It feels as though I’ve been blogging forever, but believe it or not it’s actually only been a year or so since I started blogging on this blog. (I’ve had a few failed attempts in the past, but let’s not talk about those today).
Like everybody I know, I’ve had my ups and I’ve had my downs; but every day that I’ve questioned whether i’m a good blogger, or whether I should even bother with this at all has been counteracted 10x the amount by the days in which I reap the benefits of having a PR blog and realise what it’s truly all about.
“But how much can you actually benefit from having a PR blog?” is a question indeed, and one I expect not everybody would know the answer to. I mean, truth be told, when I started this blog I never realised how much it would actually take off, and how many benefits I would reap off the back of it. I started it because we were recommended to in class, but oh how glad am I now that we were encouraged to do so. I don’t think you can fully comprehend the benefits of having a PR blog until you live and breathe it yourself. But, nevertheless i’m going to try and put forward 5 of the things I’ve learned since writing on this site for what feels like a lifetime.
If you’re a PR student and are twiddling your thumbs wondering “would PR blogging be right for me?” “is there even any point in starting a PR student blog?” or “would I benefit from it at all?” then every time I would answer with yes, yes and yes. If this sounds a little like a debate that’s gone on in your own head, then read my ‘5 reasons to start a #PRStudent blog’ post here.
What have I learned about PR blogging?
I’ve learned a lot (and I mean, a lot) from having a PR blog over the course of the past year, but there are 5 things that really stood out to me in the whole process.
Number one: Not every PR blog is the same
This is something so incredibly important that I learned and has rightfully earned its place at the very top of this list. I can’t hone in on the point enough that not every blog is the same. It’s not. Everybody has different thoughts, opinions, writing styles, experiences etc. and therefore you can’t expect your blog to be even remotely similar to anothers – that’s what makes yours unique anyway.
I’ve battled with a lot of personal debates in my head, I would literally argue with myself over whether blogging was worth it for me. I’ve often felt in-superior to other PR bloggers that I am connected with and have always wondered whether I would ever be able to blog to the standard that they do.
It took me a long time to realise that I shouldn’t aim to be like another, I should just aim to better myself every day instead. Because, truth be told, what appeals to one may not appeal to another and therefore even if you feel utterly different and effectively ‘out of it’, I guarantee there will be somebody who is interested in exactly what you produce. Not only this, but nobody wants to read a clone of the work of another, i’m so against blogging plagiarism it’s unreal. Not only is it theft of another’s hard work, but it also lowers the quality of both posts. You should always be your own person.
In short, you should never feel inadequate or question the quality of your blog, nor should you ever compare it to anothers – this is something I’ve definitely learned this year. PR blogs are often similar but they are never the same. So, by all means admire the work of those around you but never feel as though you have to produce the same kind of content as them. Your work is your voice and that’s what makes you unique, current and interesting – so hold on to that.
Number two: don’t be afraid to put your PR blog out there
Something else I learned this year is that I shouldn’t shy away from sharing this blog with people. For a very long time I was very self conscious about what I wrote, and subsequently wouldn’t share it with my friends, family or (god-forbid) on any form of social media. Of course, this meant that my views were very restricted and thus, very low as a result.
With these anxieties also came the anxieties of ‘my blog isn’t good enough and I may as well just stop.’ But really, I wasn’t getting the views because I wasn’t reaching the right audiences, simple as.
I mean, PR is all about getting things out there and appealing to the masses, so if you run a PR blog you should start from the ground up there. Once I overcame my self doubts about my blog, I became more confident to share it to around to people (and yes, that included friends & family).
Finding the confidence to put my blog out there meant 1 of 2 things:
- Like a domino effect, the more I shared the more inclined I was to write. This led me to blog about current affairs and my PR take on them. This ended up proving so beneficial to my blog and its popularity. In no time at all I had the confidence to post on the regular and post in real time about current goings on – and that really helped me out.
- It’s a given, but putting my blog out there also meant that the popularity of it grew immensely as a result. I made loads of connections both on LinkedIn and Twitter through the blog and have definitely made a few PR friends along the way. Sharing my content also meant I was noticed by Richard Bailey over at PR Place who would regularly feature my blog in his ‘best PR student blogs of the week’ – which really helped me out too.
Number three: in PR, there’s always something to blog about
Writers block is real, i’ve had it myself. However, since starting to blog primarily about PR i’ve never experience it since. The thing with PR is that it’s current, there is always something going on and always something to talk (or write) about.
I was always going to remain a PR and Lifestyle blog so that if I ever fancied writing about something none PR related, the option would be there. However, i’ve rarely had the chance as i’ve always been bursting at the seams with PR ideas. Plus, there’s always something going on in the press worth writing about – i’m forever awash with new titles and posts.
This is one of the biggest things that sets apart PR blogging and regular blogging in my opinion. In regular blogging, you have to break the glass ceiling to really make it – you have to have unique ideas in order to pull in the views. I’ve seen many people who i’m connected with do it, and that’s exactly how they thrive in the blogging world. With PR however, I think it’s somewhat easier for us. I mentioned above that not every PR blog is the same and that couldn’t ring more true, there is an infinite amount of things you could write about if you so wish, and the list will forever grow as in the PR world as something new happens pretty much every day.
This is one of the things I absolutely adore about having a PR blog – i’ll never be stuck for ideas and I (hopefully) will never be boring. If you’re wanting to start a PR blog but worried you’ll run out of things to talk about, you should disregard those anxieties right now as – take it from me – in an ever-evolving, fast paced industry like ours, ideas are never hard to uncover.
Number four: it truly is a great way to meet like-minded people
It’s a cliche saying, but it’s only cliche because it’s true.
To be honest, I never really spoke to many people within the industry apart from lecturers and classmates, until I started blogging that is… I’ve not been working nor writing in the industry for too long, but in that short time I’ve made some truly remarkable friends and peers. There’s not too many PR blogs around, but those that are around are truly stunning and are always deserving of my utmost praise. Not only do I enjoy reading others’ blogs, but they also enjoy reading mine. The mutual support within the PR blogging niche is incredible and I know i’m always guaranteed support and views from my peers within this little clique of ours.
These people will help you in ways you couldn’t image. Take Richard Bailey for example, one of my blogging peers and the aforementioned owner of PR Place. We know each other only through blogging, yet when I was seeking PR professionals to assist with my dissertation research, he was there to help me find more people than I ever could have comprehended to get. In short, this industry helps each other and I feel so at home in it.
Number five: it’ll help you in more ways than you ever would have thought
Last, but certainly not least is the point that it’ll help you in more ways you ever would have thought. I created this blog because I was recommended to do so, and continued with it for the pure love of writing. Little did I know the copious repercussions i’d be met with as a result of my little corner of the web.
Exams were suddenly much easier to tackle with my in-depth knowledge of PR related current affairs.
In interviews I always had something to not only talk about, but also to show to prove my interest and skill in writing.
My connections (as aforementioned) have grown more than I ever could have imagined, I have spoken to so many people within the industry that I would never have met if not for blogging.
And finally, my confidence has grown more than I ever thought it could. I mentioned at the start how I can now finally share my posts on social media, and tell my friends and family about my blog. For me, that’s moving mountains. I was so shy and introverted before starting PR (why I picked it initially, I have no idea) but 3 years down the line with my blog to support me, i’m a changed woman. I now feel much more confident and I would definitely pin some of that on this blog, it’s given me a place to ramble about things that interest me and also about myself, i’d never have imagined that running a website would benefit me this much. In terms of things I’ve learned from having a PR blog, this is a big one: I shouldn’t be afraid to put my thoughts out there and should be much more confident in not only my writing, but in myself as a person too.