Article by Lizzy Peper | esPResso Committee Chair
As a future public relations professional, the ability to self-edit pitches, press releases and stories is a vital skill. Making sure to use proper spelling, grammar and sentence construction when writing assignments can make you stand out to your clients, co-workers and boss. These three timeless tips are helpful to keep in mind.
1. Turn visual into auditory to check your work.
Nicole Knoebel, a senior and co-editor in chief of Her Campus Marist, suggests reading your own work out loud in order to hear any errors you may have skimmed over. “When you write something, you get attached to it and can’t see your own errors. Reading something out loud makes any mistakes you make more obvious, and it’s easier to catch them,” she says. A PR Daily article titled “25 tips to punch up your writing” suggests the same technique and explains “there’s no substitute for reading your words with your ears as well as your eyes.”
2. When in doubt, refer to the AP Stylebook.
If you haven’t had to buy an Associated Press Stylebook for one of your public relations classes, you may want to purchase one on your own. Knoebel says, “It’s so much better to double check than to make a mistake that’s so easily avoidable.” Journalists and public relations professionals alike find the book a useful tool to refer back to when questions come up about the format and spelling of certain words and sentences. Marist Circle Managing Editor and journalism major Katie O’Brien shares that, “Journalists don’t have every aspect of AP Style memorized, and the book is the greatest asset.”
3. Back away from the computer and pick up the pen.
Take a step away from the keyboard and grab a pen to make any last minute adjustments. “I always print things and edit them with pen! It’s the teacher in me, but it helps if I see it off of a computer screen,” says Marissa Russo, the other co-editor in chief of Her Campus Marist. This is also a helpful suggestion for writer’s block. Sometimes taking a break from typing to write by hand allows ideas to flow more freely.