In an article republished from his own blog, Stephen Waddington describes the #bestPRblogs contest and announces this year’s winner. We also pick our student photographer of the year.
Today is a special day. I’m going to announce the winner of the Britain’s Best Student PR Blogger for 2015 – via a blog post appropriately enough.
But you’re going to have to wait for a moment or so first, to hear about the competition and why it’s important.
Britain’s Best Student PR Blogger is the brainchild of public relations academic and teacher Richard Bailey (@behindthespin). He’s also the editor of Behind the Spin and writes his own blog PR Studies.
Richard started the competition in 2013 to promote the work of student bloggers. In the process he’s built a highly engaged and active community.
The competition kicked-off with the new academic year in October and ran for six months. 59 students from 12 universities across the UK have posted 155 articles.
There’s been a weekly report on Behind the Spin (link to final report) and a lively #bestPRblogs community on Twitter.
Blog to learn, network and get ahead in your career
Blogging is an excellent way to learn, build a network and promote your expertise. Alongside a Twitter network, and LinkedIn it’ll put you ahead when it comes to getting a job.
I hope that everyone that participated in the competition will continue to blog.
Richard selected five finalists who have battled it out over last month to be crowned Britain’s Best Student PR Blogger for 2015.
My job has been to review the blogs on the all-women shortlist and pick a winner.
Blogs are a means of sharing a point of view first and foremost. I wanted to learn from the students. Second I wanted to see an effort to build a community. Finally I was looking for technical competence in design and function.
All five bloggers used WordPress and responsive templates for mobile and web.
Where they differed was in their content, design, integration to social media profiles, commenting, linking, contact information and personal profiles.
Here’s how I ranked the five public relations student bloggers.
In third place are Morta Jablonskaite (@MJablonskaite) and Simona Novakova (@novakova_simona).
Morta has used a visual WordPress template called Spun for justPRblog. You have to navigate past the homepage to discover the content. Once you do you’re rewarded with well-written posts laid out in a clean design. There’s a mix of analysis of public relations campaigns, interviews and insight about different areas of practices. Her use of a personalised URL is excellent but I’d liked to have seen more social media integration.
SN’s PR Campaigns Blog
Simona has used the hosted WordPress Chateaux template for SN’s PR Campaigns Blog. She loses the search benefit of personal branding by not using her full name in the title but her masthead design is striking. The content leaves you in no doubt that this is a young practitioner with ambition. There’s a palpable energy to the content. In each case she includes a mix of campaign analysis and insight from practice. In each post she mixes the written word with images and video.
In second place are Ashley Keir-Bucknall (@ashleykb91) and Lauren Old (@lolly_jay).
Comms and Caffine
Ashley’s Comms and Caffeine blog uses the Adele WordPress template. It’s a good portfolio design with links to her social media profiles. She’s a prolific blogger often posting several posts per week. The content is a mix of campaign analysis and insight into areas of practice. Ashley isn’t afraid of controversial subjects; a recent post takes on the Protein World campaign. Her next job is to work on engagement around her content to generate comments and inbound links.
Old Dog, New Tricks
Lauren’s Old Dog, New Tricks blog makes me smile. It makes great use of the Saga theme template mixing visual images and text. The home page invites you to explore the blog. I couldn’t find an About Me page, social profiles or any way of getting in touch with Lauren but the content makes up for that shortfall. Each post is considered and insightful. Lauren tells the story of a mature student and the challenges of balancing study and family life.
The winner is Livi Wilkes (@LiviWilkesPR).
Live Love Laugh PR has been created by Livi using the Penscratch WordPress theme. She’s already thinking about landing her first job with her blog content, About Me page, blogroll and Twitter feed all accessible from the top of her home page. Live Love Laugh PR isn’t the most visually appealing of the five blogs but Livi has gained more than 100 followers via WordPress and a similar number of inbound links. The content is mix of personal and professional views and the writing style is honest and engaging.
Congratulations Morta, Simona, Ashley and Lauren, but especially Livi. You all have brilliant careers ahead of you.
Thank you to Richard for running this project over the past seven months and inspiring a new generation of public relations bloggers.
Congratulations to Ong Yi Shen (UWE Bristol) @oysays on Instagram, our student photographer of the year.
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