‘It’s a competitive industry, so having something that could help me stand out was vital’

About the author

Arianne Smart - then Williams - was 2016 #bestPRblogs winner while studying PR and French at Sunderland University.

What or who inspired you start blogging as a student?

Arianne Smart
Arianne Smart © Rekord Media 06.08.2020.

I wanted to have a place to discuss what I was learning and reading about outside of university, as well as creating a portfolio for myself for post-graduation. It can be hard to get PR experience, so this was a way to show another element of what I could do. It felt like a place I could write as myself outside the refines of academic writing and studying.

What motivated you to keep going?

Quite simply because I enjoyed it! It was interesting to explore different topics and avenues and to learn how to create a blog and manage a website as I went along too. I continued blogging after graduation, later creating my own website that I still post on from time to time, as time allows.

Having the best PR blogs challenge was also a great incentive, I wanted to be featured each week so had to make sure I was posting consistently and of good quality.

What did you expect to be doing once you’d graduated?

I read PR and French, and knew from my first day of studying that I wanted to pursue a career in PR.

My first role was as a Digital PR Executive for an international PR and marketing agency, before I moved back home from the North East of England to Devon for a role as an Account Executive for the agency I still work at today, nearly five years later.

Today, I’m an Account Manager and Head of Digital for a communications consultancy specialising in companies working in land, property, rural affairs, and landed estates. My role involves creating social and digital content, implementing communications plans, overseeing project workflows and developing strategies to build social media profiles.

Did your blogging and social media presence help you to get there?

Absolutely! It’s a competitive industry, so having something that could help me stand out was vital. Twitter played a huge part in getting myself noticed to secure my first role after graduation and my blog was a key part of my portfolio. It helped to show my work in practice, build a network of professionals, and demonstrate a wider understanding of PR and social media.

Being able to consistently deliver for the best PR blogs competition also showed commitment and an ability to continually create engaging content.

What tips do you have for today’s students to help them prepare for life after university?

Keep reading, keep learning and keep finding ways to show your skills. Ask for help and advice – I’ve found it to be a very friendly industry – and try to build a network from early on.

But more importantly, enjoy it. There are so many routes and paths in PR and communications that you can find something you are you are truly passionate about.