Monday, May 7, 2012

Blog as I say, not as I do

Image from
Lately, I have not been a good blogger.

My blog has been a bit like a local restaurant my husband and I like: we occasionally arrive at the door during "normal" business hours, only to find it closed.

We like the food, but over time, we've stopped even bothering to go -- it's a hassle to go there and find out we have to find someplace else to eat.

That's not good for business.

After a couple of months' hiatus, my blog is finally open again. Thank you for your patronage!

Your online activity says more about you than you might think

In the Creative Communications program at Red River College, where I teach public relations, our students learn about the importance of their personal online brand; in the program, we teach them to use the tools of social media to build and maintain it.

Employers tell us the first thing they do when they are seriously considering a job candidate is to Google him/her. So an emerging PR practitioner who wants to make a good impression on an employer will do well to have an active online profile that shows the employer what a fine, smart communicator he/she is.

Our students tweet, have profiles on LinkedIn, and use Facebook pages; some use Google+ and Pinterest.

And on top of all that, they blog. A good blog shows a prospective employer a number of important things, including:

1) the candidate has solid writing skills
2) the candidate has interests, opinions and observations
3) the candidate is able to manage time well
4) the candidate understands how to appeal to an audience

We require our students to blog every single week of the school year, because that kind of sustained effort helps keep readers coming back (which is a communicator's objective, after all) and because it shows an employer the candidate can sustain a project requiring new, generated content longer than a few weeks. An organization of any kind hiring someone to blog on its behalf wants to know a candidate has the attention span for the job.

It's a good thing I'm not applying for a job in PR anytime soon.

The work is worth it

Now that the school year has ended, our students don't have any marks tied to their blogs. But I hope many of them will continue their blogs throughout the summer... and for our new grads, beyond. A good blog that continues when others have dried up can only be a competitive advantage in the job market.

To read what our students and students are blogging about, check out the CreComm Blog Network.