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13 Nov 2015

Rite gooder press releases please

We all know that if you can’t write well, you won’t be of much use in the marketing and communications industry.

That’s why our profession is so important. The ability to communicate truthfully and effectively helps organizations immensely.

Which brings me to the Calgary Mustangs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The Mustangs are not playing well. In sports, that often ends with the firing of the head coach, which is exactly what happened.

That’s nothing out of the ordinary, and the team issued a press release announcing the news.

But, hoo-boy. Check out this press release:

 

 

Passive voice? Check. Grammatical errors? Check. Driving the team bus over the players? Check.

The Mustangs would have been wise to hire a seasoned communications professional. 

But just because we’re in the communications profession doesn’t mean we’re all good writers. We all can be better, and keeping those skills honed is important for our careers.

So how do we remain proficient? Here are some strategies I use to keep my writing skills well oiled:

Read
This one seems obvious, but it must be said. I read books, newspapers, blogs and more. Reading – whether it’s fiction or non-fiction – helps your brain and your communication skills. I often get new ideas from simply reading news articles.

Keep text messages and emails clean
I know texting has made it easier to communicate quickly, but I can’t stand abbreviated texts. “How r u?” is a text I will never send. The same goes for emails. The emails I send always contain complete sentences. Doing this forces me into the habit of writing in complete sentences.

Research lyrics
OK, nerd alert: In a song, the music is the wave and the lyrics are the surfboard, and I pay attention to both. I often look closely at lyrics to a song to find the meaning of the song and discover the songwriter’s creativity. This feeds my own creativity. I highly recommend bookmarking songfacts.com. You’re welcome.

These strategies keep me proficient. Just because I have a job in communications doesn’t mean I need to stop practicing my writing. Do Air Force bomber pilots only fly their planes when they need to drop a bomb?*

So make sure your writing has a constant beating heart. Otherwise, you might find yourself sending news releases with passive aggressive sentences for the Calgary Mustangs. 

And the word nerds among us will weep.

*No, they don’t.