6 Top Tips To Start Your Own Blog

Recently I’ve been asked by several friends of mine how I started my blog, how they could start their own and if I have any advice for them. I told them all the tips and recommendations I had, but I thought it would be useful for me to write a blog about it as well. Hopefully through this post I can encourage others to take the somewhat intimidating leap of starting their own blog!

Here are my top tips on how to create a blog that is sincere, interesting and relevant, so let’s get blogging!

Make It Yours

First of all choose your perspective and the main topics you’ll include. I focus on a range of student life material to PR, all stuff I can relate to on a personal level, but everyone has a different perspective and skill set. Maybe you’re studying abroad, or maybe your a creative writer in your spare time. We all have characteristics and skills that are great to focus blog content on and create a unique blog. People will also notice if you know what you’re talking about, so make sure you’re commenting on a topic that you would feel comfortable answering questions on or talking in more depth about.

Also, make sure you aren’t following in other people’s footsteps and really try and be unique and fresh with your content. People aren’t going to follow or return to a blog where they read the same content 10 other people have posted about. If you’re the first on a breaking topic regularly or are always original in your ideas your following will increase and just keep on growing!

Content Marketing

This is a great way of drawing more readers in and if you’re similar to me and either studying or working in the PR industry you’ll know this is an incredibly useful tool for raising awareness. Basically the idea is that you create or compile content that relates to the ‘product’ that will encourage people to view your page and therefore your product. For example, in my case my product is me, I use my blog to engage with others in the PR industry. To content market myself and encourage PR professionals to view my blog I post about the top PR successes and fails and relevant events I’ve attended, for example the PRCA debate. By sharing relevant and useful content (check out my LinkedIn top tips) and compiling information that otherwise people have to hunt around for, I increase my chances of people checking back in or following my blog.

Also people love a good list. So add a number to the title (obviously only however many points you’ve included, don’t say there are 10 top tips when there are only 5!) and break up your post into key points with subheadings, similar to what I’ve done here.

Images

Always include visual aspects to your blog, but please, please, please make sure they have a high resolution. The amount of times I have seen professionals 10x more experienced than me post a pixelated feature image and it just makes me cringe. There is nothing eye-catching and engaging about a pixelated image, so trash it and find a new one! There are plenty of stock image sites that have free, high resolution images that are perfect for blogs and feature images or even simple and easy ways to create your own!

Timing 

It’s all about the timing. Decide how many times you want to post a month or a week, set a day or days that you’ll post on and do your very best to stick to it, especially when you’re starting out. If people know when your blog will be going live they’re more likely to check back in at the same time each week.

Also, time your blog posts so that they go live when people have the time to check in and actually read them. Posting at 3pm on a Monday obviously isn’t feasible, so think weekends, lunch breaks or evenings around commuting time.

Be Confident

The beginning is always the most nerve-wracking, but have faith in your self and to begin with stick within your comfort zones. Obviously when you start out it’s normal to feel a little nervous, but if you’re writing about a topic that you are worried about posting chances are you shouldn’t be posting about it. Make sure you’re confident in your content. If you have knowledge or an opinion on a topic someone will be interested and may even find it useful then post away! However, if you aren’t very knowledgeable on the subject or it’s likely to offend someone it may be better not to post it. Most people stay away from religion and politics as a rule, but obviously use your common sense and stay away from anything that may offend others.

Share It

Finally, always share your content, especially when you’re starting and not many people know you’re blogging. I tend to share my content on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even on my LinkedIn. Sharing at the beginning is what gets you your views. People will follow your blog, but how can they follow it if they don’t know it’s there. Regularly sharing your content on social media and linking back to older posts when you get a chance is a great way to raise awareness of your blog.

 

So give it a go! Use your common sense and trust in yourself. Who knows, you may be the next best blogger! If you have any more questions for me, please get in touch and let me know how you’re blogging goes. I’d love to have a read!

 

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Industry Vs Academics: PRCA Debate

Last Thursday I set off on a small adventure to London to attend the Industry Vs Academics PRCA debate. I had never really realised the division between the two sides before or at least I’d never considered it a divide. I’ve always seen the PR industry as one that is hugely diverse that you can join from almost any background and that’s one of the elements that I believe makes it fun to work in. Everyone has different experience and has a different approach to briefs, which is definitely refreshing.

Although I’ve only worked in the industry for a short time, part-time alongside university, everyone I worked with had a different history. Some had studied English literature, others had studied music promotion and others had studied journalism. The truth is that because PR covers every sector there’s room for everyone.

So what does having a degree in PR mean for me?

I believe it’s through experience and studying PR that you learn the most effective and successful ways to tackle different problems. People who join from other backgrounds may have the know-how of the sector, if that’s what they’ve studied before, but do they know the best way to engage with their audience via social media? Do they know how to structure and produce a press release?

I’d argue that for me now, after studying PR for almost three years and with around a years worth of experience in the industry, that a substantial amount of PR procedures have become common sense to me. Why wouldn’t you use social media to promote when it’s free and worldwide? Why wouldn’t you involve bloggers, celebrities and influencers (PewDiePie is another topic) to endorse your product or service?

This is where there’s a difference between PR students and other students. I have been specially ‘trained’ if you like, through live client briefs at university, work experience placements and employment in the industry, to know how to handle the stress of a career in PR, to understand that clients often need 24/7 care, to monitor media using tools including google alerts to ensure that I am on top of everything going on with clients. I have been taught all this to ensure that when I start my PR career after university I can hit the ground running. Something that students of other degrees may not be able to do.

However, although PR students may be better equipped when they first enter the industry others will soon catch up and that’s what we need. PR is one of the most diverse industries when it comes to previous experience and education, which is a good thing! It’s through a diverse mindset that we can achieve more. Everyone needs a devils advocate every now and again to point out the flaws and what could go wrong with a campaign and for that you need to have different expertise, experience or just a different mindset. PR students may have the advantage and training to begin with, but without other degrees and other expertise the PR industry would not be where it is now!

Good Habit Number 2

As you may have read in one of my previous posts (https://thejourneyofaprgirl.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/in-a-bid-to-be-different/) I have tossed New Year’s resolutions aside for 2017 and decided to try something new and hopefully more effective.

Apart from this week, my first good habit of posting a new blog post each week has been successful. I am inspired now more than ever to continue posting regularly, so *fingers crossed* this is a good habit that will stick!

So, onwards and upwards to my next good habit for February. My apologies for this already being two weeks behind, but let’s begin anyway!

This month I want to begin practicing meditation or at least focused breathing. This is something I’ve always struggled with. I have a very active mind and I am easily distracted if my mind isn’t being put to use and challenged. However, after all of the positive things I have heard about meditation and the effects it has on your mental state and stress levels I am determined to give this a go.

To aid me along my way I will be using a FitBit Charge 2 (a Christmas present) that has a preset focused breathing feature. Using this feature, I aim to meditate for 5 minutes (we’ll start small and work our way up) every day.

I will report back at the end of February on how this month has gone and what my next good habit will be. Let’s get meditating and find that tranquility!

Meet The Professionals 2017

As some of you who know me personally may be aware, I am currently the CIPR student representative for SSU. Alongside the opportunities for meeting other student representatives and professional members in the industry, this job role entails me organising and (hopefully successfully) running an annual event known as….. *drumroll, please* …… Meet The Professionals.

This event aims to bring together PR students and provide them with an opportunity to network with relatively local professionals who are currently in the industry. As a student who has benefitted from this event over the past couple of years it felt so good to be able to give back by hosting the event. Through my attendance last year I found somewhere for my summer work experience placement, an agency which later offered me a part-time job! The opportunities there are endless, whether the students are looking for future placements or just advice on how to get into the industry, who better to hear it from than professionals who have done it themselves!

I am so proud to be able to say that this years event has been our best yet, bringing together students from multiple courses, including advertising, marketing and, of course, PR. Around 30 professionals attended on the night with an innumerable turn out of students who kept them busy the whole time!

This, being the first event I have ever organised and run on my own, has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve taken on this year, but I’ve loved every second. Balancing organising Meet The Professionals alongside a part-time job and university work wasn’t easy, but I’m reaping in the benefits of the hard work! It has provided me with opportunities to network with so many different professionals in a wide range of agencies, even if they couldn’t attend the actual event, and it has taught me how to enthuse students about an event where there isn’t any free food. However, when you can encourage students to see the benefits of building a network of connections and making an impression in an agency before you’ve even applied for a job or placement, it becomes much easier.

Of course Meet The Professionals wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a few people, especially an alumni of my university. She previously ran the event last year and shared her expertise with me on how to achieve the best results possible. There were many other PR-based students who helped with the set up on the day and there is no way the event would have been as successful as it was without everyone’s help. Finally, if there’s even the smallest chance that one of the professionals is reading this, I want to thank all of you as well for dedicating your time to the next generation of PRs and passing along your hard earned knowledge!

So that’s it. Another skill added to my repertoire and one I cannot wait to refine it with my next event!

mtp-2017