Guest blogger Amanda Paxton is the Public Relations Specialist at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington. She graduated from the Manship School of Mass Communication in 2012 with a concentration in public relations, and minors in business administration and history. In August of 2015, she earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Kent State University. Before working at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, Amanda was the Legislative Assistant for Louisiana State Representative Tim Burns in Mandeville.
In public relations, writing is the tool we use most. Whether is it a press release, annual report, journal article or social media post, we are writing all of the time. This is why the importance of being good writers, understanding grammar and learning AP Style is ingrained in us throughout our time in school.
However, something we all need to understand is that none of us is perfect. Whether we have been writing for one year or 25 years, we all make mistakes, which is why editing is so important. Reading and re-reading our work is necessary throughout a career. This applies to articles, press releases, social media posts and anything else a professional creates. All of these outlets affect the organizations that we represent as public relations professionals.
Often we edit a piece so many times that we start to get lost in the words. If this is the case for you, take a step back from the piece before looking at it again. Work on something else, get some water or take a short walk. Do something to clear your brain and rest your eyes. It can also be helpful to read a piece from back to front. This breaks the piece up in a different way and stops you from skimming the page because you already know what it is going to say.
A fresh set of eyes is also an excellent way to ensure your work is well written. In school you become accustomed to having others read over your work, edit and offer opinions. When entering the working world, you may feel that you should be a perfect writer and no longer need help. This isn’t the case. When you graduate, you are a better writer than you were as a freshman, but you will still make mistakes and there will be room for improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss or coworker to read your work. In most cases they will appreciate that you want to ensure the work is well written and will likely ask you to reciprocate.
Always strive to be a better writer and public relations professional. Read books, attend classes and practice what you do. The only way to get better at something is to practice, so write as often as you can and do what you can to constantly improve.