I’m a TV news girl.
Not only do I prefer television and cable to get my dose of daily news, I used to be one of those reporters talking into the camera.
That was a long time ago, when I was in my 20s. But my broadcast training and background are ingrained in me.
Occasionally, it gets in the way of my writing, like right now.
I think visually about everything. My brain immediately defaults to how photos, video, audio and other images can help tell my story.
Today, journalists, bloggers and all variations of content creators must be able tell their stories in all formats.
But this transition isn’t always easy. Here are some lessons I’ve learned to help my inner print chick.
1. Make it conversational
Your writing needn’t always be formal. I used to be so concerned with dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” that my original thought or point would get buried. It’s important to be grammatically correct, but don’t sacrifice your creativity. Try to imagine you’re speaking with a friend and tell him or her what happened, why it’s important, why it matters, and what’s next.
2. Embrace the broadcaster in you
No need to let go of your past. Go ahead and tap into your broadcast side. Use photos, infographics, or charts to move your story along. There’s no denying that people react favorably to visuals, so mix it up and include a compelling image to keep your audience engaged.
3. Find a good editor friend
No matter how clever of a writer you become, you still need another set of eyes to look over your work. Identify an experienced editor who you trust and who gets your writing style. Have them review your material and make sure they know the audience you’re writing for. Then trust their red pen.
4. Don’t label and limit yourself
Though you may be a natural in front of a camera or behind a mic, it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful utilizing other forms of reporting. You obviously have a knack for communication. Transfer those broadcast media skills to blogging, content marketing, and print outlets. New media platforms are popping up every day and as journalists, we must adapt our expertise to industry trends.
5. Don’t be your worst critic
Once you’re done, take a second look at your work. Be careful not to be too hard on yourself. Also, don’t give up or toss it even if you don’t like what you see. The way to becoming a better writer is to keep writing!
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Brett Savage-Simon is PR Newswire’s director of audience relations and was a television reporter in her former life. Follow her @savsimon.