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PR Career Advice for Young Professionals

Learn how to write well—and how to write well fast.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

This is my no. 1 PR career advice for young professionals:

Learn how to write well — and how to write well fast.

Putting things into words is a valu­able PR skill. If you know how to write, then there will always be some­thing import­ant for you to do.

Let’s take a closer look:

Make “Writing Speed” Your Slight Edge

If you com­bine sol­id writ­ing with speed, noth­ing will stop you. But how do you get faster at writ­ing? Most people make the mis­take of overthink­ing every word. They care­fully build sen­tence after sen­tence, slowly.

I recom­mend anoth­er approach:

Get the first draft down, fast. Never worry about the details; that’s what the second and third draft is for. What’s import­ant is to keep going without stopping. 

Will your first draft be per­fect?
No, it won’t. And that’s fine. 

The first draft of any­thing is shit.”
— Ernest Hemingway

Revising is best done after­wards. Also, many people can go into a draft and sug­gest improve­ments once there’s an actu­al text to work with. Now, I’m not try­ing to be mean to copy­ed­it­ors or proofread­ers. Their job is essen­tial. However, they depend on someone brave enough to tackle that empty document.

As soon as you excel at writ­ing fast, you’ll join a small but well-respec­ted club of PR writers. Those who under­stand the worth of your skill will keep you close. Those who don’t will try to jump in, add or remove a few words here and there — and that’s fine, too.

Be a Multitool for PR Writing

Make sure to learn how to write: 

  • blog posts,
  • press releases,
  • inter­act­ive copy, 
  • SEO copy,
  • sales copy, 
  • pro­gram­mat­ic ads,
  • annu­al reports,
  • journ­al­ist­ic articles,
  • case stud­ies,
  • schol­arly articles, 
  • social media copy, 
  • present­a­tions,
  • and speech writing.

Being sol­id (and fast!) PR writer will be invalu­able both to you and to oth­ers. It’ll be the corner­stone of your PR career, even.

You don’t need a lot of industry-spe­cif­ic exper­i­ence, either. You could listen and ask ques­tions on behalf of the poten­tial read­ers and put them togeth­er with them in mind. 

Synthesising what bril­liant and more seni­or col­leagues and cli­ents are dis­cuss­ing is valu­able. 1Creatives will feel good about them­selves when they see their crazy ideas coher­ently presen­ted; read­ers will under­stand what’s going on; your team mem­bers will repeatedly ask you to do more of what … Continue read­ing

How To Improve Your PR Writing Skills

I sug­gest these con­sid­er­a­tions for any­one aspir­ing to become a great PR writer:

1. Write in Stream-of-Consciousness

Don’t stop. Finish your piece. You can always go back and take care of any details later.

2. Embrace Multiple Revisions

Even exper­i­enced writers are expec­ted to do count­less revi­sions, so don’t try to write a per­fect text in one go.

3. Always Take Notes

Unsure about how to spell a par­tic­u­lar word? Or do you need to double-check a source? Add a note and fix it later.

4. Start a Sandbox Blog

For instance, I use this blog to prac­tice writ­ing in English. Since people can see all my mis­takes, it pushes me to improve.

5. Be Free and Have Fun

Don’t let any edit­or put you down. Good edit­ors make you a bet­ter writer without feel­ing bad about yourself.

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

1 Creatives will feel good about them­selves when they see their crazy ideas coher­ently presen­ted; read­ers will under­stand what’s going on; your team mem­bers will repeatedly ask you to do more of what you do so well.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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