#ScrippsSummerChallenge Week 2 & 3

By Cidnye Weimer

The #ScrippsSummerChallenge is now in full swing!

blogThe challenge for week 2 was to start a blog if you didn’t already have one, and if you did already have one share the benefits of blogging.

VP of Member Relations, Jess Carnprobst, shared some tips on how to start a blog for those that needed some advice and guidance. You don’t have to tell #ScrippsKids twice. Check out some of the awesome blogs members created for the challenge:

http://jessicacarnprobst.com/2014/07/13/blogging-putting-the-fun-back-in-writing/

http://kerrytuttle.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/6-benefits-of-blogging/

http://4internships.tumblr.com/post/91394099480/mid-summer-in-cleveland-ohio

http://ericasstonehill.wordpress.com/

For week 3 we took things in another direction and had members download the PRSA ethics app and share what they learned or why it was helpful. Take a look at what some of our members learned:

 

Lindsey Zimmerman’s tweet even got picked up by PRSA Issues & Trends!

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.27.49 AM

BE SURE TO JOIN IN ON OUR NEXT #SCRIPPSSUMMERCHALLENGE THIS WEEK!

#ScrippsSummerChallenge Tips: How To Start Your Own Blog

By Jess Carnprobst

 

Happy #ScrippsSummerChallenge week 2! Starting your own blog can seem a little overwhelming at first. I know this because as I started mine last summer and I didn’t even know where to begin. To get started, these are some different platforms you could start your blog on:

WordPress

UntitledWordPress is very user friendly and a great place to create your own blog. It’s also probably the most popular choice amongst our chapter. You have the option of going to wordpress.com or wordpress.org. WordPress.org will give you the ability to play with HTML and coding, whereas wordpress.com does it all for you. When you first sign up, you have the option of paying per year or signing up for free. I chose to pay the $18, and although I do believe it’s benefitted me and increased my SEO, don’t feel that you need to do this right away. It’s ok to start out with the free option and upgrade later on. Another plus of WordPress is that you can reblog blog posts from the PRSSA and ImPRessions blogs. This is a great way to showcase your work, as well as the work of your peers, on your personal website.

Tumblr

SSCblogtips
Tumblr is also a great option and something you may already have experience with. Tumblr gives you A LOT of freedom. When I first I started using it, I was actually overwhelmed with all of my choices, but it was a good overwhelming feeling nonetheless. Once you begin playing around and exploring your options, Tumblr becomes a lot easier. It is also free and allows you to create a blog that speaks to your brand.

Weebly

SSCblogtips2

Another option that seems to be popular is Weebly. I don’t have too much experience with this platform, but I do know that they have some pretty great theme options. I’ve seen many blogs housed on Weebly that look very nice and professional. The price is also comparable to WordPress, offering a free option as well as other payment options as you get more serious about your blog.

 

Through my inbound marketing certification in HubSpot, I recently learned that it is best to create a blog that is about 600 words. They don’t all need to be this long, but when you write, you should create something that benefits your reader. Often, it takes more than 200 words to do this. Also, every blog post you publish should have a picture. This draws readers in and makes each blog post more engaging.

If you’re having trouble writing content, set a schedule for yourself to decide how frequently you would like to blog and what topics you would like to blog about. Your blog doesn’t have to pertain to any specific subject, so just let your mind run wild. You can create lists, how-tos, feature stories or a basic blog about something you recently did or experienced. It’s best to mix up the format to keep your content interesting as well as keep your readers coming back.

Your final step should be to promote your blog and put the link to it on your social media accounts. You want people to read what you have to say, so make sure they see your work! Post on your accounts each time you create a blog post so people can read your newest work.

Now that you have an idea of where to start, it’s time to create your blog! I know I’m speaking for everyone when I say we can’t wait to see the finished product in the wrap next week.

 

Follow Jess on Twitter at @jess_carnprobst

10 websites that’ll make you a better blogger

By Morgan Borer

Before the age of the Pinterest – a bottomless pit of fashion, food, craft, wedding, home décor and career inspiration — where did college girls spend hours upon hours in hot pursuit of the perfect chevron canvas? Where did fashionistas go to find the ideal fur vest and plaid button-down combo? Who did bakers turn to for the perfect roasted garlic mac n’ cheese recipe? Maybe they dug up their grandmother’s cookbook, yellowed and stained from years past.

Before Instagram, who would have seen our (not so) professional photos of pink and purple macaroons? Would we have drooled over a photo of the glossy New York skyline, posted by some young celebrity in NYC? Probably not. Without Tumblr, where would we find articles such as “The Do’s and Don’t of Time Travel?” Where would we find a Marilyn Monroe quote for our Twitter bios?

Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are three of the most popular sites for inspiration-seekers everywhere. Bloggers turn to these sites for color, design, photography and writing inspiration. They allow bloggers to share content ideas and promote visual graphics, as well as interact with other bloggers across the globe. They are helpful to manage and maintain a blog in order for it to grow and become successful. While Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are instrumental for blogging success, there are several other websites bloggers should use to better their blog. While the list might seem never ending, here are ten helpful online programs for bloggers:

1.     Google AnalyticsFocus on your readers: who they are, where they come from, how they find your content. Analyze their characteristics and behavior. Also learn about your site traffic and strategies to keep visitors interested and engaged in your blog.
 
2.     Thesaurus.com This online dictionary and reference source is one of my personal favorites. I find myself on this website every time I write an article, blog post or research paper. Boring adjectives are so 2013.
 
3.    Bloglovin’Create an account or get the mobile app to find and follow your favorite blogs. This tool enables you to “like” and recommend blogs as well as connect with Facebook and Twitter to post your activity and connect with new friends.

4.    MashableWith 34 million monthly visitors and 14 million followers on social media, Mashable is the largest independent online news site that covers everything from entertainment to world news. It provides 24/7 updates to keep you in the groove, especially with social media and technology. 

5.    DaFont  – Save the boring Times New Roman font for research papers. Here, find and download creative, quirky fonts that you probably wont see in an everyday blog. Font themes range from “Fancy” to “Techno” and many in-between. This site even also allows you to create an account and submit your own fonts. Cool! 

6.    KloutLearn how influential your blog is across social media platforms. Klout measures multiple pieces of data to give you a “score,” a number between 1-10 that represents your influence online. It can also help you grow your influence to reach a bigger audience and improve interactions with followers. 

7.    Pixlr – Since I don’t have Photoshop on my Mac, I use Pixlr whenever I want to edit an image. This online photo editor allows you crop, re-size, and fix any photo. This is the perfect alternative to Photoshop, I guarantee it. 

8.    EHowInstead of thinking “Oh, I’ll Google it,” whenever you have a question, visit ehow.com to overcome challenges you face online. For example, the “Internet” category provides advice about Internet safety, and web design and development. An example article is “How to Keep the Header in Place on Tumblr,” which is complete with step-by-step instructions. This. Is. Awesome. 

9.    Style.com ­– As a fashion blogger and certified style addict, style.com is a must-read for me. Look no further for story ideas and inspiration – this site provides Fashion week images, in-depth reviews of shows, and front-row photos of celebrities, designers and socialites. It keeps you up-to-date on the hottest fashion and beauty trends.

10.  Problogger Basically, this website is a blogging bible. Everything you ever wanted to know about blogging content, infographics, layout design, how to make money blogging, search engine optimization – it’s all here. There are even blogging workbooks available for purchase on the site. Viola! 

Do you have any more sites to add to this list? Comment below! 

Why you should have a personal website as a PR professional

By Kelly Hayes

BlogWhen thinking about personal branding online, the first thought that comes to mind is usually social media. However, what else can be done? A personal website is the cherry on top of your personal brand. It explains your personality, your skills, who you are and what you do.

Why have a personal website you ask? Well… why not? It can be as simple as an online portfolio with your resume and relevant works or it can be an entire blog. Personally, I took the blogging approach.

If you have strong writing skills, showcase them! Having a personal website link on your business card/resume will not only look good, but it will showcase your skills to employers. I keep a personal blog as my personal website because I enjoy writing and it makes me feel good when others read my posts and give me positive feedback. There are things you should remember such as spelling and grammar, but make sure your personal website showcases who you are and what you are capable of.

When thinking about what website to use as your platform, I usually suggest WordPress. There are other options such as pressfolios.com, flavors.me (more stylish) or about.me. I would stay away from Blogger because the layouts aren’t always innovative and in my opinion, it doesn’t come off as professional as some of the others listed. If you’re stuck and looking for inspiration, check out some fellow colleagues blogs such as PR and Pixie Dust by Sarah Rachul, Jess Carnprobst and Briagenn Adams. Reminder: all of these are WordPress websites.

Moving forward, remember that applying yourself in the digital realm and showcasing your work online will only help you in trying to land that dream internship or job.

“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee

Kelly Hayes is a junior studying Strategic Communications. Follow her on twitter @kmshayes or on her blog at kellymshayes.wordpress.com.

#ScrippsSummerChallenge Week 3

By Briagenn Adams

If you thought last week’s #ScrippsSummerChallenge was inspiring, you were in for a sweet surprise with week three’s task: begin a personal blog.

Although fully committing to a personal blog can seem daunting, they are great PR tools. PR is all about communication, and what faster and more efficient means of communication is there besides the Internet? Personal blogs allow you to easily connect on an individual level with others while keeping your writing skills honed.

Daunting or not, we had a great pool of contributors! Whether they were just beginning a blog or simply revamping an existing account, Scripps PRSSA-ers attacked the challenge head on. (As usual.)

Here’s just a sample of our new and improved bloggers:

Mira Kuhar

Carley Berman

Kelly Hayes

Kerry Tuttle

Briagenn Adams

Jess Carnprobst 

Didn’t have time to start your own? No worries! It’s never too late to start blogging.

Stay tuned for this week’s #ScrippsSummerChallenge!