#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

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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

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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

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 1

By: Nicole E. Spears

The Scripps Summer Challenge program was introduced for the first time last week to help Scripps PRSSA members keep in touch, as well as in tune with their PR skills, over the long summer months.

Last week’s #ScrippsSummerChallenge asked Scripps PRSSA members to connect with a professional using social media. Unfortunately, we don’t have any testimonials to share with you this week.

Instead, here are some ideas of how you can use social networks to make new professional connections:

  • Twitter: It may be the easiest way to start a conversation. Tag someone with an article you think they may be interested in, ask a question, or simply introduce yourself. Don’t forget that if they’re also following you, you can use a direct message to make a more legitimate connection.

  • LinkedIn: It’s true that it is a bit counterproductive to “connect” with people that you don’t know on LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean that you should rule it out for networking. Joining groups and starting discussions is not only great for finding new connections, but for continuing your education outside of the classroom or office. Also, check out this post by Cidnye Weimer about using LinkedIn for networking.

  • WordPress: Reading is so important for young professionals, and a lot of great content is coming from fellow PRSSA members or colleagues. Use the WordPress reader to keep up with some blogs, and comment on posts that resonate with you.

  • About.me: If you’ve seen other’s About Me pages, you might have thought they were simply a bio. However, an About.me profile is a great complement to a blog or website. By including your keywords, it can help build your online presence and SEO results, making it easier for others to connect with you.

How else do you make connections using social media?

Scripps PRSSA’ers, don’t forget to take part in next week’s Scripps Summer Challenge! Look out for the email about each new #ScrippsSummerChallenge on Monday mornings.