By: Jaclyn SarandreaSession: Blogging Rules to Break and Follow

Presenter: Ron Culp and Anne Waddington

Having a very minimal background within the blogging world, I went into the “Blogging Rules to Break and Follow” session with an open mind and ready–to-learn attitude. Speakers Ron Culp and Anne Waddington both maintain successful blogs of their own, so hearing their insight was very valuable.

Anne’s blog, “As Seen on Anne,” is revolved around beauty and lifestyle.Ron’s blog is called “Culpwrit,” where its main focus is to give insight on guiding a career within public relations.

The speakers made the audience aware of how many individuals are blogging in today’s society and what the process of creating a blog entails. Blogging is not just a “fad,” but should be viewed as people putting themselves out there and discussing things viewers might be afraid to speak aobut. It’s all about giving one’s own insight on something and being the one to inspire people who read it.

Each piece of advice the speakers gave was not limited to just blogging, which was able to truly grasp my attention. With being a public relations major, I am constantly on social media, trying to brand myself and constantly searching to find new ways to stay relevant and interesting within this world, I was able to interpret what they were saying and apply it to my own goals. The main takeaways I had from that session had to deal with: becoming an expert, being authentic, seeking inspiration and not being afraid to experiment.

In the sense of “becoming an expert” Anne and Ron suggested to create an inspiration binder, expand on any ideas that pop into our minds and always have the motivation to want to learn more. If you’re brave enough to post something online, you must keep in mind that you are showing people knowledge and thoughts you have, so be sure that you are passionate and knowledgeable about what you are saying. Above all, you must have the spark and inspiration to put yourself out there with hope that you could inspire others.

Trying to be authentic is not as easy as it seems and “imitation is not always the highest form of flattery”. The speakers suggested that you need to always share your original ideas and content and to remember that just because something is working for someone else does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Believe it or not, people want to get to know YOU, so have that shine through all your posts, messages or pictures you take. They claim that there is no shame in using ideas, pictures or quotes from your everyday lives. This makes you more relatable to your audience, not just a stranger behind the computer screen.

The last piece of advice the speakers gave that really stuck with me is to not be afraid to experiment with everything you do. They told us that one of the only ways to grab someone’s attention is to set you apart from others and stretch yourself to the maximum capacity. We are all trying to make it out in the real world, but they claimed that we will be a lot happier furthering ourselves in our career while doing something we are passionate and happy about. Ron and Anne added multiple times that if you don’t gain a large audience right away to not be discouraged at all. It took them multiple years to get where they are now and without sticking the rough times out, they would not have succeeded and thrived in their lives, like they are now.

Like I mentioned from the beginning, before this session I was hesitant about the world of blogging. However, Ron and Anne opened up my eyes and made me realize that my worth is so much more than I thought. With having a desire to put yourself out there in the world, whether it’s on a blog or social media, you must stick to staying true to yourself and putting your best foot forward. They reminded me that nothing good will come easy and it does take a lot of hard work to get to where you want to be, but if you vow to not give up and to never sacrifice who you are, then the possibilities of where you will end up are endless.

Jaclyn Sarandrea is a junior at Grand Valley State University studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is an active student on campus where she is a member of Phi Mu Sorority, the VP of Public Relations for the Panhellenic Community, and apart of various clubs. Jaclyn has big goals for after college that includes: traveling and exploring more of the world, landing a job that she is passionate about and to one day create a family of her own.