more you read the more you’ll pick up good writing habits. Published work goes through editors before being declared ready for public consumption. Be a good reader and you’ll subconsciously learn new words, spell better, and recognize proper sentence structure.