From press releases to e-mails, from memos to media plans, strong writing is a key to being successful in Public Relations.  And for those PR professionals wondering how to improve their writing skills, part of that answer is quite simple: read more! 

For those of us who already love reading, as well as for those who want some motivation to read more frequently, a new happiness study commissioned by the UK Department for Culture, Media & Sport finds some good news: Going to the library gives people the same kick as getting a raise. 

Here’s why you should take a trip to your local library and pick up a good book, magazine, or newspaper:

Improves vocabulary

Whether you are reading fact or fiction, you’re sure to come across a few new words.  When you do, take the time to look them up and digest their meaning and how it’s used in the context of the sentence you’re reading.  Each day, PR pros are challenged with coming up with new and exciting ways to describe events and initiatives that their clients are involved in.  In pitches, a strong vocabulary is crucial because it can make the content come alive, and with jazzy words (that are still appropriate), a reporter is more likely to show interest.

Improves spelling, grammar, and style

Seeing the appropriate way to spell words and use punctuation can help you avoid grammar missteps in the future.  Put simply, a reporter is less likely to respond to a pitch that has poor grammar.  It minimizes the source’s (your) credibility, so be sure to read over those e-mails twice!  The same goes for press releases – your client will be impressed when you draft a well-written press release with correct grammar and sentences that flow. Tying back to my first point about vocabulary, be sure to make that press release come alive by combining your flawless grammar with some vocabulary that truly make people want to read more.

Sparks creativity & inspiration

You can’t deny when you read about someone doing something really cool and innovative, it gives you motivation to get out there and take action too.  As a PR pro, it’s important to constantly present new ideas to your clients and colleagues… it’s imperative that we stay fresh, current, and unique, and reading can help get the creative juices flowing. Reading everything from fiction to news articles can jumpstart your brain and help you come up with creative ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Reading the news every day allows you to put your finger on what people are talking about, and in turn, helps you think of innovative ways to insert your client into conversations, positioning them as thought leaders.   

So, this weekend, after you take your trip to the library, hunker down on a cozy couch or get outside in the sun and open a book…your writing skills will thank you!