If you happened to miss Wednesdays PR-event “Meet the bloggers” and are currently being consumed by a certain feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), don’t worry; we have all been there. I hate missing out on things, especially when it is a networking event where I know I would have gained some great knowledge and met masses of interesting people. Luckily, I attended this Wednesday’s event, hosted by PRIA WA and our own fabulous Murdoch University, and I will kindly share my thoughts on the night with you whom couldn’t attend!
It truly was an insightful evening, where we had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion with 4 Perth bloggers who shared their insights on the world of blogging. Catherine Archer, whom most of us know as our lecturer and tutor in the PR-program, facilitated the discussion and she did a great job with bringing the conversations to life. I loved the fact that all the bloggers come from different backgrounds and write very different blogs, reminding us of how varied the world of blogging is. Amanda Kendle writes the blog “Not a Ballerina”, Jo Castro writes the blog “Lifestyle Fifty” and Sameera Afzaal and Aditya Bajekal (students here at Murdoch) writes the blog Dynamique.blog. A panel with big personalities enabled some great insights and some of the things they said truly stuck with me;
Sameera did not only give an amazing speech about overcoming people in your life who don’t believe in you, but she also gave some concrete advice for people who do blog or dream of starting one. It is easy – Do your research. As PR-practitioners we chuckle to ourselves because we already know how important this is, but we also know that some (such as managers, business owners or people we work with) may not always agree. Research takes time and it costs money, but to have a successful blog you need to know your stuff. It is competitive; make sure you don’t create something that is already out there. Check what are popular ways of spreading your blog posts, Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat? What does it cost to pay for sponsored posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and other avenues? Sameera and Aditya know all this; they spent almost 2 years researching before launching their blog.
It was great to listen to Amanda who has been blogging for ten years and now runs workshops on both blogging and social media to coach others in the expanding world of media. When she first begun blogging she used her blog as a portfolio and I believe this is where we can all take a note, because through her writing she got offered jobs, sponsorships and it truly opened the door to adventures she probably never anticipated. As PR-practitioners we get judged on our writing, and a blog is a great way to showcase not only your writing, but also your personality, something future employers want to see sooner rather than later.
Jo has the blog Lifestyle Fifty and she is also a freelance writer. When asked what she thinks of getting paid for writing certain posts on her blog she said something which I believe is a good thing for us to remember; “Gifts and things are great to get as thanks for writing a post, however it doesn’t pay my grocery bill. My family has to eat as all others”. It is easy to look at blogging as a trivial hobby for people who has got nothing better to do, it is not. Jo made the point that as a blogger you are not only a writer, you are the photographer, the editor, the strategic developer, the social media manager, etc. It is time-consuming and it is 24/7, when PR practitioners pitch stories to bloggers we need to be respectful and remember that this is a job like any other.
It was a great event and it once again reminded me of why I love this industry so much. By working in PR I will throughout my career be surrounded by people who will keep me inspired and challenge me to be creative and unprejudiced in every way possible.