Hello and welcome to my ninth interview of my ‘meet the PR blogger’ series.
I didn’t think this series would still be running over 2 months since I put the feelers out, but here we are! This just goes to show the amount of incredible names within this industry and just how willing they are to help you out!
I’m slowly but surely working my way through the masses of wonderful PR bloggers that i’ve interviewed – so keep your eyes out every week for new additions. I’m almost finished, so if there’s any PR bloggers reading this that would be interested in getting in touch – drop me a message!
This time round, my ‘PR blogger’ is the true girl boss – Laura Sutherland.
What is the ‘meet the PR blogger’ series?
This series has been put together by me to delve in to 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 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 ninth addition of my ‘meet the PR blogger’ series with Laura Sutherland.
Meet the PR blogger – Laura Sutherland.
Introducing Laura Sutherland
Laura’s ‘PR blog’ truly goes above and beyond – she actually blogs for her very own company, Aura PR.
It’s no surprise therefore, that she was named one of Vuelio’s top ten PR bloggers last year. With such an incredible and wide berthed expertise, along with an interesting insight in to popular topics, Laura’s blog is truly one of the best i’ve come across.
Not only is Laura a true girl boss for being the owner of her own PR company, but she also holds the title of “PR consultant of the year” by the PRCA and is the founder of ‘the PR fest’. Oh, not to mention, she’s also a chartered PR consultant. My international women’s day 2019 ‘women in PR blog‘ is shaking already.
I feel so grateful to have Laura in my series, she’s truly a PR powerhouse and an ultimate inspiration of mine. Her 10 years strong business is still thriving and she’s an all round PR pro really.
Read on to uncover more about Laura Sutherland and her creditable PR blogging journey.
The ‘meet the PR blogger’ interview with Laura
Jessica: How long have you been blogging for?
Laura: I’ve been blogging for around nine years now. Aura used to have a separate blog from the website (before people had everything in one place), in the beginning, and then I integrated it when I started to get traction. Back then, Aura was an agency, so some of the team would also contribute. Even when I had interns, their first task was to write about what they wanted from their experience, so when they came to the end, they could reflect.
I also tried a few varieties of blogging. AurPops were my daily 15 second sound bites (pops) of useful content. I used Twitter for mini comments and links to useful blogs I’ve written, so I see Twitter as an extension of my blog, and the same goes for LinkedIn. AuraTalk is my monthly email and I use that to gather past blog posts (and AuraPops when I did them) and now, I use the Aura Instagram account almost as a mini blog. I try and keep that motivational. My Aura Instagram followers said they wanted to know about my work and how I operate in the business world, so I’m currently working on a plan to reflect that.
J: What are the main things you blog about?
L: I’ve been inconsistent of late, however and I’ve not scheduled time to blog as often as I’d like. *Note to self…*
J: Have you always been a ‘PR blogger’?
L: I do have a personal blog and I keep that quite separate as it’s more lifestyle orientated, around cars, interiors, travel and food.
The Aura blog has so much content from the last nine years that it’s a great archive to go through and read whatever you’re looking for. It was important when the blog was being integrated into the website that we didn’t lose any of the content!
J: Have you found that having a PR blog has been beneficial to you in the PR industry?
L: Not necessarily externally, but yes, to the public relations community.
My blogs are regularly featured on the likes of CIPR’s Influence and I’ve been approached to blog for other sites such as Spin Sucks, PRCareers and others, as a result. My blog was also awarded Top Ten Female PR Blog by Vuelio last year. I suppose like any owned content, how you develop it and use it, is how others will see you. For me, it’s a good tool for thought leadership, idea generation, sharing learnings and showing a bit more of a human side to the Aura brand.
J: Do you have any PR blogging inspirations?
L: My inspirations come from my own work, mostly. Topics I think perhaps need explored and discussed more. Of course, my blog is my own opinion and others may have different views, and that’s okay. If someone takes something away from reading one of my posts, then that’s a result in my eyes. I do enjoy reading others blogs such as Spin Sucks which covers such a variety of subjects on a daily basis. It’s very useful for my own professional development and can also give me ideas for my own blog.
Obviously current affairs and news does influence my content from time to time.
J: What was your main reason for setting up your blog?
L: My blog is as much as thinking space as it is a public platform for all to read. Exploring different ideas, such as the AI in PR blog I wrote, means hopefully others can contribute to the discussion online, invite me to take part in a wider initiative or simply start thinking about it. In the past I’ve been ahead of my time in my blogs and people don’t always get them. For example when I wrote about design thinking and PR or entrepreneurial thinking, I’m pretty sure people didn’t even bother to read them as they saw the titles and thought they weren’t relevant. Nowadays, these are two fairly hot topics, as we look to other industries to get better at what we do. And, actually, I’ll be revisiting my original posts as I’ve evolved (they were written in 2016).
J: Do you have any advice to PR people who may be looking to set up a blog?
L: Firstly, figure what the motivation is and who your audience is – it’s like we’re doing PR here. Blogs are only engaging if a) you blog regularly b) you write content which is of value and c) you can share it widely through other channels. Have a read at other personal PR and communication blogs too, such as Stephen Waddington’s (www.Wadds.co.uk), Scott Guthrie’s (www.saguthrie.info), Rachel Miller’s (www.allthingsic.com) and even the likes of communities such as #FuturePRoof and #PRFest. You’ll find different writing styles, design, themes and it may inspire your own thinking.
Once you find your own personal brand tone/voice and can start to write with confidence, you’ll find that people are interested and are ready to engage.
J: Why did you choose a career in PR?
L: I didn’t, really. Simply explained, I trained in hospitality and was a Restaurant Manager when I was 19. One of my regular customers said I “had balls”, she liked my straight-talking, so she asked me to go and work for her. That was 17 years ago and I’ve never looked back since! I’ve worked in-house, in PR agencies and in an integrated agency. Now, I’m a Chartered PR consultant and mostly work on my own, researching, doing audits and developing strategy based on insight. I have a large network of other independent practitioners who I can call on for other specialist skills, if need be. This November will be 10 years of Aura though! Watch out, celebrations are being planned!
One of the things I’m looking at as part of Aura’s anniversary is how it and I have evolved together. Coming from my first ever PR task of writing a press release, which I had never even heard of before, all the way through to being a Chartered PR practitioner who not only cares a lot about the industry, but I also volunteer my time on the CIPR’s Council and in response to a lack of meaty, practical and affordable learning activities, I founded and organise #PRFest.
Things have definitely changed. My worry is that students aren’t being taught about the changes, business doesn’t get the role and value of public relations, discipline lines are blurring and it’ll be “first to innovate gets the work”, and many practitioners are so slow to modernise that it’s holding our industry back. That’s a whole other discussion, though 😊
J: And finally, what do you enjoy most about PR blogging?
L: And finally, what do you enjoy most about PR blogging? I enjoy being able to control my own content and be as balanced or as opinionated as I like. It’s my platform. It’s my voice. When I write for other blogs I tend to dull down the opinions a little! I like just being able to do it on the spur of the moment, too. Sometimes when things happen, like the TSB crisis, I was able to get a blog up on the site within an hour. That was a hugely popular post!
Thanks Laura for your incredibly detailed yet interesting answers – you’re a true inspiration!
Connect with Laura
You can read Laura’s blog over on the Aura PR website, or keep in touch with her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!
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