Why Have PRs Stopped Writing?

What is going on out there? More and more often, we’re faced with incredible communications consultants who just aren’t writing.

This is not cool.

But it is pervasive – this anti-writing trip. When last did you receive a hand written note? As lovely and romantic as writing can be, the personal note (or rather the lack thereof) is something we can do little about with email and smartphones making this sort of effort redundant and hard on the eyes (yes, I’ve seen your scribble – it’s only marginally neater than mine).

Professional writing (again, or rather the lack thereof), however, is turning into my newest bug bear. In order to be the best we can be, communications specialists need to write more. And read more. And write more. And then read more… er… some more.

I love writing. I blog – often – on a personal platform. I contribute to the FleishmanHillard blog when an idea hits me or a bug bear needs airing. Quite happily on a professional level, I have recently moved onto a client that requires more writing that I was asked to deliver on past clients and I’m positively loving it. Writing begets writing. It’s a beautiful thing. More importantly, it’s an important thing.

Writing about your clients is probably the only way to truly understand them. Sure, you can read brochures, past press releases, trawl through research papers… that’s all fine and dandy.

But, speaking to your spokespeople to gather insights, transcribing these thoughts and turning them into stories gives you a comprehensive understanding as to what your client’s spokespeople are all about and what makes them tick. It solidifies relationships and garners respect. If your spokespeople are good at what they do, all it’ll take is a couple of hours each month to stay on top of roadmaps, the latest trends and how they translate to your client’s stakeholders and audiences as well as the all-important company messaging with an in person guide helping you de-mystify it all.

I can’t remember the last time I hired a new team mate and was blown away by their writing submissions. On the flipside you have consultants who are experienced, staggeringly creative and fantastic at client management and to opt out on access to this kind of skill set just because they don’t write would be sinful. I just wish more of our peers would find their passion for the written word.

There’s nothing quite like seeing an article you brainstormed and conceptualised, a story you wrote with your own little fingers, feature verbatim in a daily paper or magazine. True, for the most part, this content would be attributed to a staff writer or even a named journalist but you’ll know… and they’ll know… but you’ll know and there’s something about the feeling you have when that happens that is just difficult to describe.

I urge all consultants reading this today to challenge themselves and give it a try.

Written by Andrea Slater