Do PR Professionals Need to Blog to Be Successful?

Posted filed under Media Relations.

There are a number of things PR professionals are taught to do in order to be successful. A few that come to mind immediately are network with industry professionals, get involved with PR/communications organizations on a local or national level and build strong relationships with media.

Those are all important, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how blogging plays a part in succeeding in the PR industry. I’m talking about blogging in general – whether you have your own PR blog, contribute to your company/agency blog, contribute guest posts on other blogs/websites or blog about topics totally unrelated to PR. There’s value in all of those options.

Aside from giving you more opportunity to grow as a writer, blogging also:

  • Helps you build credibility as someone who has an expertise in whatever it is you choose to write about.
  • Fosters creative thinking.
  • Is a great way to build up positive Web content associated with your name.
  • Gives you experience with understanding analytics and SEO.
  • Can, and often times does, lead to a new job and/or professional development opportunities.
  • Allows you to learn the functions of blogging platforms (which is especially helpful if you are ever tasked with helping your company or clients add blogging to the marketing mix, or if you’re ever part of a website build or redesign where the site is built on a CMS like WordPress).

The list goes on.

Here are my two questions:

How crucial is it for PR pros at all levels to blog in some sort of capacity?
Do PR job candidates with blogging experience have a one-up on candidates who don’t blog?

Just kidding, I have a third question:

I know it’s possible to achieve success without blogging, but does blogging add a whole new layer to the success mix that isn’t achievable through action items like those listed at the beginning of this post?

My opinion? I’ve grown both personally and professionally since I started blogging in August 2007 (wow, that seems like eons ago!), and I highly recommend PR professionals blog in some capacity.

Each person defines success differently, but do I think it’s impossible to be a successful and accomplished PR professional if you don’t blog? No.

I would love to get thoughts from PR pros who do/don’t blog, anyone whose blogging experience helped them get a job and people who are in charge of interviews/hiring for PR positions. The comments are yours!

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Nikki Little serves as Identity’s social media manager and is responsible for managing the internal operations and growth of the social media team. She also serves as an account manager for several of Identity’s clients, focusing on integrating social media strategy with traditional communications efforts to help companies build brand awareness, create new customer relationships and grow their business. Additionally, Nikki manages the content on Identity’s blog, ID Tags.

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10 comments
A_myers05
A_myers05

As a student, I'm only beginning to understand how crucial strong writing skills in the PR world. I know that blogging can really stretch a writer but there are few rules to blogging, and I wonder how a PR professional can become a stronger writer without critique. I enjoyed this post. Thanks.

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Just start blogging! Be conscious of your writing and do your darnest to not make any spelling/grammar errors, but you become a strong writer by practicing writing. So you must practice. Thanks for reading/commenting. :)

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

I would absolutely agree with this post, Nikki. Remember "The Sunscreen Song"? Class of 1997 if I had one piece of advice: wear sunscreen. I'd change those lyrics to: blog. It develops so many skills as you've mentioned and also a fundamental understanding of how the Web works, how to market content, and how to create your own audience. If you can't do it for yourself, how can you do it for a client? Great post.

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Thanks for reading and chiming in, Frank. Love the "Sunscreen Song" reference! I definitely agree about needing to know how to blog yourself first before you can advise clients. And now that so many clients are interested in blogging, it's even more important to have that experience/understanding.

Allthingsjennifer
Allthingsjennifer

Interestingly enough, because I have been a blogger I ended up in the PR field professionally! Been blogging now for 8 years, personal blogging and love every minute of it! I never mention my professional life on the personal blog, although everyone knows...I have met so so so many people through blogging that I never would have met otherwise. I think it is a natural fit for the PR Types in the world. www.allthingsjennifer.com

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

That's awesome, Jennifer! You're the perfect example of how blogging can lead to career opportunities and new relationships. Thanks for sharing your story.

JenniferMarsikFriess
JenniferMarsikFriess

I’m a PR pro who doesn’t have a blog. However, I don’t count as a non-blogger, I guess, because I’m in that fuzzy grey area of people who have guest-posted for others, and I’m on my way to starting my blog. My past excuses: A. “There are a zillion PR (insert any genre here, and we could be talking to and about anyone) blogs out there, there’s nothing new to report.” B. “I’m getting business without a blog. It’s not essential to my livelihood.” Yes, there are a zillion blogs; and yes, I am getting business, but those excuses are weak. Here is a post from Shonali Burke that really helped push me: http://www.waxingunlyrical.com/2010/11/10/ten-reasons-pr-pros-should-blog/. To your point, Nikki, it’s an opportunity to continue to stretch your writing muscles and up your visibility. You nailed it in your third question: I’m a believer that the extra "layer" can only help: Help potential/existing clients and partners find you and know you. Help you discover new ways to communicate your message. It's a tool to create and cultivate. Ready, set, go!

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

That's great feedback, Jen. When I first started my personal blog, I specifically didn't make it a PR blog because I thought the same as you - there are already a ton of PR blogs, and I was concerned my posts would be too redundant. I've had the chance to write some PR/social media related posts on my personal blog, but I'm happy I chose to go a different route and not create a PR-specific blog. But, but I'm also glad I have Identity's blog for those industry specific posts. It's the best of both worlds. Best of luck when you launch your blog! I'll definitely be reading.

Ashleigh Chatel
Ashleigh Chatel

I really enjoyed this post and consider this to be something that PR professionals will need to evaluate as our careers progress. Writing is fundamental for our profession. Whether it is 140 characters, an email, press release or personal journal – we have to keep our writing fresh. I don’t think blogging is overly crucial for success, but that could change in time. However, because a person writes for or manages a blog, doesn’t mean they do it well. I think those who are most devoted to writing will ultimately prevail. If they blog and it is public, this could give a job candidate the ability to stand out. Agreeably, managing a blog makes one think on their feet and can enhance their process of storytelling. The ability to maintain and create new topics for posts is an invaluable creative tool for us to use well. Ultimately, writing well is important for communication professionals regardless of what medium is being used.

Nikki Stephan
Nikki Stephan

Really good points, Ashleigh! Blogging is not only an opportunity to develop/sharpen writing skills, but it's also really great for professional development. Thanks for chiming in. :)

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