How to write a blog post


This is an article by Richard Bailey.
You could write for Behind the Spin too. Find out how here.

Think big, write small

Blogging can set you on the path to PR success (photo @katherineshenton on Instagram)

Blogging can set you on the path to PR success (photo @katherineshenton on Instagram)

Blogging’s no longer new. Those who started in the 1990s were pioneers drawing on previous literary forms like diaries, but it’s now a well-established (though still evolving) form. So what are the rules?

My advice is summarised in the heading: take a big idea, and make it as small as possible.

Thinking big means that your blog post should be about something (an idea, an issue, a trend, a fashion) that interests you – and has the potential to interest others.

Writing small means making your post short and making it personal. It’s your blog; it’s your post; we expect to meet you in it. This mixture of the personal and the conceptual is unlike most university assignments with the exception of the reflective assignments that are becoming more popular in Higher Education.

There’s more to blogging than this. You will also need to consider:

  • Visual storytelling. Use pictures wherever possible (still, video, infographics) to communicate in even fewer words.
  • Making connections. A blog post without any hyperlinks is like a cul-de-sac. Providing links is one way you connect to the wider world; it’s also a way of crediting sources and thanking others and helps you get discovered.
  • Getting discovered. Unless yours is a secret diary to be kept hidden away, there’s no point writing an interesting blog if no one knows it’s there. So make use of social media channels to promote your blog and connect to others. You’ll learn a lot about public relations in the process.
  • Design matters. WordPress, Blogger and others give you free tools that can make a personal blog look as good as a professional publication. Don’t stop there: your content now needs to match your design. Is it fresh? Is it engaging?
  • Copyright and the law. You’re free to express your own opinions, but your blog is a publication and it’s still governed by the law, so do think twice before pressing ‘publish’. But you are not free to use any image you’ve found on the web (the creator has the copyright). If you can find it, so can the owner of the image. So if you want to produce a highly visual blog, it’s best to develop your photography skills.

Introducing #bestPRblogs by #prstudent

Last academic year we ran a weekly series highlighting the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students. It was necessarily subjective (we had to make a judgement over which were the best posts each week), but we chose different people to edit the selections.

At the end of the year, we picked an overall winner: Jess Ramsey (then a second year Sunderland student).

We hope to run #bestPRblogs again this year – but it depends on us discovering lots of PR student bloggers. It doesn’t matter if your blog was written as an assignment or as a personal project (though the assignments often read just like academic essays so are less likely to be picked).

You don’t have to write something each week. You don’t have to write only about public relations.

But if you’re a PR student (single or joint honours, undergraduate or postgraduate) who can write well and make connections, then it’s highly likely you’ll be a strong student and a very good candidate for internships and graduate jobs.

That’s my justification for #bestPRblogs. It’s an early warning system for identifying talented students and introducing them to the wider world.

But it’s not for everyone. A blog with a latest post from May 2013 (your hand-in date) may damage your prospects in the eyes of employers. You are allowed to take time off and to change tack – but you’re doing so in public, and it’s permanently on the record. So there are risks.

You can correct your typos – and we can forgive minor errors – but consistently poor writing will also count against you.

There are risks and there are rewards: it’s an important lesson to learn.

Who are the best PR student bloggers?

I subscribed to over 100 PR student  blogs last academic year (I use Feedly if you’re interested). Some of these have now graduated, so are no longer eligible. Most have not been updated since the end of the academic year.

So I’m now looking out for current PR student bloggers and am starting with a very short list of those who’ve kept going over the summer. They’re our frontrunners, but I hope they’ll be joined my many others as the academic year begins in the coming weeks.

Who should I add to this select list? I need a name, a university, a year of study and the address of the blog.

Michaella Biscomb (Leeds Beckett, 2): Michaella Biscomb
Jack Clark
 (Leeds Beckett, 3): Jack’s Ten Cents
Chelsea Galpin (Leeds Beckett, 4): Chelsea Galpin PR
Lauren Johnstone (LCC London, 2): Naked Fashions
Jess Ramsey (Sunderland, 3): Personal PR
Danielle Ricketts (UWE Bristol, 3): Intuitive Mind
Livi Wilkes
 (Southampton Solent, 2) Live, Love, Laugh PR

Richard Bailey (editor@behindthespin.com)

Trackbacks

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  6. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

  7. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

  8. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

  9. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

  10. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

  11. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

  12. […] Each week, we aim to bring you our selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (#bestPRblogs by #prstudent) – plus our choice of a photo by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram). For more on #bestPRblogs, please read How to write a blog post. […]

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