At the last #CommsSchool session, Stephen and Marcel talked about habits, time management and writing. Blogging might be effortless for some people and really difficult for others. And for me, it’s somewhere in the middle. When I have an idea for a blog post, the words just start flowing on the blank page. And on the other hand, when I have a writer's block, I wonder why I created the blog in the first place.
As Marcel has said numerous times, blogging is based on dedication and hard-work. It’s not for everyone, because it demands a lot of time and effort. You need to prioritise your daily tasks and be really good at time management in order to cross out everything from your to-do list.
Below are my tips on how to keep blogging, even if it’s a struggle in the beginning.
It’s really important to master this skill early in your life. At the moment, I am a final year student (dissertation nightmare); I work part-time; I am a co-founder of a PR organisation for small charities and president of the PR Society; I am a mentor for a first-year student, and I still find time to go to the cinema and enjoy life. It’s stressful, but once you manage to divide your 24 hours, you know what to focus on. I try to set 2-3 hours per week only for blogging. It’s usually on one of the days that I have lectures, because it puts me in a productive mood.
Some people are more productive in the morning, others at 11pm in the evening. It doesn’t matter as long as it works for you. Just sit and start writing, when you are in a working mood and try to make this a habit by doing it every week. You only need to repeat it for 21 days (at least that’s what scientific journals state).
There are times in my life, when the last thing I want to do is blogging. Every person has moments when they feel down and demotivated. When I am overwhelmed with assignments and work, I don’t want to spend more time on my laptop to write a blog post.
Blogging is not an obligation, so it shouldn’t feel like work. If you are busy and not in the mood for writing a blog post, don’t do it. Go out, have fun with friends, watch a movie. Do something that will calm you down and relax you. And when you are not so stressed anymore, return to writing. Who knows, you might get a new idea for a post.
I find my motivation to keep blogging from other bloggers (Orlagh, Jessica, Lucy) and from networking. Having a blog gives you an extra advantage during interviews and helps you to connect with like-minded people. And I don’t want to lose those connections. It might sound like a selfish reason, but personal branding is very important early in your career.
Writer's block is a serious thing. I’ve experienced it hundreds of times and I’m sure others have as well. It’s normal to run out of ideas (Kudos to Orlagh for writing few posts per week!). Whenever I have a new idea, I note it down on my phone or notebook, so I don’t forget it. It might not be the right time to write about it, so I save it for later.
My blog posts are usually related to something I’ve done as a student. I tend to share my experience and tips for other students like me. I get inspired by new creative campaigns, so sometimes I feel like writing about them and why those campaigns matter. Also, whenever I go to an industry event, I like to share the key moments from it.
Ideas can come from many places, but here are some if you have a writer’s block:
Write, therefore you will be!
Last night, during the #PowerAndInfluence chat few people asked about networking tips. Networking is never easy at first, especially for students. I remember I was extremely shy and nervous at my first event at university. I was scared to talk to my lecturers, not even mentioning the practitioners that came along. However, practice makes it perfect.
1. Go to industry events
Events are a great way of practicing your networking skills, meeting like-minded people and building your professional network. Once you sign up to an event, check the speakers on social media and see what they like talking about. This way, you have a topic in mind when you approach them at the event.
At such events, you will have to get out of your comfort zone. Sounds scary, I know. But just remember that all those senior people were students before. They understand how valuable it is for young people to communicate with successful professionals like themselves, and they will never refuse talking to you. Ask questions about their job, the industry or a recent campaign. Listening and learning is part of the networking process.
If there are no local events that you can go to, ask your lecturers to invite alumni, who can share their journey since graduating. You will get the chance to network and get tips on how to break into the industry.
2. Connect on social media
Thanks to LinkedIn and Twitter, networking is easier than ever. Students can connect with practitioners and follow their careers. Join the conversation and comment on some tweets/posts. Again, ask questions. There are so many successful PR practitioners, who are always willing to talk to students and help them. You just need to approach them. Don’t be afraid to talk to people.
Ella Minty, Stephen Waddington and Richard Bailey are just some of the people, who will always find time to answer your questions.
Once you have built a rapport on social media, you can invite them for a coffee meeting. Face-to-face networking is better as you can discuss a variety of topics and build the relationship.
3. Follow your peers
If you are afraid to jump into the deep waters immediately, start by following your peers from other universities. For example, blogging is a great way of approaching like-minded students. Jessica Pardoe, Orlagh Shanks and Marcel Klebba are fantastic examples of PR bloggers, who have excelled at networking. Read their blogs, connect with them and ask for their tips. All of us have panic attacks when we need to speak with strangers, but by talking with people at your age, you can practice.
For more tips, read Marcel’s posts on networking. And if you have any questions after that, just ask.
For all Bournemouth students, who want to practice their networking skills, come along to “Meet the Professionals” event on 18th March. Book tickets at: https://bumeettheprofessionals.eventbrite.co.uk
Hi there! Welcome to my blog about PR and things that I find fascinating.