A few weeks ago I was named the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger of 2019. You could say it was quite a way to top off my final year of university, but that wouldn’t cover it.
I honestly can’t stress enough how life-changing this blog has been for me. And no, I’m not being dramatic so you can reverse that eye-roll. This blog has changed my life in so many ways that I can’t even begin to list, but I’m going to try. If you’re pondering the idea, stop pondering and just start writing. I could really go to town about mindset, law of attraction and thoughts right now but I’ll save that for another blog post or ten.
For now, I’m going to give you a lot of reasons as to why you should blog and why they’ve been life-changing reasons for me. I have written a blog post before on reasons to blog but I’m going to go into detail about myself in this one. Give you some real examples to hopefully persuade you to start your own.
LJMU, I hope you’re listening!
1. Job opportunities
This has probably been the biggest positive outcome of my blog. Since I blog about PR, influencer marketing and everything inbetween, I’ve been able to connect with and reach tonnes of professionals in the business realm.
I started my blog around September 2016, when I was starting to look for placements for the following year. This blog was a huge talking point in my Coty interview and I definitely don’t think I would have got the first placement I applied for or have been the first in the John Moores Business School to secure a placement without it. As I always say, anyone can say ‘I’m really interested in PR,’ but with a blog, you can really show that.
From my blog I’ve also secured internships. After I interviewed Rosie Davies for my #GirlBossMonday series, I interned with her agency in London before starting at Coty. I was also able to interview Jane Woodhead from Influential PR and Marketing after I interned with her a year previous.
And I can’t even begin to list the opportunities I’ve had recently for life after graduation all because of my blog. I’m not going to get into this part just yet as I want to wait until I’ve finally decided on what it is I will be doing, but I’ll more than likely be able to talk all about it when it comes to my #FinalYearFear interview in a few weeks’ time.
Because of my blog I now know so many people in the PR industry. I may not have ever met any of them in person, but I know them through social media and have had lengthy conversations, received feedback and advice and discussed important topics within PR. I now consider a lot of the connections I’ve made to be mentors. I know that I can approach them for advice or guidance and a lot even helped with my dissertation.
Building a network through blogging also helps with the first point of job opportunities. People that I have connected with over Twitter and LinkedIn have recommended me for jobs or even asked if I would be interested in starting at their company.
Another way I look at networking is that the worst answer will be no answer. If you want to reach out to someone, just do it. Write an email. Ask a question. Through my Girl Boss Monday series I now have a huge network of PR contacts globally. I still keep in touch with them today and keep an eye on how they’re doing and vice versa. My Girl Boss Monday series opened me to opportunities with internships, jobs and jobs in the future. And it all started with an email.
A perk of this blog has of course been the awards that I have received since starting two and a half years ago. Never did I think in that short space of time that I would have won two awards and made the final of a UK Blog Award. This recognition gives me more confidence as a writer and also more confidence to promote my blog.
One of the things I struggled with a lot at the start (and still do), was shouting about my blog. I feared anyone that I personally knew reading my blog since it’s such an open invitation into the inside of my brain. I thought they would scoff and write it off as another ‘wannabe’. But, here I am, almost three years later and the blog is still going strong.
Being able to say that I am the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger has opened up so many doors for me, and not even just in terms of jobs as I was invited down to the University of Greenwich to give a talk to the PR students there which was extremely daunting but made me a better person after doing it. Sometimes I put myself forward for things and think, Who do I think I am, I’m never going to get it, and then my friends will turn around and say, ‘You do realise you’re the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger, right?’ and then I start to feel a little more at ease.
This is one of the great reasons to start blogging while at university. You too could be named the UK’s Best PR Student Blogger and see for yourself the many doors that will be opened to you and the opportunities that come your way. Take advantage of this opportunity that has nothing to do with your degree certificate.
4. Change your outlook on life
It’s natural not to be the person you were a few years ago, but with the help of this blog I am a completely different person. Through reading more, exploring ideas, venting my thoughts to the internet and realising a lot of things, I’ve become a totally new me.
I think I’ve become a lot more open-minded from blogging as I’m looking at things from lots of different angles and reading people’s opinions that I may not have ever considered before. It’s made me a lot more empathetic, receiving feedback, comments and answering any questions that I am asked.
I can 100% say that I am a much more positive and focused person because of this blog. I’m positive in the fact that I know hard work always pays off, so I’m always willing to put in the effort, no matter what other commitments I have as my blog is my number one commitment. I’m focused because I spend so much of my time on my blog, on social media and reading other blogs and getting new ideas.
Moreso from reading books and listening to podcasts, I’ve changed my mindset a lot. I’ll be doing a lot of posts on mindset and the like in the future as I honestly think your mindset determines everything that happens in your life and the only way to take control of your life is to take control of your mind.
5. It’s your baby
I honestly do feel like a proud mum sometimes. I have my own little corner of the internet that is all mine and I control what goes onto it. I also have the power to make it as big as I want or to shut it down tomorrow. Because I have full ownership of it and it’s my shop window so to speak, I put all of my time and energy into trying to make it the best that it can be.
It’s like spending six hours on a painting and being so proud that you run around showing anyone who will look. I’ve spent almost three years on this blog and I’m not quite at that running around and showing everyone stage because it’s constantly a work in progress.
Sometimes I’ll go to my university library to use the computers (note I said ‘sometimes’ and not ‘often’) and I’ll type in orlaghclaire.com just to see what it looks like on a big screen and not my 11-inch laptop screen. And I’ll sit there all warm with excitement and then close the tab before anyone behind me can see what I’m looking at.
6. I wouldn’t be where I am right now, that’s for sure
It’s so scary to think about where I would be if I didn’t have my blog. Where would I have went on placement, or would I even have got a placement? Would I be doing the things that I’m doing now? Would I have the contacts that I have now? Would I be in this same position with job offers and possibilities coming out of university?
I can almost guarantee that I definitely would not be in the same position. I probably wouldn’t be as motivated or as positive or as eager to learn everything about life and I’m pretty sure my mindset wouldn’t be this strong.
I am so, so thankful that I started this blog. I can’t remember the exact day that I started but I am so thankful that I made a start on that day and didn’t think, I’ll leave it until tomorrow – because tomorrow never comes.
So if you want to be sat two years from now, looking back and thanking yourself for just starting, sign up to WordPress or Blogspot or Wix or wherever right now and just start typing. Get your thoughts out and blog. It’s the best thing I ever, ever did and I know I’ll be saying the same thing in another five years.
Special mention to Richard Bailey of PR Place for running this competition every year and encouraging more and more students to blog. Your Friday lists are a great place to learn and read the thoughts of PR practitioners in all industries and I most likely wouldn’t still be writing today if it wasn’t for the #BestPRBlogs to keep me going every week.
In 15 hours from now, I’ll be finished university forever. I will no longer be a student and that scares me more than you can imagine. It’s been an amazing three years taking part in the #BestPRBlogs competition and after this year I will no longer be able to put #PRStudent at the end of every tweet, so I’ll have to think of a new one for that – #PRPersonWhoUsedToBeAStudentNowGraduatedAndInLimbo