Expert of the Week: John Corrigan

John Corrigan

Staff Writer at Advertising Specialty Institute

What is your professional background?

“I’ve been writing since 6th grade when I covered the CYO basketball team for Our Lady of Calvary in Philadelphia and was published in the now-defunct Catholic Standard & Times. Since then, I went to Temple University for journalism and wrote for various media outlets such as the Philadelphia Daily News, NewsWorks, AL.com/The Huntsville Times, Philly Metro, (also-defunct) City Paper, and Philadelphia University. I’ve also worked in radio—behind the scenes with KYW NewsRadio and on the air for W.H.I.P. and WNJC 1360. Currently, I’m a staff writer for ASI’s publications, Counselor and SGR, as well as the assistant editor of Wrestledelphia.com.” 

 

What sparked your interest in writing?

“I was diagnosed with scoliosis during grade school and would suffer back spasms when I tried to play basketball. My mom knew I still wanted to be involved with the team, so she suggested I report on their games. It was fun seeing my friends’ and classmates’ faces light up when spotting their names in an actual newspaper.”

 

How can storytelling help businesses?

“Well, every business has their own story that they’re writing the chapters to on a daily basis. Every struggle, every victory, every step in the process should be documented on a company’s website through text, photos and/or video for customers to view and identify with. For example, look at Shark Tank. Even if none of the sharks invest, the pitching business owners still have this gigantic platform to share their story and attract emotionally invested customers.”

 

What is the most common mistake you have seen others make when it comes to communicating in the written form?

“Starting statements with ‘IMO,’ ‘I believe’ or ‘I think.’ If you’re writing something, the reader already knows it’s what you think or believe. You’re the author. People use ‘IMO,’ which I see mostly on Twitter, as a shield from criticism. They’re under the impression that by stating it’s their opinion, no one can challenge them or disagree. Well, arguing isn’t always a bad thing—it can be quite therapeutic and can lead to a solution or at a least compromise for both parties.”  

 

What books would you recommend for improving one’s writing skills for business?

“I have never read a book about business writing skills, but I have read and highly recommend Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. She offers tips on how to be more creative, more character-driven and most importantly, more personal as a writer.”

 

Is there any software that can help with the process?

“Everybody uses WordPress for building websites or maintaining blogs because it’s user-friendly and easy to learn. But when it comes to actually transforming thoughts into words, there’s no software to rely upon. It’s all you, baby.”

 

How do you use social media to better promote your works?

“As my dad says while tantruming in the kitchen, ‘it’s all about timing.’ On Monday mornings, I’ll announce who our Wrestledelphia Radio podcast guest is for the week. I’ll tag the guest on Facebook and Twitter and blast it through LinkedIn. On Monday nights during RAW, I’ll repost the announcement with the hashtag #RAW because that’s primetime social media scrolling for our target audience. I’ll do the same during Smackdown on Tuesdays, NXT on Wednesdays, and IMPACT on Thursdays.

 

For non-wrestling related works, I post all of my articles and interviews on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with related tags to reach more eyeballs. LinkedIn is my favorite because it notifies all of my connections that I’ve posted. It’s been quite successful because that’s how I got noticed for the 1360 WNJC deal and of course, this tremendous interview.”

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to become a writer?

“1. Start as young as possible so you can make all your mistakes while nobody is reading your stuff.

2. Never say no to an assignment—over time, your editor will appreciate your willingness and dedication and then will automatically think of you for major stories.

3. Pitch ideas every week to show your enthusiasm and initiative. If your pitches get approved, you’ll be writing about whatever you want and loving your job.

4. Carve out a niche. (For example, pro wrestling.) Pick something you’re extremely passionate about and start writing.

5. Always stand by your work. If you don’t believe in it, or can’t defend it, don’t write it.

 

Find John Corrigan on LinkedIn. Check out Wrestldelphia Radio. John recommends Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.