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PR students: Guest blog to get ahead

Whenever I get the chance to speak with students studying communications and public relations on university courses, I usually end my presentation with five minutes on how to get ahead and get hired.

The smart students are the ones that invest time in work experience. There can be no better way than showing a future employer that you’re ready for work.

But there’s an even smarter way to get ahead in lieu of work a placement.

You can get the attention of a future employer and kickstart your career by building a presence on the social web by blogging, curating content and building networks.

History has shown that it’s a smart way to get ahead.

The inevitable question at the end of a presentation or workshop is, but how? How do you blog, curate and build networks, from a standing start?

There’s no magic: the answer is just do it.

I usually point people in the direction of Antony Mayfield’s book Me and My Web Shadow: How to Manage Your Reputation Online, and then content on the social web about LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging.

There’s no doubt that starting out from scratch is daunting.

As a start point I’d recommend creating a Twitter account and connecting with people on your course, your tutors, and then agencies, companies and media organisations that interest you.

The same applies to LinkedIn. Build a profile and connect with fellow student and tutors.

Blogging is tougher. It requires a plan, thought and commitment. But the payback is a guaranteed head start on your fellow students.

As an entry point into blogging I’d start by seeking out opportunities to guest blog or contribute to an online magazine. It enables you to benefit from the knowledge and network of an existing blogger or editor.

In the public relations sector Behind the Spin, comms2point0PR Examples, and Rachel Miller all publish content from guest contributors. Pipe up if you’re a blogger that accepts guest blogs and want adding to this list.

If you have a favourite blog and fancy your chances drop the blogger or editor an email with a pitch.

In fact you could start with my blog. I’d love to hear from anyone interested in blogging about their studies. How are you coping with the cost, how does theory differ from practice, what are you going to write your dissertation on or the process of job hunting.

Each blogger or online magazine will have its own guidelines. If you follow my blog you’ll have spotted that my posts are typically 300 to 500 words long with a single image.

Drop me an email. I’ll help you figure out how to present your ideas and then publish them on this blog and the CIPR Conversation, along with a brief bio.

Get cracking. You’ve no time to lose.

Photo by Maria Reyes-McDavis via Flickr with thanks.

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Stephen Waddington

Public relations thinker and doer. Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

9 Comments

  1. Thanks for the mention. I am indeed keen to publish articles by (and about) PR students.

    I publish most that I receive, but it’s worth noting why articles may fail to get published on Behind the Spin:

    – I won’t publish something that, in my view, won’t help your reputation. (There are lots of samey or banal articles out there.)
    – I won’t republish something that’s already appeared on your own blog. (I want original content).
    – I won’t publish something that might cause me legal difficulties (this is more likely to refer to copyright of a photo than to text).

    To end with a positive thought, I want to receive more profiles of senior practitioners. Who’ll write us a profile of @wadds (I’m sure he’ll agree if asked)?

  2. Hi Wadds, thanks for the mention.

    I do indeed publish guest articles. I enjoy listening to and learning from other comms professionals and have featured people at all stages in their careers on my blog, including a handful of PR students. I’m always keen to hear from others who would like to add to their portfolio in this way.

    You can read lots of guest articles I’ve published via this page: http://www.rachmiller.com/?page_id=4342. My blog also includes guidelines to help navigate through what works well for my readers and what doesn’t.

    I look forward to hearing from potential contributors, and wish the students all the very best with their studies. There are reading lists and recommended blogs via the resources page of my blog that they may find useful too, Rachel

    • Hi Rach,

      Thanks for stopping by. I find your blog an inspiration both for its content, and how you engage. Keep up the excellent work.

      All the best,
      Stephen

  3. Very helpful article and well worth a share. My favourite part is:

    “The inevitable question at the end of a presentation or workshop is, but how? How do you blog, curate and build networks, from a standing start?

    There’s no magic: the answer is just do it.”

    I guess you’ve just got to believe in yourself and have a bit of support.

    • Hi Stephen,

      Indeed. Just do it. Hope to feature some content from you very soon.

      All the best,
      Stephen

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