For those of you who don’t know, I LOVE LinkedIn. It is by far the most intellectually stimulating social media platform out there. And really awesome for networking.
Anyway, I was recently asked by one of my connections, Sarah Dilahlwane Makwele, to share a bit about my career journey, and I thought I’d share an excerpt with you guys here. You can read the whole interview over on her blog here.
SDM: Explain what your career field entails.
PG: I am a corporate storyteller; a specialist writer working in the public relations (PR) industry. I use the power of plain language to help increase a brand or business’s profile and visibility, and communicate their value and purpose to all stakeholders.
Without industry jargon and sloganeering, I help to establish company leaders as thought leaders, or companies as leaders in their industry; showcasing the brand’s heritage, the business’s expertise, and the legacy they want to leave.
Sharing authentic, engaging stories about how a company has impacted the lives of staff, customers, communities, and society at large is an incredibly effective way to garner positive public sentiment, and build trust.
Corporate storytelling runs the gamut from social media posts and press releases, to editorials (profile feature articles, thought leadership, op-eds), advertorials, blog posts, web copy, brochures, newsletters, company magazines, executive biographies, keynote speeches, presentations, as well as internal communications.
SDM: What were some of the challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
PG: I didn’t start my writing career in the PR industry. I actually cut my teeth on magazine feature writing and newspaper journalism… Making the transition from feature writing and journalism to ghostwriting in the PR space was a little challenging, I won’t lie. Seeing a CEO or MD or some another senior executive’s byline on a piece you have conceptualised and researched and written, and watching them take full credit for what are essentially your words and ideas can be tough! But that’s the nature of the PR writing beast. You have to be prepared to check your ego at the door in order to let your client shine. That is what they’re paying you for after all.
SDM: How would you advise someone interested in your choice of career?
PG: Corporate storytelling is a specialised field of writing. It goes without saying you need to be a highly competent and versatile wordsmith; creative, detail oriented, and deadline driven, with strong copy editing, proofreading, and desk and field research skills. In my opinion, a lot of this stuff cannot be taught. It has to be learned. Which basically entails months and years of on-the-job practice. Honing your craft one word, one sentence, one paragraph at a time.
I think the beauty of writing as a career is that it doesn’t have an expiry date. English as a lingua franca means that quality writing is an internationally sought-after skill, especially for clients with a global presence. And thanks to technology, more and more companies are offering remote (work from home) opportunities for full-time, salaried writers.
If you are a professional writer, you need to have a centralised web presence, somewhere for you to build your online portfolio, and showcase your growing expertise… If you don’t have your own website [like this], there are several portfolio platforms, specifically for writers, from which to choose. You could also create a portfolio (business) page on Facebook, or a publicly accessible portfolio board on Pinterest.