Biz Tips: Writing What You Don’t Know

Biz Tips: Writing What You Don’t Know

Biz Tip:

Writing What You Don’t Know

Crumpled paper, coffee and a blank sheet of paper - an all too familiar indicator of writers block.

There’s an old saying in the literary community, “write what you know.” Ideally, writers across our industry—bloggers, content marketers, social media managers— would be able to follow that advice. But in reality, there will be more times than not that you are asked to cover a topic you have very little knowledge of or interest in. This doesn’t make you less-qualified, no one is an expert in everything. It would be impossible.

A diverse mix of projects fall into your lap as a PR professional, and you have to be able to execute them the best you can. Maybe a new client that specializes in high-tech medical equipment just came on your radar. Maybe you failed math in high school and were just asked to write about new accounting practices. Before you give up, remember: the topic won’t matter if you’re already a talented writer.

But how do you fake it ‘til you make it when it comes to these intimidating writing projects?

  • Do your research.Getting started is always the hardest part; use a quick Google search to get going. You can gather information from trade publications, read similar articles for inspiration, and identify facts and statistics that will strengthen your piece. You might even learn something! And being able to explain continuous covenant operations to your friends over dinner is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
  • Reach out to an expert. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go through your LinkedIn connections (maybe even some Facebook friends) and see if anyone happens to be an expert in your topic. Social media is your friend here. Industry experts can give you information that you might not have found on your own, helping you craft a unique and original piece.
  • Get a second or third (or fourth) opinion. Your research has no doubt helped you craft something you’re proud of, given the circumstances. But unfortunately, you are still not an expert. Have a trusted co-worker (or several) fact check and proofread your work. Your co-workers are there to support you and someone will likely be able to offer insight.

Writing is a skill like any other and it presents its own set of challenges. Remember to stay calm, ask questions, and trust in your ability as a writer. You may not always be able to write what you know, but at least you’ll know what to do.

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