Pat Newson leads the content writing team here at WorkTango. In this employee spotlight, she tells us all about her journey, what characteristics make a good content writer, when she knows she is in “the zone” and closes it out with a few little-known facts about herself.
Keep reading to find out what it’s like being a content writer here at WorkTango.
When did your writing journey begin and when did it start with WorkTango?
Pat’s writing journey began over 30 years ago after finishing her degree in journalism. She held multiple management positions in marketing, communications, and advertising, eventually working her way to director-level roles before making the move to freelancing and contract work. Her writing has taken her from multi-national corporations to grassroots not-for-profits, manufacturers, performing and visual art institutions, as well as municipal and federal governments before finally arriving at WorkTango.
She began working with WorkTango as an external content writer but joined the team full-time in 2021 largely because she is passionate about the HR and employee engagement space we operate in, and wanted to do her part in helping organizations listen to their employees.
“I liked what I was seeing from WorkTango, their philosophy and that they truly live what they preach. It’s a full-spectrum solution that supports everyone to be their best, not just managers.”
Pat’s passion for the HR space oozes in her writing. It comes from a caring place of wanting everyone to enjoy their work just that little bit more. Since joining the team, Pat has helped take WorkTango’s content to the next level by streamlining the writing process, increasing overall output, and playing a key role in content creation, topic discovery and research.
What does a typical week entail?
Like any good writer, Pat spends a lot of her time thinking, researching and collecting information about a variety of topics. This is so that she can write compelling pieces that are factual, thoughtful, colorful, and capture the attention of potential new clients. For example, her work on our Guide to Employee Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Surveys took time to get exactly right, but checks all the boxes and generates lots of inquiries. If you want to check it out, download it here.
“It’s about 50% research and 50% writing content.”
Writing simple, short format pieces can bring on a whole new set of challenges. At times content has to be taken in different directions in order to link it back to the core offering and regularly involves disseminating and writing advanced technical functionality in layman’s terms. Pat looks at topics from all angles and focuses on creating stories that are easy to follow and address HR pain points, trends and timely issues. During a typical week when Pat is not heads-down in researching or writing, she’s attending more meetings than she’s typically used to as a freelancer.
“I like the meetings I find myself attending. There’s great comradery here that doesn’t waste my time or take away much from my day, but actually, enhances it.”
What is your writing process like? When do you know you’re in “the zone”?
Pat’s writing process typically encompasses four steps to get her ready to put her fingers to the keyboard:
- Conducting preliminary research and documenting relevant information for future reference.
- Color-coding information by reference or resource for easy navigation, highlighting pertinent details.
- Create a structure of how the content will flow, identifying subheadings or themes and what will be covered in each of these sections. “It’s like putting together a puzzle”
- Then the writing begins. Pat’s writing process lends itself well to helping her get in “the zone.” All the preliminary work is complete before beginning to write; so, when the time comes, the words can flow like fish in a river.
Now, any experienced content writer knows what it feels like when they’re in “the zone” For Pat,
“Being in the zone comes from the belly, it’s a physical feeling that’s difficult to describe. You just know what you want to say, and it flows. It’s like the words are channeled through me to the keyboard.”
When in “the zone”, she loses herself and will sometimes miss out on appointments, phone calls, or even lunch! Pat confesses she has a sign on her home office door that reads “gone thinking” to help prevent disruptions and admits to being hyper-focused while “in the zone”.
What do you enjoy most about your job as a Content Writer?
“I love the people and the culture here, I’m not sure which one came first!”
Pat enjoys her colleagues and believes everyone truly lives WorkTango’s virtues day in and day out. It permeates throughout the organization, feeding a team that lives and breathes improving (work) lives, including, she says, “those of each other.”
Great people create a great culture and according to Pat, the team is full of exceptional people who are down-to-earth, playful, dedicated, and smart. There are no politics, bureaucracy, nasty leaders or red tape. We’re built on a foundation of collaboration, support, respect and thoughtfulness. Department silos? Not at WorkTango.
“We are a people-centric organization and it’s reflected in the way we treat each other and everyone we come into contact with.”
It’s a great way to operate a company and it’s what Pat enjoys so much about her role.
Our contact with other organizations is always framed in the same way: supporting others, and helping to create a better employee experience that makes a true difference.
If your organization wants to create a better employee experience, book a demo to see how WorkTango can support you.
What characteristics make a good Content Writer?
Writing is an immensely broad and varied field.
A good content writer, from Pat’s perspective, needs to be curious and have a voracious appetite for reading. These natural inclinations are needed to explore different topics, learn and subsequently write about them. Good writers are also good storytellers, who aren’t afraid to break rules. What Pat means by this is taking the liberty to identify and incorporate cadence and rhythm into copy even if it means breaking a few rules of grammar. These can include starting a sentence with “and” or using incomplete sentences to change up the pace of your writing to bring the reader in closer. Rules were meant to be broken anyway, right?
Finally, as a former marketing director Pat says having that kind of experience gives added insight. The ability to set down the pen and put on a marketing hat helps with knowing how content should fit with the wider strategy of an organization. Overseeing a team, setting a strategy, and implementing plans are additional elements that enhance a writer’s value and contribution. No matter the instance, being a good writer means not being afraid to take risks, explore topics and write about them in a voice and style with your imprint, but that reflects the organization’s overall tone.
What are three facts about you that many people may not know?
- She’s Buddhist-minded and tries very hard not to be judgmental. It’s all about practice, practice, practice.
- She much prefers asking questions and learning about others rather than speaking about herself.
- She’s a “serial volunteer” and has served multiple organizations including the Board of the Ontario Lung Association as well as a Nigerian NGO sponsored by the U.N. where she lived and guided marketing and communications activity for a year.
Pat is truly a special and valued member of the team who brings experience, a hunger to do good, and a contagious smile every day to WorkTango that is sure to brighten up anyone’s day.
Check out our guides on workplace culture, employee engagement, and employee surveys. Learn about every aspect of a successful employee voice initiative!
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