A Conversation on The Let’s Chat Comms Podcast

I really enjoyed this conversation with Phillipa Chikwedze on her Let’s Chat Comms podcast series. Aside from getting the chance to discuss my business journey we talked about all things PR, Communications, Crisis and social media. What I particularly enjoyed about recording this interview was the authentic energy between Phillipa and I. Whilst we have had different journeys within public relations we have had some similar experiences and perspectives particularly as Black women in the industry so it was really good to be able to have an open and honest conversation on this dynamic new platform. I am really passionate about encouraging more Black women to be visible in the industry and whilst this isn’t a conversation specifically about our experience as Black women it indicates how much we bring to the proverbial table and how much we can offer each other and the wider industry.

Let’s Chat Comms is a communications focused podcast platform on which Phillipa interviews individuals in public relations, working in a variety of sectors for an insight into their roles and their career journeys. I hope this podcast series makes an impact across the industry and gives listeners an insight into the PR industry in a relevant and relatable way.

Is Blogging Still Relevant?

Given that I’m writing this piece on my own blog the immediate answer to the question posed in the title is YES – blogging is still relevant. But in the ever evolving digital media and new media space it is important to consider what factors are at play when it comes to how people are engaging with and consuming content. With a number of major online media platforms like HuffPost, BuzzfeedMic making cuts or going into administration like The Pool it is clear that the digital space is under pressure. Obviously those platforms are driven by different forces than a standard blog but for those who use blogging to engage with their audience there are lessons to be learnt from what is happening in the digital space.

Are Blogs still relevant?There are a number of reasons why blogs are created: individuals want to showcase their passion for a certain area of life (food, travel, parenting, fashion, careers etc) or business brands want to communicate to a wider audience or as a means of income as blogs with high click through rates can attract advertising revenue.  For the purposes of this piece I will put the financial motives of blogging to one side and focus on the content driven motives. In terms of traditional content marketing  blogs are still a great way of communicating with key stakeholders and interest groups and a effective way to showcase thought leadership. Business owners/service providers can use blogs to showcase their skills and knowledge through owned media as opposed to waiting for earned media features/profiles. This is ideal for reputation management purposes and to maintain continued trust with audiences; it also allows for a level of control in terms of framing perception and understanding of a brand or individual.  However things are changing and one wonders whether blogs are still the most effective way reaching new audiences in such a noisy digital space.

Although blogs are originally a form of social media, a variety of social media platforms have put a strain on blog engagement and interaction. According to research conducted by Chartbeat in 2016, the more shares of a link to an article achieved on Facebook did not actually lead to an increase in engagement of the piece being shared. This shows that despite Facebook being a popular platform to share blog posts and articles people aren’t necessarily reading posts – from personal experience it would appear that most people take pleasure in commenting on a headline as opposed to reading the post in full. Instagram has had an impact on how content is consumed, with influencers and content creators who may have started with traditional blogging interfaces now seeing more engagement on their instagram accounts. Let us not forget my personal favourite, twitter is technically a micro blogging platform so aside from having more characters to play with (Twitter increased the character limit from 140 to 280 in 2018) twitter threads have been a popular way of increasing reach and engagement in a compact real-time way that perhaps traditional blogs cannot contend with. But another issue is not only what platforms people are consuming content from but how they choose to consume content. Podcasts and videos have had an impact on how people are consuming messages. More and more people are choosing to tune into podcasts and video content continues to be popular.

All is not lost though! Visual platforms like Pinterest can actually drive traffic to blogs if used consistently and strategically. Blogs can integrate new media formats in a way that maintains authenticity as well as relevance. Authenticity within the blogging arena has always been its winning factor – blogs allow for a targeted approach to communication which connects with a key audience in a way that can sometimes be lost in the busy atmosphere of the digital landscape. And whilst metrics may reflect that engagement or clicks aren’t necessarily at their optimum, should we be measuring a blog simply by the number of clicks  in order to make it relevant? Yes measurement is important probably more so when focus on income generation but surely blogs don’t always have to feed into the same capitalist beast that is causing the demise of those mainstream media platforms I mentioned at the start of this piece. Perhaps what we should really be focusing on is the impact of content not the numbers and if we do blogs will always be relevant.

She Owns Success: How To Build a Successful PR Business While Being Your Authentic Self

I was recently interviewed by Antonette Oloo for her podcast channel “She Owns Success” in which I spoke about my PR business journey and the lessons that I have learnt along the way. The interview was a great opportunity for me to take stock and also to share some of the very real challenges and breakthroughs I have had a long the way. PR is a fascinating industry to be part of and quite often it is misunderstood, so this was a great chance to set the record straight and also enlighten listeners.

This was such a fun interview to take part in and I hope I left listeners with some insightful messages.  Listen to the episode here:

Here were some of my nuggets:

There are certain places where unless you can grow a really thick skin and build a support network, it can be tough!

The world will tell you that you are not good enough, especially as a woman in business. We see that with the gender pay gap and the ethnic pay gap as well.

Know that who you are is important and know that you can have a fantastic business and career being who you are authentically

Find beauty, even when it can be dark and even when you are going to be tired.

How To Build a Successful PR Business While Being Your Authentic Self