In Writing: An Essential Part of Being A Good PR Practitioners (1) I posted several days ago, I talked about the challenges for international students to be a good writer. In this post, I want to share what I learned from our programs which is helpful to improve your writing.
Lesson 1: know the standard of writing and obey it
I am sure that many international students are very good at English since it has become a required course in many countries. Many of them are “A” students in their own countries. Some of them are even English teachers in their own countries. However, the standard of English using is not and can never be 100% the same in the world. Since we are now in the United States, everything we say, we write and we present will be evaluated according to United States standards. It’s better for us to know the standard using of English here and obey it.
This rule applies not only in English using but also in PR writing. Many fellows are experienced PR practitioners and very good at PR writing. However, I heard complaints like “Why would I got a B for this assignment? I did it a lot when I was working and I did it well” more than ten times. People will think “Is there something wrong with my experience?” or ” Is there something wrong with the professor?” Maybe there is nothing wrong with either party. Your experience in PR is terrific. And your professor’s grade and comments make sense. Maybe, the only one thing that goes wrong is that you are following different standards. Something works in your countries might not work here. So know the standard of the United States and obey it is a first lesson and an essential lesson that should be learned by every international students who are dreaming to have their PR career in the United States.
Lesson 2: make sure that your writing is correct before it is good
Many international students, including me, are so desired to make our writing professional and good that we forgot we have to make it correct first. Typos, grammatical l errors are all mistakes that can be identified and corrected by ourselves. However, we pay so much attention to our content that we just blind ourselves in front of those mistakes. I am not saying that the content is not important. Instead, it is the soul of a writing. A writing cannot be good without good content. My point here is to remind myself and international students like me that we have to make sure that our writing contains no typos and grammatical errors. Every time you try to impress other with good content, that little typo will give you a big punch in the face.
Lesson 3: Make it simple and make it readable
The most important thing I learned here is that “A good PR writing is simple but readable. ” I used to have a myth about writing: a writing with complicated sentences and words less used by others is generally much better.” However, from writing workshop I learned that “the simpler the better”. In PR practicing, we are writing to delivery messages to our audiences. In most cases, our audiences are general public. If we used some obscure words and hiding our messages in complicated sentences, our audience may not be educated enough to identify them. Even though we are writing to Wall Street people, “make it simple” is still the rule we should follow because they don’t have patience to spend more than 3 minutes to follow every clue we provided in our writing to decode our messages. We should be very clear that PR is not about us, but about our audiences. If we make it too complicated to read, our audiences will go away to read something else. As Professor Noltenmeire said, ” Make it easy for your audiences. If you don’t, someone else will and your audiences will take his messages and ignore yours. “
There are still so much to learn to improve my writing, further to qualify myself to be a PR practitioner. Yes, for international students, there are so many challenges. But try to think it in a positive way, we have experienced and learned more cultures than others do. And what we observed and absorbed from our own countries may do us a great favor in PR practicing.