PR Insights: My Best Career Advice

by Doktor Spinn on February 11, 2022

PR Insights: My Best Career Advice: writing copywriting advice

My best career advice for PR? Easy. Learn how to write. And how to do it quickly.

If you can write, and write fast, then you’ll probably never be useless. Putting things into words is a skill, make no mistake about it. And if you’re good at it, there will always be something that you can do.

Getting brilliant people into a room is one thing. Actually condensing what the heck they’re talking about on the screen, now that’s a different story altogether. The creatives will feel good about themselves when they see their crazy ideas coherently presented in words, the ones reading it will actually understand what’s going on and your team members will ask you to that thing that you do - again and again.

Somewhere in the process, you need a solid writer. And the good thing is, that you don’t need a lot of industry experience either. You could just go into a situation, listen and then ask the questions needed on behalf of the potential readers of the text, and with them in mind, put it all together. And since you’re a solid writer, you don’t just put it together, no, you make it sing.

Then add speed to the mix. This is the big differentiator. If you combine solid writing with speed, then you’re golden. Waiting for inspiration? That’s amateur hour.

This has nothing to do with placing your fingers right on the keyboard. No, this all comes down to having a line of thought and going with it. Most people make the mistake of thinking about each and every sentence before they start thinking of the next one. They build sentence on sentence and after a long hard while when the text is done, it makes absolutely no sense.

Instead you should just keep writing. If you have to stop, then you probably have issues with your text. You are probably not sure about what you want to say. And that is a problem. Deal with it by stop writing and start thinking - in essence, what are you trying to explain and where would be a good place to start? Then, when you’re clear on what you want to say, start writing again - from the beginning.

Hopefully, you’ve now learned to never do that same mistake again. Because if you start writing without knowing what you want to say, then you must stop writing and start over, which of course is nothing but a waste of time. If you stop, you fail.

So you start writing and you force yourself to write fast. Personally, I like to really hammer my poor keyboard, just to show who’s boss. And I don’t stop, because I’ve learnt not to put my fingers to the keyboard before I know what I want to say. And then I go at it and I don’t quit until I’m done.

Is the writing then perfect, you wonder? No, by all means no. It isn’t. But revising is best done afterwards. But magic? That stuff goes into the text in the first draft. Drafting and revising is nothing but labor, even though I know a lot of people mistake this to be creative work. But anyone can go into a text and add stuff, or provide feedback on it, but getting something down on paper out of thin air is like painting the first strokes on a canvas. It differentiates the hack from the genius.

And when you’ve gotten something on paper, suddenly everyone wants to be a part of the process. Because now there’s something to work with, to add or subtract to. But the real beauty, the real bravery lies in stepping up to that blank canvas and really painting the picture you want the world to see. Since this is creative work, you won’t know exactly how the finished product will look, but you knew what you wanted to portray.

Those who can’t do what you can do will probably ask you to just “write down what we’ve been saying”. Those who understand the worth of your skill will keep you close always and compensate by allowing you access to their experience, knowledge and their networks. Those who don’t will be dependent on you without knowing exactly why and also - they will have no clue on how your words is actually becoming a factor of influence.

And if you learn this, you’ll become member of a small but elite club of writers. We know what it takes to write, and the pains it took us to get to the level we’re at. We never feel like fake professionals hustling our way to the professional landscape, simply because we feel that we have earned ourself a skill.

As for the PR industry in particular?

There’s always someone who must write that e-mail. Who must write that strategy. That proposal. That pitch. Those meeting notes. Those press releases. Those opinion pieces. If that person is you, then you’ll be forced to understand to a full extent what the heck you’re writing, and then just like that, with some solid hours hammering away on your computer, your not-so-fond-of-writing-peers in the industry will be eating your dust, while you’re handing out strategic advice to CEOs of A-list companies.

PR Insights: My Best Career Advice: writing copywriting advice
  • Tweets that mention PR Insights: My Best Career Advice — Doktor Spinn —

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jerry Silfwer, Haris Cejvan. Haris Cejvan said: PR Insights: My Best Career Advice [...]

  • Petya N. Georgieva

    Completely agree. The skill to be a good writer is the fundamental requirement to be a good PR pro.

  • Doktor Spinn

    Thank you for your comment, Petya!

  • Petya N. Georgieva

    You are welcome :) I shared your post in the Professional Public Relations Group on Diigo, would be great if you take a look at it :)

    More info you can find here:


  • Doktor Spinn

    Thanks, I’m actually ahead of you - I’ve already requested to join! Great idea with a bookmarking site for PR, I’ll make sure to tell my PR friends about it! :)

  • mr.peg

    your “advice” really moved me…
    I’m not a “natural born pr” but ‘ve started “to pay for myself”, a few decades from now, as translator (fron english and french, I’m italian) and as a ghost writer..
    It’s surprising to see how rare are the colleagues confident with the type of skills you describe
    I kept this little treasure with me and it’s amazing how useful it has been in my professional life; it may sound ridicolous to many but my biggest proudness is when my wife asks for my support…
    Now I know that I need to keep on training, skills are like trees: they need no more than some drops of water but they need it every day…..
    Grazie di cuore e un caro saluto

  • Jasper

    So now I’m getting links to this post from all over the place - it’s a small online world :) Anyways, great piece. It shows you’re the right man to give advice on this!

    I will see to it your blog gets added to the PR Hamster directory as well.

  • Doktor Spinn

    Great directory! I’ll make sure to spread the world to the Nordic PR community!

    And thanks - sharing is caring! :)

  • Doktor Spinn

    Great directory! I’ll make sure to spread the world to the Nordic PR community!

    And thanks - sharing is caring! :)

  • Doktor Spinn

    Thank you for your sincere comment, mrpeg! Writers unite! :)

  • Doktor Spinn

    Thank you for your sincere comment, mrpeg! Writers unite! :)

  • PR Career Advice: ‘If You Can Write, and Fast, You’ll Probably Never Be Useless’ - MediaJobsDaily

    [...] PR consultant Jerry Silfwer has just one piece of advice for aspiring PR practitioners. [...]

  • Miriam

    I agree writing is essential in PR however you imply anyone can do it and that it should be done quickly. Wrong. You miss the many elements of style required for superior writing as well as an innate voice, not to mention the study of proper grammar. God knows the internet is filled with mediocre writing and it should not be encouraged.

    You imply the editing and rewriting is a mere chore which requires no creative processing. Completely wrong. I suspect you wrote this very quickly which explains the many grammatical errors and sloppy use and knowledge of fundamentals. (Check “Elements of Style” for proper comma usage as well as sentence fragments, for a start. )

    “Is the writing then perfect, you wonder?” << this is a statement, not a question and although it implies the reading is asking a question it requires no question mark. And if the comma is to be used properly, it goes before AND after "then" to separate it it as a clause. This is just one short sentence with two errors.

    What you have written could have benefitted from a copy editor. It would never have gone to copy like this if I were the publisher. I am not trying to be mean. It is a very good first draft. The irony is in the message and the fact that this is poorly written.

    I could go on …. and on … but I am just hammering things out.

  • Doktor Spinn

    Thank you for your comment, Miriam. To begin with, English isn’t my native tongue. I could be a spectacular writer in Swedish, right? I mention this only because I think it would be sad if someone gave less weight to my advice for the PR industry because of your comment.

    Also, when it comes to my private blogging, I just love to write and I never edit afterwards. As long as I get the message through, I see my blogging as putting urls on my thoughts - as drafts for people to elaborate on in the comment field.

    Yes, if I’d gone over the text once or twice, it would have been better for sure. But I think the text does what it’s supposed to do. And I kind of like the idea of it getting through to people without copy editing. Sort of to my point, right?

    I don’t know how it works for other industries, but in PR it’s a lot easier to find people who can criticize a text, but very difficult to find young talent who can create from a blank page. Maybe because language police officers in general aren’t very compatible with the role as consultants, I don’t know.

  • Miriam

    Fair enough ~

  • Paul

    I agree with your advice. I’m in a completely different field, but it’s the same idea. People who can represent the flow of ideas of a room full of creatives in diagrams and concepts will direct the work and make sense of chaos.

  • Anonymous

    Word! It’s all about how it’s received not how it sent. Look at the traditional media, where you often want to be published, their language is seldom the best.

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