Bright Lights Big City, a PR and lifestyle blog, has a heavy focus on PR and social media but, the blog also discusses lifestyle such as film, days out, beauty, and places to eat.
I knew from a very early stage of getting into PR that I should blog. I was very aware that it was a good way to showcase your skills, learn to write and that it opened up opportunities. But, like most people I lacked a lot of confidence.
It was my Masters in PR, the support of my course friends and my mentor PR expert Catherine Sweet, that encouraged me to start blogging.
After being inspired by my job, reading blogs online and meeting a local blogging community, I decided to commit to blogging in August 2016. If I tried my best for a couple of months and it wasn’t helpful I could then stop and be satisfied that blogging wasn’t for me.
Just by doing a few simple things, like posting regularly, I soon started to notice a lot more people reading my blog and engaging with my posts.
I started seeing some results like getting recognition from Sarah Stimson. She put me on her 50 UK PR female blogger list. This not only introduced me to other bloggers, but it was a real boost to my confidence. Sarah will probably never know that this little boost did so much for me at a moment when I was really doubting myself. (If you ever read this Sarah, thank you so much!)
My first blogging event with Southampton Bloggers was with MAC cosmetics. Maureen Seaberg, who collaborated with MAC to make the new lip product, re-tweeted and liked my blog not once, but three times! We even had a conversation on Twitter.
I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it that she’d picked up on my blog, let alone that she might have read it. I still find it hard now to understand the power I have to connect with other people from the comfort of my own living room. The power of blogging is amazing!
All these things started to help me gain traction. I got listed on Vuelio, invited to more Southampton Blogger events and also started to seek out PR opportunities myself. It’s really opened up some fun opportunities to get involved with and to try out my writing skills.
Most recently Bright Lights Big City got listed on Vuelio’s top 10 UK PR blogs by women on International Women’s Day 2017. This was followed by an interview with them too, the experience was so valuable as it gave me the chance to reflect on my blog, where I started, how I’ve developed and where I am now. The more I put in, the more I get out.
I’m really enjoying blogging now and love the new opportunities to try things and to challenge myself. It’s put me in touch with some incredible people and I’ve done some wonderful things.
The best part though was when my blogging became useful at work. As I had lots of blogging contacts that I’d formed outside of work I had a network ready when a project came up with a new client we had taken on. At work I was allowed lots of responsibility and got to help run the event. All my hard work at home had paid off and it was great to feel extra useful in my day job.
I was then invited to give a talk at the University I’d graduated from. After the talk it really hit me that I’d come much further than I thought in a very short space of time and the hurdles I’d overcome.
A blog gives you a voice, and a platform to share your skills and your passions. If you’re starting out in PR this is a great way to showcase your skills, build a portfolio and to get noticed.
Since then I’ve been finding ways to develop the blog further. The more I thought about why I created it, the more I realised I wanted to help people through the experiences I had getting into PR with advice that’s actually useful.
It’s taken me a while to figure out how I wanted to do that. I want to get information straight from the source, the people on the ground doing PR, events, marketing and advertising every day. Their advice will be invaluable to people who are starting and developing their careers. So recently I created The #StartingOut Series which aims to help new PR practitioners with useful blog posts and interviews with key industry practitioners.
I’ve written a lot about my journey, a lack of confidence and following an unconventional path into the career I wanted to pursue. Blogging helped me face my fears and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
I hope my blog helps anyone else who’s found themselves in the same situation as me, from those who are at the start of their PR journey to those who are in the middle of it. PR is tough and I’m here blogging about it to offer support and as a reminder that you’re not alone!