By Nancy Marshall, The PR Maven® 

The Power of Putting Pen to Paper: How to Use Writing to Build Your Brand

  • Making writing a regular part of your morning routine can inspire new ways of thinking — and might even encourage you to do other kinds of brand-building writing throughout your day.
  • It’s never too late to brush up on your handwriting! Take the time to work on your writing skills so your letters and notes make a good impression.
  • If you decide to take your writing to the next level by putting together a book to support your brand or business, consider hiring an editor or book coach to help you with the process.

For Christine Richards, a love of handwritten notes began in second grade. With her mother’s encouragement, Christine sat down on the staircase — using one step as a seat and another as her writing surface — and penned thank you notes to her grandparents for Christmas gifts.

“I was just fascinated to think that you could actually write something, put it in an envelope and send it [where they lived] five or six [hours] away,” Christine says on Episode 128 of The PR Maven Podcast. “I was really quite amazed that it would work. And it did! And I’ve been writing ever since.”

From the personal to the professional, Christine’s love for writing letters has been a theme throughout her life. She put pen to paper years ago as a nervous daughter-in-law trying to connect with her new husband’s parents. She continues to send handwritten thank you cards to people she interacts with or learns from on the job. In fact, I can vouch for Christine as a wonderful pen pal — we’ve been exchanging letters for the last five years!

A graphic designer by trade, Christine has leveraged her passion for all things handwritten into many special projects. She coaches aspiring book authors as the founder of Composition1206, encourages people to share the love of letter writing through Postmark1206 and even wrote a book called “A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice.”

Christine is proof that writing letters — and books! — can be an effective tool for building a personal brand, and she wants to spread that message to others.

The Power of Putting Pen to Paper: How to Use Writing to Build Your BrandWrite it down: Your words support your brand

Writing handwritten notes and letters is more than just good manners. It’s also a way to show people who you are and what you’re all about! It demonstrates to your professional contacts, colleagues and even potential mentors that you’ve taken the time to connect with them in a medium that’s a bit more demanding than email or text.

“It helps them to remember you because people don’t get a lot of mail,” Christine says. “It can make an impression on people because it’s unexpected.”

Using your expertise to write books can also be key to developing your brand, a concept that has inspired Christine to coach authors in her work at Composition1206. No matter what you’re writing, you can use your words to make a splash and tell people who you are.

Keep reading for Christine’s thoughts on how to work writing into your life and how to use writing (of all kinds!) for brand-building.

1. Start your day with writing

Inspired by Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” Christine encourages people to spend time every morning writing in longhand. “The Artist’s Way” calls this habit “Morning Pages,” and instructs practitioners to write at least three pages to start every day, even if you start with “I’m not sure what to write about,” it will help you get started.

Whether you decide to experiment with Morning Pages or simply begin a practice of writing a short note to a loved one when you wake up, Christine is a big believer in beginning the day with pen and paper.

“Writing by hand can help us sort things out,” she says. “It’s a different thinking practice.”

Making writing a more regular part of your routine might just inspire you to use it in your business in new ways too.

2. Practice your handwriting

One of the reasons that Christine wrote “A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice” was to help reawaken the lost art of writing in cursive! With our increased reliance on email and word processing, many of us have forgotten the handwriting skills we learned in school… and many kids today can’t read cursive.

Christine’s book offers a refresher for your cursive skills. It includes step-by-step writing instructions and practical tips to help you improve. It even features a list of people you might consider writing a snail mail letter to!

Practicing your handwriting will do more than just make your notes and letters look good. If you’re sending mail to professional contacts, it will also ensure that you leave a positive impression.

3. Ask for editing help

Christine likes to think of a non-fiction book as an expanded version of a brochure that can introduce clients and other people in your industry to the work you do. If you’re up for the challenge, writing a book can be a great asset to your brand and a major boost to your credibility.

But here’s the thing — if your book is going to be a representation of your personal brand, you want it to be as close to perfect as possible before you release it to the masses. This is where a good book coach or editor comes in! These kinds of services can help you develop your ideas, keep you on track with the writing process and ensure that your final product isn’t swimming with spelling and grammatical errors.

“If you’re writing [a book] for your business, what you’re trying to do is leave a good impression,” Christine says. “The best way to do that is to have an editor look at it. Then, you’ll end up with something that is worth reading, that looks good. You waste a lot of time if you don’t get the help you need.”

And don’t forget to write your editor a thank you note when you’re finished!

This is based on episode 128 of The PR Maven® Podcast, a podcast hosted by Nancy Marshall. Weekly interviews feature industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers to give listeners a peek into the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding. Subscribe through Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.