Friday, February 2, 2018

Why Every Communications Student Needs a Blog

Hello, beautiful! Today on the blog, I wanted to show a different side of me (I hope!) - which is why I'm writing about my future career goals.

One thing you may not know about me is that I'm determined to pursue a career in communications. That's why today, I'm here to tell you guys why I think it's so important to write a blog as a communications student.

Granted, I didn't start a blog because I wanted to go into com - I didn't even know what I wanted to do yet when I first became a blogger! But being a blogger is one of the things that let me down my career path into com, and once I was in com, I quickly learned how essential it is to have this skillset in the industry.

Blogging will help bolster your career in so many ways. Today, I'm only going to be talking about the five most important reasons why you should start a blog in com - but trust me when I say that the sky is the limit when it comes to blogging in the communications industry! In fact, it's so important that my Writing for Communications professor assigned making a blog as one of our first assignments this semester - thankfully, I already had that assignment covered ;) Easy A or what?

All jokes aside, here are four essential reasons why you NEED to start a blog if you're going to study communications. In my opinion, it's non-negotiable - and you'll soon see why!

You'll learn skills you need for your career.

The most obvious reason why all com students should start a blog is that you're going to be practicing the most important skills you'll be using in your job every day after college. Don't believe me? Here's just a brief list of the skills I've honed since becoming a pro blogger:

  • Writing. Duh! That's what blogging is all about - but it's also the cornerstone of a successful career in communications, which is why it's so important to showcase your best conversational writing skills as a blogger pursuing com.
  • Social media. Not only does blogging teach you how to write captions and posts for social media, but it also gives you experience creating graphics and even building a following from the ground up. Everyone starts from the same place on social media - aka zero - but by proving that you can build an audience of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of viewers proves to a communications agency what you're worth, and shows clients in tangible terms just what your agency can give to them.
  • Content marketing. Did you know blogging is a form of content marketing? Every time you create a blog post and share it with your following, you're marketing your brand's content - aka your blog and its posts - to the world. That's how I figured out I wanted to go into content marketing: once I learned that blogging and content marketing go hand-in-hand, I realized there was a way to take my one true passion and truly make a living off it! 
  • Brand placement, pitching and media kit-creation. As a blogger, I'm constantly writing emails to brands and pitching them my best ideas. One cool skill I've learned that goes hand-in-hand with this is designing, updating and sending out media kits to show brands I want to work with what my numbers are like and why I'm the best blogger for the job. I love that I know how to do this because I'm now prepared to do the same thing for clients down the road - and that gives me an edge that not all college students have! 
  • Graphic design. Last but not least, because of blogging, I'm familiar with so many design terms and skills that I never would have discovered otherwise. For example, I code all of my templates for Blogger from a bare-bones outline, adding all the HTML and CSS myself to give my blog its characteristic flare. I also design my own graphics using programs like Canva, Gimp and the Adobe Suite - and because I do everything on my blog myself, I've built up a pretty impressive portfolio to show employers what I can do for them.

You'll build a personal brand and online presence.

Most big communications agencies these days aren't content to hire people who are just behind-the-scenes - they want someone who's established a brand for themselves and isn't afraid to put themselves out there. And blogging is the perfect way to show employers that you can do that! 

As a blogger, I have multiple social media accounts that are streamlined to include the same formatting, usernames, profile pics and color schemes. I also have a blog with its own unique voice, and carry that voice into my posts. All of those things put together comprise my personal brand - and as soon as an employer Googles my name or types it into Instagram, I'm proud to say that that's one of the first things they'll see about me. 

I highly recommend you start building a personal brand for yourself now rather than later if you want to go into the communications industry. Whether you're interested in PR, advertising or something else entirely, it's so important to show others who you are with your brand and online presence.

Your blog is a tangible example of your work.

If an employer wants to see what I'm capable of - whether it's a writing sample or a portfolio of my graphic design work - the easiest thing for me to do is link them to my blog, where all of those things live full-time. My blog is my social media presence, my personal brand and my following wrapped into one neat, pastel-pink package, which is exactly how I like it! 

Whenever I'm emailing back and forth with a potential internship, client or brand, I like to send them my media kit and blog link to show them all the cool things I can do as a communicator. I also like to keep my blog front-and-center on my LinkedIn page, so people who are looking for communicators like me in their workplace can easily find my profile in their search results.

In short, having a blog is the fastest way to ensure that employers won't write you off due to lack of experience. Your blog might not be a fancy internship, but it's an experience you literally created from scratch - and if that doesn't show employers how hardworking and dedicated you are, then they don't deserve you anyways! 

You'll come into any job experience with contacts.

As a blogger, if there's anything I've become way better at since I started, it's networking! I know, I know: the Internet definitely makes networking easier. But having a blog undoubtedly does, too! 

Because of blogging, I know other college students all around the world - some of whom have recently graduated and now have connections with employers! - and have developed personal and professional relationships with them. Additionally, I have email addresses for all the brands I've worked with in recent times, so I can easily reach out to them if my future employer is looking for a client to work with or a cool new brand placement.

In my experience, being a blogger is the fastest way to connect with someone you've never met before. In a PR internship interview? Mention you have a blog - chances are, your employer will have one, too, and start chatting with you in a much more personal tone! Framing your blog as a way to build professional contacts and network with people you've never met before is the perfect way to show others that you're serious about and dedicated to becoming a professional communicator.

Hey, bloggers: how has blogging helped you inYOUR major? LMK @haleymarieblog or in the comments below!