We’re beginning to see several PR student and junior PR practitioner blogs. Here are some reasons why they’re a good idea (and a few words of warning, too).
- All writers, aspiring and professional, need to practice their skills. Celebrated advertising copywriter David Ogilvy said: ‘I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.’ Treat a blog as a playground for ideas and styles.
- It’s a new medium, and there are some new lessons to be learnt: about the virtue of links, about RSS, about the merits of posting comments, and about Google PageRank and other web metrics.
- As with all writing, you first need to read, read, and read some more. This is the most important lesson you can learn.
- You are looking to make a name for yourself, and blogs give Google plenty of current content to be indexed. This will help you appear on a Google search result, especially if you’re lucky enough to have an untypical name like Piaras Kelly. I predict that more and more employers will adopt this technique before interviewing candidates on the grounds that if you can’t make a name for yourself, you probably can’t do it for them either.
- You’ll learn valuable lessons applicable to the real world. You’ll realise that Rome wasn’t built in a day: a blog is no instant route to fame and fortune, but nor is a public relations campaign.
- Conversely, you’ll learn that it is possible to have your thoughts and ideas picked up by others (real world public relations). It should give you a buzz.
- You’ll make connections: of ideas and with people.
I’ll reserve my final three points for some words of warning.
- Your naivety, your careless spelling, your rash judgements, your waning energy levels and your imprecise language will be exposed for others to see. You can edit and delete your entries but Google has a long memory (it’s called a cache).
- There will be a conflict of interest between your need to be open (in pursuit of personal glory) and the need to be discreet and professional (so you don’t frighten clients and employers).
- A blog’s a solitary slog. Shouldn’t you be out there networking?