Why does anyone blog? Is it to be the best? Or to be the best that they can be? Or simply to be themselves – which I think is the best reason of all to blog.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure to peruse four of the #bestPRblogs at the request of Richard Bailey for the annual BehindtheSpin PR student blogger competition.
Announcing my choice of the winner from this excellent shortlist of candidates, I provided a strong recommendation for each of the authors and explained the criteria that informed my decision. So please head over to my post there as soon as you’ve finished this one: http://www.behindthespin.com/news/we-name-britains-best-pr-student-blogger-2017-omg
The three highly commended finalists are:
Marcel Klebba – http://marcelkl.co.uk/
Lauren Old – https://antisocialpr.wordpress.com/
Orlagh Shanks – http://orlaghclaire.com/
And, the winner of the 2017 #bestPRblogs is:
The four blogs each have their own merits and there were things that I’d like to note as guidance for anyone who is encouraged to call themselves a blogger. I decided to do that here at Greenbanana by highlighting a few thoughts.
1. Blogging is a great way to think out loud.
What stands out clearly in each of these blogs is how this form of social media is the best at enabling a writer to think, and share that thinking with others. At its best, blogging makes you reflect on your own ideas and opinions, and shift these – a little or a lot – as a result of what you’ve read.
2. The best blogs have a strong perspective and voice.
Each of the #bestPRblogs is a personal place where the strongest posts are those where a clear perspective is evident and written in a voice that could only belong to that writer. However, that voice was not over-powering and spoke directly to the reader, which was compelling.
3. Blogs need to appeal visually as well as in writing.
The winning blog stood out for its lovely appearance which perfectly matched Lucy’s voice and choice of blogging topics. I was surprised not to see any inclusion of video on these shortlisted blogs, but the use of imagery was impressive as I would expect from any young PR practitioner. This underlines how a blog offers a great platform to showcase professional capabilities.
4. Blogs enable connections to be made and doors opened.
The generosity of experienced practitioners to engage with PR students is something that each of the finalists has capitalised upon. They have used their connections wisely with themed posts that they have built into a valuable series. The willingness to learn from others is commendable, and the blogger benefits from establishing a relationship and enhancing their profile. I would, however, encourage young practitioners to have more confidence in their approach to ask more challenging questions, particularly where they can add more of their own personality through a conversation in this way.
5. The challenge of blogging comes in the long run.
It is increasingly rare in my experience to come across PR practitioners who blog. This is a shame but understandable when other pressures can take precedence over the time available to think and write. But I hope this means that the best bloggers prevail over time. There is something unique about a personal blog over any other online presence. For me blogging is an intimate experience as you are inviting someone into your own world. So we write, not as a promotional activity (although it can be that). Nor are we simply here for the metrics and comments. We share ourselves, perhaps not even in the expectation of being read, but because it feels right.
That’s what I gained most in the best of the posts on the #bestPRblogs.
I was also reminded of this power of blogging in visiting the blog of Martyn Hett (http://www.martynhett.com/), a young PR practitioner tragically killed in the Manchester bombing last week. I didn’t know Martyn although he studied at the London College of Communications (on the media rather than the PR course where I have taught). But I sense from his blog that I would have liked him as a person (not least as I match his blog’s strapline being a strong woman with a taste for low culture). I know I would have loved having him in any class that I taught. I hope that Martyn’s family and friends maintain his blog site as his perspective and voice live on there with such fun and enthusiasm.
Thank you Martyn – and thank you to Marcel, Lauren, Orlagh and Lucy. It was a privilege and a pleasure to review your blogs. Congratulations to you all.