Five top tips for young writers and content creators

PRWeek news editor Frank Washkuch gives five tips for young content creators in today's digital world.

If the cold weather isn’t enough of a reminder, it’s still the start of the year. And, if we’re being honest, we could all use a few New Year’s resolutions to replace the two or three that have already gone away with the first flip of the calendar. With that in mind, here are a few tips from someone who has witnessed the industry change drastically over the past decade-plus.

That was ages ago in the media world – when print newspapers still appeared to be a viable career and the Internet was novel. While some lessons have evolved, others are just as timely as they were 10 years ago – and they are applicable to communicators or content creators, as well.

1. Write clearly – and get to the point. That is still the best advice I have ever received from a teacher. Today, it’s even more important, as readers have more "snackable" choices.

2. Be open to new ideas and technologies. More than six years ago, I would’ve bet you a hefty sum that Twitter was just a flash in the pan – and I’d be much poorer for it. Other social platforms are sure to emerge, so keep an open mind. Today, Twitter is a media type in and of itself, not to mention a public company worth keeping a close eye on.

3. Be organized and curious. Long gone are the days of late-arriving – or perhaps hungover – journalists getting a delayed start on the day and working on lax deadlines. Today, the websites that start early ahead of their competitors are most likely to win eyeballs.

This isn’t just a lesson for media types. With the emergence of newsjacking, staffers of all kinds who are knowledgable about up-to-date events have a leg up on their colleagues.

4. Jacks of all trades win the day. I would advise any young writer to sharpen their visual chops alongside a devotion to The AP Stylebook. Every day the world becomes more image-driven, so develop those photo-taking and editing skills alongside the copy.

5. Who dares wins. One thing that has not changed, but become more true than ever in the minute-to-minute news cycle, is that the more aggressive source-makers and tip-chasers are still king and queen. Journalism and media consumption are even less for the faint of heart than they were a decade ago.

Frank Washkuch is news editor of PRWeek. He can be contacted at frank.washkuch@prweek.com.

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