Hello and welcome to my fourth interview of my ‘meet the PR blogger’ series, this time with PR student blogging superstar and personal friend of mine: Orlagh Shanks. But (as always), before I start, lets get down to the basics.
What is the ‘meet the PR blogger’ series?
This series has been put together by yours truly to delve in to the inner workings of the PR blogging industry. PR blogging is a niche area, but an incredibly interesting one. Therefore, I am committed to finding as much out about it as I possibly can. I want to leave no stone unturned. Having blogged within the industry for over a year myself, i’m all too familiar with the quality content circulated, the brilliant connections made and the overall fun of it all. PR blogging is certainly a niche worth getting involved in and I hope this series will encourage some to do so.
I’ll be (hopefully) posting a new addition to the series once a week, with a new PR blogger in the pipeline every single time.
If you’re a PR blogger, or simply work in PR/business yourself then I couldn’t recommend connecting with every participant in this series more. Each interviewee has been chosen due to their outstanding skills and expertise in the areas of Business & PR. Alongside, of course, the quality of their blog.
So, without further ado, here’s my fourth addition of my ‘meet the PR blogger’ series with Orlagh Shanks.
Meet the PR blogger – Orlagh Shanks
Orlagh was one of my first friends from my course. Back in 2015 (seems ages ago now, right?) when we both started uni at LJMU, both studying none other than Business and PR – she was one of the first girls that I met alongside Aoibheann. When they both left me to go out and do a placement year (i’m not bitter girls) I was partly gutted, but partly excited because I knew what great things Orlagh could go on to achieve. And go on she has! Since working at Coty for a year she’s been living the literal PR dream in London. From attending the GQ Men’s awards to the Brits after party – she’s done it all.
Whilst I miss her a lot, i’m so happy for Orlagh and the things she got to experience in her year out at London. (Which, by the way you can read all about over on her blog). I can’t think of anyone more cut out for the life she lives now. A go-getter from the start and someone brave enough to leave her home town in Ireland to move to (multiple) citites – she’s really an inspiration to any PR student thinking about opting for a placement year.
Alongside her year at Coty and impressive grades at uni, Orlagh also runs her famed ‘OrlaghClaire’ blog, which was awarded the PR student blogger of the year award by PR Place. Her blog is so impressive because not only is she a prolific writer, but also a diverse one too. You can read anything on Orlagh’s blog, from PR to travel, from beauty to interviews – that’s what makes it so fab.
So, lets find out more about Orlagh and her diverse, award-winning PR blog, here’s her interview.
The ‘meet the PR blogger’ interview with Orlagh
Jessica: How long have you been blogging for?
Orlagh: This is a tough one. I’ve tried to blog for about the past seven years, always starting a blog but never sticking to it. I’ve had music, fashion, student advice and beauty blogs in the past, but starting a PR blog and sticking it out for two years is something I would have never seen coming all those years ago!
I’ve been blogging on orlaghclaire.com for almost two years now, starting in September 2016 at the beginning of my second year at university.
J: What are the main things you blog about?
O: I mainly blog about the PR world, my student experience and placement and work experiences. I also try my best at advice pieces for students and those looking for placements. However, as my blog grows I’m trying to grow with it and diverse a little. I’ve also started to blog about living in London, music gigs I attend, personal pieces (although these are quite rare) and interviewing successful females in business. I’m trying to make my blog very much about female empowerment in the business world. This is why I have my #GirlBossMonday series and all of my placement profile interviews have been female orientated.
J: Have you always been a PR blog, or was you once something else?
O: I started off as a student PR blog, but have started to edge towards student advice and lifestyle posts as well as weekly PR posts. As I said above, I’ve also had music blog, a fashion blog, a beauty blog and any other type of blog you can think of. I try to write about anything that interests me and it seems PR has interested me the most as I’m still blogging about it two years later!
J: Have you found that having a PR blog has been beneficial to you in the industry? (In interviews, etc.)
O: Absolutely! It’s one of the main things I talk about and sparks a very long conversation. I’ve also been able to secure internships from my blog after I interviewed some PR Agency owners for my #GirlBossMonday series – two even offered to have me for placement year and to get back in touch once I finish university. Having a PR blog shows you have real interest in the industry and it’s definitely a positive to bring this up in interviews. I haven’t seen any negatives of having one yet, that’s for sure!
J: If you are a student PR blogger, do you think you’ll continue with the blog after graduation?
O: I hope I do. I’ve been able to keep it going this year while on placement working full-time so I’ve proved to myself that if I want to stick to it, I can. I’ve even managed to win an award for it this year, so I definitely want to keep it up!
Although once I start into full-time work, my blog may stray away from my own PR experiences and focus on what’s happening in the wider PR world as I may not be able to blog about my own work once I’m a graduate. Although at the moment I’m thinking of not going into full-time work straight away and instead taking time to travel or commencing a grad-scheme. So it may be life experiences from graduate day onward!
J: Do you have any PR blogging inspirations? These could be people, or simple reasons that you blog.
O: I think if it wasn’t for Richard Bailey’s weekly #BestPRBlogs student competition, I may not have stuck to blogging so religiously, so I definitely have him to thank for that. When I first started I definitely looked to Laura Bradley and Arianne Williams for inspiration and for ideas about what I could write about. One of the main things I was worried about was running out of content after two weeks!
Since starting, I’ve made a lot of blogging friends and follow Marcel Klebba (who is also now a friend outside of the blogging world) and I also love Conor McGrath’s Ulster University PR blog as also being from Northern Ireland, I love reading their posts.
J: What was your reason for setting up your PR blog?
O: Blogging is always something I’ve wanted to do (and tried to many times) but it was coming up to the time of applying for placements, and I knew if I had a blog that was focused on PR, it would show how interested I really was in the industry (as everyone can say they’re interested, but how do you show that?) and it was also something to talk about in interviews. It’s also proved a great way to network, and now I blog because I love to write and I love helping people by talking about my own experiences, and even things like my acne troubles. One of the most fulfilling things is people telling me that my blog post has helped them, motivated them or resonated with them.
J: Do you have any advice to prospective PR people who may be looking to set up a blog?
O: DO IT. I literally have no regrets setting up my blog. There will always be something to write about in the PR world, whether it’s regarding politics, business, celebrities or beauty. I would advise to not buy a domain name unless you were totally sure you will stick to blogging. Have a look at other PR bloggers for inspiration and see what they write about. One thing I’ve always been careful of is not to go too personal, or disrespect anyone. I know that both my parents read my blog and there’s always something in the back of my head reminding me of this, so that I don’t write anything bad or curse!
Blogging is the best thing I’ve ever done and you can make so many PR connections because of it – so get writing!
J: Why did you chose to study/work within PR?
O: I chose to study PR as I knew it would open me up to a lot of job opportunities afterwards. You can work in any industry in PR and it’s always needed. I wanted a job that didn’t mean working in an office 9-5, Monday to Friday. In PR, there’s always events either in the evenings, during the day or sometimes weekends. No two days are ever the same and it can be a very creative job, which I wanted. I couldn’t sit inside a small office staring at a screen for the rest of my life and I knew that PR could give me a life that I’ve always envisioned.
It’s always been a dream of mine to work in the music industry, but it’s an extremely tough industry to break into and it’s predominantly male. At the time of choosing my future career, PR seemed to be the best way I could break into the music industry as a female. You may be looking at the future publicist of the world’s biggest artist (in ten years time)!
J: And finally, what do you enjoy most about PR blogging?
O: I just love writing. Knowing that people actually do read what I post, gives me the motivation to keep writing and keep producing content. I try to produce as much helpful and relevant content as I can. I also like to throw a few personal posts in there, just to make sure people remember there’s a human behind all of the PR glam.
One of the best things is the contacts I’ve made through blogging. You never know who could end up reading your blog!
Connect with Orlagh