Who will be #PRstudent #CreatorAwards22 winner?

About the author

Richard Bailey FCIPR MPRCA is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

It was once challenging for students to gain relevant work experience in public relations. It involved identifying and approaching a suitable team and applying for work. A semi-formal interview would follow a semi-formal application. 

The successful student would then have to try a number of firms and sectors to know where their talents and interests lay.

That path is still open – and employers are increasingly accepting the demand to pay students for their time on internships. Yet this also raises the bar. It leaves students facing the ‘experience trap’: a paying employer may prefer to chose someone with experience over a beginner, so how do you ever gain your first experience of real-world public relations?

With the advent of digital and social media, it’s never been easier.

Before applying to work for an employer, you should treat yourself as your first client.

The employer may ask to see examples of content you’ve created. So, you should show them your preferred public social media channel. Tell them what you did to gain followers on Instagram, or Twitter, or YouTube or TikTok. Alongside this mastery of ‘shared media’, have you created your own blog or personal website? Have you developed your skills in Canva, Photoshop or WordPress? Are you proud of the words you’ve written or the images you’ve created?

Then, do you have first hand experience of ‘earned media’. Perhaps you’ve appeared in a local news outlet for your charity fundraising, or perhaps you’ve been invited to an event as an influencer in your own right? Experiences such as these will interest a public relations employer.

Introducing #PRstudent #CreatorAwards22

All of this is an introduction to our #PRstudent #CreatorAwards22. Starting today, we’re looking to identify examples of creative content that support a student’s personal brand and which might appeal to employers.

This content could be a blog post; it could be a conversation on Twitter; it could be audio or video or photo content. We’ll be sharing a selection of creative content examples each week of the academic year and towards the end of the year we will name a shortlist of creators from which we’ll pick the winners.

Who is a #PRstudent?

Anyone can identify as a #PRstudent. You’ll know if you’re studying public relations, marketing communication or corporate communication: that’s easy. Less obvious, we’ve known students of English literature seeking placement year work in public relations and emerging to work in this field after graduation. The same could apply to journalism students who might realise that they’re more likely to find well-paid work in public relations or content marketing than in investigative journalism.

Please note that we’re primarily focused on students on full-time BA and MA courses, of any nationality, who are currently studying at a UK university. (We also count the numbers of entries from each university). We’re also interested in hearing from those in Further Education or on public relations apprenticeships.

How do I enter the competition?

Our challenge is to know you exist. So your challenge is to bring your content to our attention. The easiest way to do this is to tag your content with #PRstudent on your chosen social media channel. We’ll let you know if your content has been chosen to appear in #ThisWeekinPR on Friday mornings and, over time, we hope to get to know you better.

In short, this is a public relations challenge.

What does good content look like?

This isn’t a university assignment, so there’s no assignment brief. It’s a real-world challenge that expects you to demonstrate your enthusiasm and skills. Those are unique to you, so should not be set by me.

In the past, I’ve loved reading reports from amateur lower league football matches from an MA student. Sure, it’s not about public relations – but those reports were written by a #PRstudent and should have interested sports marketing agencies or the media teams of professional football clubs.

This isn’t a beauty or a popularity contest. You might have gained thousands of likes for your bikini shots from your holiday in Bali but that in itself would not qualify. Yet if you’d collaborated with the local tourist board or with a swimwear brand, then I’d consider this a piece of public relations content.

Your content may even be unpopular. You may break the rules of insta-perfection and talk honestly about the financial or emotional challenges of being a student. If your content resonates wiith an audience, then it has merit and you’re showing your skills as a creator.

Your challenge is to create content that engages an audience, and to bring this content to the attention of the wider industry. In other words, it’s public relations 101 explored through social media.

Good luck! I look forward to seeing your content and getting to know you better.

Find and follow us on social media

Twitter: @PR_place

Instagram: @pracademy_

LinkedIn: PR Academy Ltd

We’re also looking for #PRstudent content on YouTube and TikTok.

Disclosure: PR Place is part of PR Academy Ltd.. PR Place is edited by Richard Bailey, who is also a part-time public relations lecturer at Leeds Beckett University.

List of past winners 

Year Winner University
2021 Eloise Newman Solent
2020 Niamh Murray Ulster
2019 Orlagh Shanks Liverpool John Moores
2018 Orlagh Shanks Liverpool John Moores
2017 Lucy Hayball Bournemouth
2016 Arianne Smart (was Williams) Sunderland
2015 Livi Crawford (was Wilkes) Solent
2014 Jess Ramsey Sunderland