This semester is coming to a close and it is truly bittersweet. I got my first taste of what public relations classes are like and I’m more excited than ever to graduate from college after only four more semesters so that I can jump into a field that I am so passionate about.
This course has taught me a lot of profitable lessons and the point of this post is to translate those experiences into advice for public relations students who are new to blogging.
In October of 2010, I started a personal blog using Blogger, so coming into this course in January of 2011, I had little knowledge on the technology involved in blogging, nevertheless the importance of meaningful, professional content, especially as it pertains to growing and learning as a public relations student.
Below is a list of tips that I knew and just didn’t listen to, or I wish I would have known, when starting a professional, public relations blog as a student:
- Keep up with posting content. Creating a blog editorial calendar is required for this course, but if you are creating a blog on your own, I highly suggest that you compose one as well. Blog editorial calendars help you stay on track and spread out posting content. It is best to post new material most everyday that way you don’t get bogged down with doing a lot of posting at one time and provides fresh content for readers to read at all times. Here is what my blog editorial calendar looked like for this semester:
- Sign up to receive daily email from sources such as PR Daily and follow various public relations professionals on Twitter such as Lorrie Walker of Lorrie Walker Communications, Inc., Shonali Burke of PR Daily, and Pete Cashmore of Mashable. These are quick and easy ways to stay up-to-date on current events as well as gather tips and information to use in the public relations connections posts that are required for this course or for personal growth.
- Use Compfight to find images that are appropriate to your blog posts. Use the creative commons category. After the first couple times of using the site, you will be a pro at using images to enhance your posts and developing keywords that will generate the results you are looking for.
- Don’t be afraid to use videos. YouTube is a great place to start when looking for footage that goes along with the topic of posts.
- Let your individual writing style shine, but remain professional. What will make your blog stand out is a look or feel that isn’t similar to that of other blogs. You’re in college which means you have apt writing skills, so put them into good use!
- Don’t make the design of your blog too flashy. This is another area in which to remain professional. If you want a header, look at images at Compfight to select one that relates to the overall message you desire to send through the presence of your blog. You don’t have to have a background color or image if you don’t want to. Keep in mind that potential employers will be Google-ing your name and your blog will probably be incorporated in the search results. They’ll look at it and take into account all of the elements, jotting down notes to add to other search result findings to consider when the interview process commences.
- Give others credit when using an idea that is not your own. Never claim something unless you wrote it word for word.
- Keep an eye on the statistics for your blog. If you use WordPress, the stats will be located on your dashboard. See what days and topics receive the most feedback.
- Comment on other people’s blogs. It will build your web presence, but that is not the sole purpose of blog comments. For more on blog comments, see “TOW #3: Your Comments Count!”
- Activate certain widgets such as the calendar, search, and even Twitter to make it easy for readers to access your content. Activating widgets like Twitter and del.icio.us helps connect the content that you post on various social media sites and centralizes it into one place.