For the digital storyteller who wants to reach an audience, to make your work stand out in the crowded field, good writing is a key element of creation.
Sure, flashy graphics catch the attention. But well-crafted sentences built around interesting ideas will hold it.
Of course, language evolves. To my great relief, we no longer speak in Early English (apologies to Chaucer). The hip phrases of our grandparents’ youth are antiquated and irrelevant (Anyone for a breakfast of “Goo and the Moo”?).
But some things remain for the writer or journalist who is hoping to reach a broad audience:
- Correct capitalization and spelling.
- Periods, commas, and apostrophes in the right spots.
- Sentences that express complete. (Gotcha!)
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to read poorly written blog posts on professional sites; for what it’s worth, this Communications pro (and former educator) believes that good writing can be learned and that those who want to make a living (or even just a hobby) from the written word can and should be trained in the practice.
Good writing goes beyond the mechanics, it’s a blend of equal parts imagination and technical skill with a healthy dash of willingness to improve, and development is ongoing. In the past, knowing APA, being a good writer, and finding the story was enough. Now, with ever-evolving technology, best practices continue to change, and the practitioner must change with it. Forbes Communications Council member Mandy Dhaliwal says, “It’s essential for every brand to convey a strong, succinct message and craft stories that resonate with people and invoke action. Good writing is a difficult skill to cultivate, so it’s important to focus on it now” (14 Critical Skills, 2021, para.16).
Finally, the writer who’s in journalism, blogging, or PR needs to identify the angle that makes it interesting and audience-focused. “Modern twenty-first-century media audiences have demonstrated quite clearly they are unwilling to be passive; they demand to be active participants in what they read, listen to, watch, comment on, and even pass along to others (Kolodzy, 2012, p.3). We want to arouse their curiosity. Fill a need. Know why we are telling this story. And most of all, tell it well.
14 critical skills all communications professionals should be cultivating. (2021, November 12). Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2021/11/12/14-critical-skills-all-communications-professionals-should-be-cultivating/?sh=cd0fb0928720
Kolodzy, J. (2012). Practicing Convergence Journalism. Taylor & Francis. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781136222825