I recently celebrated my first year at StoryLab and, in some ways, it’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since I joined.
By Erin Fox
It’s been a brilliant year; learning new things, picking up new skills, and I’m lucky to have been involved in telling some exciting stories that have gained widespread coverage. And while there’s still lots to learn, it’s probably a good time to reflect on six lessons I have learned this past year.
Working for a storytelling agency is certainly exciting. Because we work with so many different businesses, every day is different. There’s always new people to meet as well as something new to learn — and to write about.
It may seem like an obvious one for any kind of career, but something I’ve learned to appreciate more in the last year is that I’d be lost without my ‘to-do’ list. I make a list at the start of the week with everything I need to do —and in the order I need to do them— and tick things off once they’re done. But working in the media business isn’t that predictable and every day new tasks arise. Even if it’s something that will only take a couple of minutes to do, it’s better to write it down to ensure you don’t forget.
Read it. Read it again
When you’ve been working on a press release, a blog, or a newsletter for a few hours, you may think you know your work inside out. But even after you’ve edited your work, there could be a few small things you’ve missed. So, when you think you’re happy with the finished piece, whip out your red pen and slowly read each word to make sure your spelling and punctuation is perfect. (I will be doing that when I’ve finished writing this blog post!)
Ask more questions… and more
The best way to develop your interviewing skills is to ask more questions. You might get some great answers from your prepared set of questions and follow-ups, but later when you start writing, there could be one small detail missing that’s crucial to the whole story. One of the lessons I learned when I was studying journalism, is that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. So, if something is even just the slightest bit unclear, make sure that you ask that question. If you don’t understand it, how will your audience?
Measure results for bigger results
This applies to everything from the performance of social media posts, newsletters and analytics, to media reaction towards press releases, and feedback from my bosses. Like I said earlier, there’s always something new to learn, and comparing new results to old ones will only make you better at what you do.
Perhaps, one of the most important lessons in any new job is whether you enjoy what you do. Coming from a journalism and marketing background, joining StoryLab is my first time working with a storytelling agency, and I had high hopes when I started. A year on —it’s so much better than I could have hoped.