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This is an article by Ashley Keir-Bucknall 

#bestPRblogs contest launches

Autumn has officially hit and the new academic year has begun in earnest, bringing with it all the lectures, seminars and assignments that will become the staple features of our lives as we strive towards graduation.

After all, it’s those grades which are going to be the deciding factor in getting us a graduate job….aren’t they?

I’d actually argue that it’s the ‘extra-curriculars’ which set you apart from your peers and get you that all important foot in the PR door.

Don’t mistake my meaning. Securing a decent qualification (especially one that you’ve invested a considerable amount of money and time in) is important in showing people that you know what you’re talking about.

But, saying that, in my job-hunting experience at least, my grades (despite being good) were always only a MINOR part of what grabbed employers’ attention when it came to my applications.

Instead I discovered (admittedly to my shock) that it was my social media presence and in particular my blog that secured me my interviews and, eventually, my role at London-based agency, Houston PR.

I know that my position at Houston in particular was gained in this manner as I was invited to interview via Twitter after managing director, Hamish Thompson, read through some of my posts.

Introducing #bestPRblogs

However, what my interviewers and employers may not know is that without Behind the Spin‘s annual ‘Best PR Student Blogger’ Competition, I might never have stuck with my blog long enough to fall in love with writing and appreciate the ways that my own unique ‘voice’ can break through the noise.

My love for blogging is by no means unique however, as last year’s winner, Livi Wilkes (whose blog ‘Live, Love, Laugh PR‘ was commended for its “honest and engaging” writing style) shared this love claiming that:

“I blog because I love it”

Offering aspiring PR students the opportunity to learn, practice, build their networks, and promote their expertise within a lively community, Behind the Spin’s contest now enters its third year of highlighting the best blog posts written by UK-based PR student bloggers.

Keep in mind:

  • It doesn’t matter if your blog has all the fancy bells and whistles that make it visually perfect.
  • It doesn’t matter if your posts are written as an assignment or in response to something topical you’ve seen or read.
  • It doesn’t even really matter if you don’t manage to write something each week (though the more you post, the more chances you have of being chosen as a weekly winner.
  • The important thing is that you are interested in what you’re writing about; that you have proofed your work before publishing (typos never look good); that you use social platforms to promote and try to build a community around your work; that you reference the source your images/videos if they’re not ones you’ve taken yourself; that you use relevant hyperlinks when appropriate; and (without sounding ridiculously cheesy) that you have fun.

Each week, PR academic and Behind the Spin‘s editor Richard Bailey will browse the #bestPRblogs and #PRstudent hashtags, check and update his Feedly subscriptions and collate a selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (plus the best photo taken by a PR student, usually taken from Instagram).

Weekly winners will be recorded in an ongoing leaderboard which will determine the final shortlist of talented writers announced next April. These shortlisted bloggers will then be given just four weeks to polish, edit and impress the discerning and digitally-savvy Michael White (associate editor for Behind the Spin and digital account manager for Lansons), who will go through each of their blogs with a fine comb before announcing Britain’s Best PR Student Blogger 2016!

There are plenty of blogs out there you can use for inspiration such as:

Stephen Waddington
Rachel Miller
PR Conversations
Michael White
Ben Cotton
Last year’s winner, Livi Wilkes
or my own

If you’re still really stuck on where to start after reading all those though, you can always read: How to write a blog post, which outlines all the basic things you should be paying attention to.

Happy blogging!