We name Britain’s best PR student blogger 2017

About the author

Heather is a key member of our assessor team. PhD, BSc, PG, RSA, CAM  

Well there is no shiny gold envelope – so no risk of reading out the wrong name…

No trophy to drop or video to show of the ‘winner’s journey’ or ‘best bits’.

I can’t even trip, Madonna style up a virtual staircase to make the announcement.

Can I get a drumroll sound effect or a funny gif?

No. Oh well then I’ll get on with it and simply confirm the name of the winner.

The Behind the Spin best PR student blogger 2017 is Lucy Hayball.

Before I explain the criteria that informed my decision, I’d like to heap high praise on the three worthy finalists, Marcel Klebba, Lauren Old and Orlagh Shanks. You should rightly be proud of your blogs and the calibre of the posts that you have published.

Undoubtedly, each of the four finalists has great potential to build a successful career in public relations. Any employer should be impressed by the commitment, professionalism and passion you show in this shop window to your abilities.

What was I looking for in selecting a winner? My method of assessment was qualitative rather than quantitative. I did not generate any metrics or assess SEO factors. Neither did I examine integration of the blog with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Rather I read the blogs to enjoy their content and consider what I learned about the four PR practitioners and their perspectives on life, work and blogging. The style and presentation was important, and I looked at each blog on a range of devices. Photography and other imagery played a key role in my decision. But most of all I was interested in the voice of the author.

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 have done that on a post on my personal blog.

To conclude, here’s my short recommendation for each of the finalists – with particular emphasis on why Lucy is the winner of the #bestPRblogs for 2017.

Marcel Klebba

Marcel is incredibly enthusiastic and offers fresh and interesting blog posts with a regular frequency. His #4PRQs (four PR questions) posts have built into an impressive collection of mini-interviews with an interesting range of people.

These are interspersed with a number of personal posts that offer insight into Marcel’s PR student experience. There are also guest posts and other interviews alongside some listicle-style advice pieces.

Overall, the blog is recommended for the insight Marcel has gained from his engagement with fellow PR professionals.

Lauren Old

With her blog, Lauren has identified a clear purpose stated in the strapline: exploring the ethics of social media for commercial use.

This is an intriguing idea and one that is covered well in posts where advice is based on discussion with people working in PR, social media and academia.

I particularly liked the posts where Lauren offered her own thoughts around topics such as social media fakery and the impact of the filter bubble for business.

My recommendation is to look for the valuable advice in these original posts where Lauren is at her best.

Orlagh Shanks

Orlagh’s energy is evident throughout her blog and the mix of personal and professional posts is handled extremely competently.

Her weekly #GIRLBOSSMONDAY posts are original, well illustrated and make a valuable contribution in profiling women as role models.

Where Orlagh writes about herself and her experiences, her writing is engaging and fun. I enjoyed her ‘confessions’ and her advice posts usefully derive from her own experiences.

I recommend the series of interviews with women PR practitioners alongside the honest self-reflection found in Orlagh’s more personal posts.

Lucy Hayball

Having recently moved her blog to a new URL, Lucy seems to have really come into her own as a blogger.

The site is beautifully stylish in a way that reflects a real confidence in who Lucy is and what she wants to say. I like the way that Lucy talks directly to the reader in a friendly and open way.

The #ThursdayThought feature is a clever way of connecting a series of posts whilst allowing flexibility in their content. This means that advice, personal reflection and guest interviews sit comfortably together within the blog.

The interviews are insightful as they ask relevant individuals specific questions about current topics.

The reason why Lucy’s blog is my choice of winner, and why it comes highly recommended by me is that it lives up to its promise. It is subtitled: A view into my world, and that’s exactly what I got from each and every post.

So I’d like to thank all of the finalists. Their work is truly impressive and provide an excellent example of the strong capabilities of those who have made a commitment to a career in public relations. I wish you all much success and urge you to carry on blogging.