In roughly one month, I’ll be halfway finished with my Master’s Degree in Professional Communication. I never thought I would attend graduate school in a city like San Francisco during my undergraduate studies at a small college in Pennsylvania. A few years later and 2,500 miles away from my hometown, I’m exactly where I want to be as a grad student in one of the best cities in the world.
I was hired as the Content Editor Intern for articles such as these ones shortly after I started this program. Anybody who checked out our content would have seen articles on guest speakers at USF, news in the communications industry, and various pieces from the wonderful MAPC students.
The diverse backgrounds of our students gives this graduate program an opportunity to share the voices and interesting perspectives of the individuals who make the USF community special. Hopefully, we provided content that has been useful to both students and working professionals. In these modern times, and especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, effective communication is everything.
Since finals are rapidly approaching for me and my classmates, I felt that now is a good time to share how I developed my voice as a content editor for my graduate program.
“Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, . . . “
Anybody who has heard of Friday Night Lights should be able to fill in the rest of that phrase.
From the start of this internship, I learned to keep my eyes open and clear in order to stay focused on our goals. We want to give you content that is helpful and informative in the scope of communication-related industries. If we don’t actually care about what we write, then we wouldn’t expect others to spend time reading our articles.
Regardless of the amount of clicks an article generates, I can’t lose if my writing reflects my interests and passions. Sure, I want you to enjoy my writing, but I only hit “publish” if the piece achieves my vision. With a dedicated approach, we stay open to anything we feel is interesting in order to reflect the eclectic academic and professional community that surrounds San Francisco.
This graduate program isn’t only concerned with effective communication; we also care about staying true to our inspirations. The students who contribute to our media group write features that reflect their interests. If we don’t write about the topics we genuinely care about, then the material will come across as manufactured and pointless. One of the greatest things about professional communication is that it can relate to almost any industry or organization, so we have the opportunity to cover a wide array of fields.
If you’re familiar with any of my work, you know I love sports. I’ve written articles on the Golden State Warriors, Magic Johnson, and the President of the Oakland A’s throughout the past year. Each article contains different themes, but all of them offer valuable perspectives on the practices of leaders who foster authentic communication from open dialogue with their audiences. The best communication comes from those who truly care about the people who have a stake in the differences they make.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
I love reading articles or books from authors who display true passion for their subject. When I search news on the A’s or the Warriors, I seek out stories that provide a fresh take or something else of value. A lot of the sports news I come across exists as tiny event recaps that don’t offer much to chew on. However, I sometimes find sportswriters who offer a new perspective for an upcoming playoff series or an interesting scoop on a key player. These are the types of authors who know that audiences desire more than the bare minimum.
Readers who seek content online need to have a reason to click on the article and come back for that author’s next piece. Writing about your interests is only half of effective content creation. Authors need to consider what their audience wants and expects in regards to the publication’s focus.
For example, I wrote an article this past November on a panel at USF about career tips from employees of top Bay Area companies. Out of all of my articles, this one drew the largest audience. I didn’t expect that to happen, but the article’s success was the result of the right information for the right audience. People will notice your content if it is focused in a way that’s enjoyable for you to write and valuable for audiences to read.