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PR Career Advice for Young Professionals

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

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

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 about 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 become a member of 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 … 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.

ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
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 the things you do so well.

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Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://www.doctorspin.net/
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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