By Baylee Ritter
In public relations, strong writing is always stressed but never talked about. Although PR students learn how to write press releases and craft social media posts, we never learn how to skillfully wield a pen. How does one become a strong writer? Is it something that can be taught? According to a panelist of PR pros, strong writing can’t be taught but it can be inspired.
Earlier this week, a panel of PR practitioners, recent DePaul grads and an executive recruiter, served as a source of inspiration for a group of students at a DePaul PRSSA meeting. The panelists shared their top four writing tips and suggested ways to find inspiration in everything.
1. Consistency is Key
The key to acing the writing test, and landing the PR job of your dreams, is consistency in your writing. Your emails, cover letter and resume must be grammatically correct and free of AP errors. Everything you submit to an employer is a representation of your skills. Sadly, your score on the writing test will mean very little if your emails are full of typos or misspellings.
2. Bring Your Writing to Life
There is a distinct difference between good writing and strong writing. Strong writing is full of vivid detail and concrete language. To create that detail, strong writers typically tell a story and bring their ideas to life with imagery and expressive prose. As long as you avoid jargon, storytelling is one of the easiest ways to bring your writing to life.
3. Have a Big Media Diet
Many people credit their strong writing to strong reading. Although accurate, it’s important to remember to consume all types of media. A big media diet is the key to finding inspiration. Listening to podcasts and public radio is a great way to get inspired on the go. If you are more of a visual learner, curate your social media feeds to reflect brain stimulating content. Media is a great source of inspiration for your writing.
4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you fall into a comfortable routine, you stop pushing yourself to grow and expand your horizons. When that happens, your ideas and thoughts start to lack creativity. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone will provide fresh inspiration and increase your knowledge – which will improve your writing skills in the long run. The key to finding comfort outside of your comfort zone is starting small. Introduce yourself to new people or try a new cuisine. Starting small will make change less intimidating.
I urge you to find inspiration in all things. From books to new restaurants, finding creativity and insight in new things is the key to becoming a strong writer.
- Jill Stewart – Adjunct Professor, DePaul University
- Lynn Hazan – President, Lynn Hazan & Associates, Inc.
- Aray Rivera – Internal Communication Specialist, Howard Brown Health.
- Marla Krause – Journalism Instructor, DePaul University
- Richie Roesner – Associate, Hill+Knowlton Strategies
- Maggie Orchard – Marketing Manager, Agency 360, Ice Crew Member/Fan Ambassador, Chicago Black Hawks
Baylee Ritter is a senior double majoring in public relations and advertising and communication studies and minoring in environmental communications. She is an environmental educator and activist who is passionate about storytelling. Baylee is currently interning at The Ocean Project and Climate Resilience Consulting. In the future, she hopes to work in corporate social responsibility or environmental campaign strategy.
2 thoughts on “Want to Ace the Agency Writing Test? Get Inspired.”
This is a great summary of the seventh annual “Acing the Writing Test” panel discussion. If I had to distill everything I’ve heard and read about better writing, it would come down to proofreading. Period. And, to reinforce that, I stress proofing by reading aloud. As one student said “It seemed elementary at first. But I caught so many things by proofing aloud.”
Hi Baylee, I am currently a student at Southeast Missouri State majoring in Public Relations. I really enjoyed this article and think I can really benefit from these tips. Do you have any other tips to help improve writing? As well how did you step out of your comfort zone to improve creativity?