Today’s PRSA Dayton’s monthly lunch meeting featured a panel discussion on the topic of Creating Writing that Engages an Audience. The panel of experts included Val Beerbower, Jim Dillon, Norm Vallone, and Leigh Wilkins and was moderated by the always engaging Natasha Baker. The discussion lasted just over 30 minutes, with panelists fielding questions from both the moderator and the audience, and it was very insightful. Some of the tips and takeaways I got from the meeting included the following:
- Great writing often starts with research and a strong understanding of theme or purpose.
- The writing process is often messy and rarely easy, but persistence is the key to producing a great written piece.
- When you get stuck, get out and fill your brain. From taking a walk to reading “junk food” pop culture magazines, to reading the latest story from The Onion for a good laugh, don’t be afraid to step back, recharge, and then re-approach the task.
- Know the interests and needs of the audience.
- Understand the culture of the publication or client so that your writing is appropriate in voice and tone.
- Outline your work and start with the part of the outline that comes easiest. Often that is not the beginning.
- No matter what the topic, it matters and can be important to someone. Find that meaning and use it for inspiration.
- Writing is frequently a solitary act and it can be helpful to take breaks for social interaction with others.
- To get the wheels turning, try writing something silly or fun. Once your brain is warmed up then turn to the task at hand.
- Don’t fight about everything. Learn to push back when it matters and to sometimes concede with it does not.
- Writing often flows from experiences. Always be exploring new experiences and considering new concepts and then incorporate these elements into your work.
The event was informative and entertaining. I learned some things, was reminded of others, and spent time with friends and marketing colleagues from around the Dayton region. It proved to be a great way to spend my lunch hour. Thanks to PRSA Dayton for organizing the event and thanks to Natasha and the panelists for giving your time and sharing your knowledge.