The UK’s Best PR Student Blogger 2018 – that’s me!

Orlagh Claire

Well who’d have thought? I certainly wouldn’t have. Shock, elation and more shock were all feelings felt on Friday morning when I received the news.

I had no idea we had even come to the end of the #BestPRBlogs calendar for another year so was not expecting the result to come out last week at all. A pleasant surprise you could say!

Time to get real

I honestly, honestly, honestly, never expected to come this far with my blog. If you’ve read my blogging story that I shared last year, you’ll know how many times I tried and failed to blog (seven years of failing). I never stuck at it. But there was something about this blog, and I just knew it would be for the long-run.

When I moved back to Liverpool a month early in August 2016 before my second year, I spent a lot of my spare time in the university library – yes, in August. I read blogs, wrote my own posts and did a lot of research.

I enlisted the help of my good friend Rob who studied Computer Science, to set up my blog, my own domain and hosting service. I still haven’t got much of an idea when it comes to any of those things and he’s the first one I call if I come into difficulty with anything technical. You never know how useful the people you meet during freshers can be!

I bought my own domain because I knew that I would stick at my blog this time. I was motivated, had a few posts lined up and more ideas in the pipeline. I had found my niche (PR) and finally reignited my love for writing and let my writing style come through.

I published my first PR post in September 2016 and tagged #PRStudent, not knowing of Richard Bailey’s #BestPRBlogs competition that ran every week. I literally fell into it. And from there, as they say, the rest is history.

orlaghclaire.com

How I stuck at it

Being totally honest, I think the #BestPRBlogs competition was the motivation I needed to stick at my blog. It gave a competitive edge that I thrive on. I made sure to post every week so I could be considered for the weekly picks. If it wasn’t for #BestPRBlogs, I may have quit after the first three posts and lost the drive for my blog.

Once my first year of blogging was over and the competition ended, I was commended in the top four but didn’t win. However, from being in the habit of posting every week and the love I had found for writing itself meant I didn’t need a reason or something to motivate me to keep blogging. I now write my blog posts because I feel that I have something interesting to share or something I’m passionate about and want to share my thoughts on. I no longer stick to solely PR. I blog about events, travel, concerts and interview people I find interesting.

My blog has grown so much over the past two years and one thing I was adamant about was not letting it fall to the wayside whilst I was on placement. I had built up my blog too much to let it go.

If anything, I’m quite proud of myself for being in full-time work, living in a new city, and being crowned Best Student PR Blogger in the same year. I may not have had much free time, but I made the time to keep at my blog.

I’ll most likely be stressed out of my mind next year with final year, but I’ll definitely be on here documenting every moment of it and taking you through my final year journey with me. I really do feel like I’ve been on a journey with all of my readers on here. Especially through my placement year.

Me? A writer?

At school, when it came to Math or English, I would always pick Math. I was good at it, and weirdly, enjoyed it. So much so, that I almost made a career out of it. Then I spent two days in an Accountancy office and knew right away that working with numbers for the rest of my life was not for me. Glamorous parties and endless prosecco weren’t a part of the job spec, so it wasn’t to be.

Even though I was good at English – I’m a major grammar/spelling freak – I never really enjoyed it. Comprehensions were my worst fear. But I loved to read. I was a huge bookworm, and really wish I still was. I never find the time to read anymore and I hate it. A lot of people have the luxury of reading on their morning and evening commute but when my journey to work lasts seven minutes and is standing room only, there’s no real point of whipping out a gripping novel for it to be pushed into my face the whole journey.

Anyhow, the subject of English for me at school was an absolute bore. I didn’t want to ‘read in-between the lines’ of Seamus Heaney’s poetry or try to analyse and understand what on God’s earth Shakespeare actually meant in his sonnets. What even is a sonnet anyway?? I liked reading and I liked writing stories, only I never really did much of the latter.

From starting this blog, I’ve found a huge love for writing. If I’m stressed, I write. Trying to make a decision, I write about what I’m thinking. I find it therapeutic. Even spewing out 500 words gives an instant weight off of my shoulders. I feel the more I write, the more I’m improving my writing style. I’ve learnt that my blog posts come from me so I write them in the way that I talk. Only without the slang and luckily for you, my accent. There’s nothing formal about my blog. It’s just me and sometimes too much of me.

Essays though? Not an enjoyable form of writing.

Orlagh Shanks

My face when I found out – only I wasn’t on a boat..

No regrets

There’s not one regret I have with starting this blog. The worst thing was getting over the fear of the ‘what will people think,’ ‘everyone’s going to laugh at my writing’ mindset that I first started out with. But, people are going to talk about you no matter what you do. Plus, my favourite PR line from my favourite TV series goes like this, ‘You’re nobody unless you’re talked about’ – we can be best friends if you know what TV series I’m talking about.

The number of contacts I have made, PR professionals I have interviewed, comments I’ve received, emails I’ve been sent and job/internship opportunities that have come my way all because of this blog have been incredible.

If you’re studying PR and not blogging – what are you doing?! Or in any field, I couldn’t recommend blogging enough! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and one of my greatest achievements.

I just hope I stick to it and keep writing about my PR journey for a few more years to come. And I hope that you stick with me along the way.

Orlagh Shanks,
UK’s Best PR Student Blogger 2018

2 Comments

  1. May 14, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    I like all your stories (even when you’re talking about One Direction) – but I’m pleased to have played a minor role in your writing journey. I’ll continue to read your updates, even if there’s no #bestPRblogs contest until next academic year.

  2. Dad
    May 15, 2018 / 9:40 am

    So proud, Toots.

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