As PR professionals, we craft copy for clients daily. Bylines, white papers, media materials—these messages must be crisp, clear, and concise.
While everyone approaches writing with individualized flair, we all have the same goal: ensure your clients’ varied personalities shine through your storytelling while keeping copy tight. Here are ways to break the writing process into smaller pieces for efficiency and style.
Let it marinate
The day you get a new writing assignment, open that empty word doc. Jot in a working title. And spend no more than 10 minutes outlining your top objectives within this piece. Exercise free writing: type out a brain dump of your initial angle/approach. Then move on to something else. This does two things. First, it prevents procrastination. Second, your subconscious enjoys an opportunity to solve this writing challenge through the rest of your day. You might strike a eureka moment during your commute home, through conversations or in your downtime. Suddenly, you know the exact angle you want this piece of writing to take. Yet, all you did was open a document and jump-started your thinking.
Craft your messages
Go back to your initial free writing with a clear head. Now it’s time to weave in key messages, essential points, and jolts of creativity. Take this time to ensure you’ve covered all your main points. Then have fun with your style and word choice as you tell the story.
Once written, it’s time to hone and cut your piece. Check for redundancies and wordiness. Ensure it’s mostly in active tense not passive. And of course, make sure spelling and grammar are correct. Some tools that can help with the editing process include Grammarly and Hemmingway. Grammarly will point out improvements, grammar mistakes and more. Hemmingway trains you to write succinct sentences. It also reminds you to remove passive tense, weak adverbs and unnecessary words. While you don’t want to always rely on tools, they serve as useful reminders and can nudge you out of a bad habit.
When it comes to a new writing assignment, take it step-by-step. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Chunk the project into smaller pieces. Capitalize on free time to spark creative ideas. Writing can be one of the most creative and interesting parts of working in PR. Enjoy the challenge and evolve your writing skills with every project.
This article originally appeared on the SHIFT Communications blog; reprinted with permission.