Monthly Archives: March 2016

A PR reading list: my favourite blogs

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I’ve said it many times before… PR is a kaleidoscopic field which is under constant change. Due to this, it’s so important for people with an interest in PR, or working within the industry to stay up-to-date on current trends and issues within the sector from a range of different voices.

Why is reading other people’s work important? I think this question applies particularly to students. It’s important to remember that we can all learn from one another and help each other build new ideas, concepts and theories. Although this may be surprising to some, I firmly believe that student blogs are just as insightful and useful as professional ones. You’re provided with fresh interpretation when you read a blog post that has been written by a student. The interpretation is sometimes that of an experimental one and mistakes can be made, but isn’t all of this is part of the learning process?

Here’s a list of my favourite PR blogs I read regularly and recommend to those of you looking to expand your reading list:

  1. Spin Sucks
  2. PR Daily
  3. PR Week
  4. PRgirlinaprworld
  5. LivelaughlovePR
  6. Behindthespin
  7. PRexamples
  8. Theprgirl
  9. NatsPRscribbles
  10. PRprointraining

The one piece of advice I would give to people contemplating a career in PR is to read as much as you can. Add five blogs to your reading list and have a read through them when you have a few spare minutes. You’ll be surprised just how much content you can get through when you’re waiting for your pasta to boil, sitting on the train or looking after your nightmare siblings.

Blogging: do’s and don’ts

For the most part, the concept of blogging is fairly simple. It’s primarily non-academic writing which means that you’re free to express your thoughts online in a style that can mimic spoken language more so than with essay writing.

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Here’s my list of do’s and don’ts for blogging:

Do set yourself a word limit. I think 400-600 words is acceptable for a blog post. It’s so easy to go off on a tangent when you’re blogging. Tangents are OK – but if you’re writing a post about how much you love dolphins, don’t talk about the sustainability of trains in paragraph 3.

Do keep it visual. We have all heard that “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Images add a level of depth that can’t always be achieved with the written word. Always try to have one visual included.

Do write about things that interest you. You can always tell if someone’s writing because they’ve been badgered by a lecturer to publish something or if they’re doing it because they enjoy the topic. As a reader it’s so much more enjoyable to look at a piece that a blogger has invested time into.

Do post regularly. Even if nobody is reading your blog, it’s a space that future employers could potentially be looking at. If you can take time out of your academic and/or working life to blog about things that interest you, it gives you the opportunity be experimental with your writing and build an online portfolio. One post a week is a good aim but don’t give up completely if you forget to upload content for a few weeks.

Don’t only give one side of an argument. It’s ok to be critical of something, but your readers will need to make up their own minds on a subject and you should keep your writing neutral and  balance it out by providing an opposing point of view.

Don’t use words that you don’t know the meaning of. Just keep in mind that if you don’t know what something means, it’s likely that people reading your work will also be unsure of the word meaning. The greater danger is of course that the vocabulary you’ve mistakenly used isn’t relevant at all – then you’ll just look like a tit.

Strikes; are they harmful to reputation?

I was pulling up to the entrance of Southmead hospital yesterday morning when I noticed a  relatively small group of protestors at the gates. Unbeknown to me at the time, it was the first day of a 48-hour strike held by junior doctors across the UK.

Today, 5,000 procedures and operations in the UK will be canceled due to junior doctors striking in a bid to get their voices heard by the government amongst proposals to change their contracts. And yes, we have to take into account that it’s a government organisation so the usual PR protocol doesn’t necessarily stand here… But it’s still creating an interesting buzz.

The media began by arguably vilifying the situation, now we have more information on their reasons for striking, we realise that perhaps there’s more than meets the eye and we’re hearing the voices of the people it’s directly affecting which is consequently creating masses of online conversation. This isn’t a post on junior doctor strikes, but seeing the small demonstration in Bristol yesterday had me thinking about the severity of striking.

Is striking harmful to an organisation?

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Well, like every different subject relating to this industry my answer is; “it depends”.

Striking has the potential to be harmful for a reputation because it suggests that there’s a dispute within the organisation and forces light onto the internal workings of said organisation. This affects reputation due to the fact that it can be alarming to consumers. Trust can be lost and once it’s lost, it’s extremely difficult to regain.

According to the Quoted Companies Alliance and BDO, the combined reputations of all UK-listed companies was valued at £1.7 trillion in 2015. This figure surprises some because you can’t reach out and touch reputation, it’s easy to talk about but managing reputation is a long and sometimes costly process.

The junior doctor strikes highlight the importance of the fact that any given business or organisation – governmentally funded or not – must plan for issues. The reputation of a business is priceless, you can’t do enough to nurture it. It’s highly unlikely that a strike will turn into a crisis, but it is an issue. As long as you plan and prepare for issues relative to this, you can avoid them and bypass damage to your own reputation.