Ten years ago, the blogosphere seemed like a place for those looking to write about an interest outside of their jobs. Today, there are thousands of blogs covering a wide variety of topics, from recreational to career-focused. The spectrum of content is vast and ever-growing.
So, why blog?
What are the benefits when it comes to your career?
Real world examples show there are a number of benefits when blogging is done correctly. For those looking to switch careers or become more established in a certain industry, blogs are a great way to show expertise on a specific topic. And when you're the expert, your exposure will grow beyond your blog to other outlets. My career transition blog has led to appearances on television and radio, so the possibilities can be endless.
Another great benefit of blogging?
Extending your network. Bloggers do this through contests, blogger profiles, guest blogging, social media, and a variety of other methods. Similar to establishing yourself as an expert, growing your network can lead to an endless array of opportunities.
With these benefits, you may be ready to stop reading and start blogging, but before you do that, here are a few things you should consider:
1. Do You Have a Topic?
Before starting a blog, think about what you would like to be known for in your career and let that guide you in picking a topic. For example, if you're a marketing professional who is looking to establish your expertise in brand management, you'll want to create your blog around that topic. To get even more specific, if you want to display your knowledge in brand management in the retail and luxury goods industry, then use that framework to inform your blog content. At the micro level you also need to think about the specific keywords for which you want to be known. I talk more about this in U.S. News.
2. Can You Add Value to Your Topic?
You can always add value; you just need to be creative. Once you've determined your topic, think about ways you can expand upon the information that's out there. What do you bring to the table? What trends do you see coming down the pipe and what are your thoughts on the goings-on in your sector? Share your lens. In order to become a thought leader in your field, you have to know more than the masses and illustrate through your blogging, social networking and relationship-building why people should turn to you for both information and insight. The best way to ascertain if you can add value is through testing. Write one blog that is fewer than 600 words and post it on topical forums to gauge whether you are writing something of interest. Ultimately, tweak or rethink your angles if that launch piece flopped.
3. Do You Have the Time?
This is where you really need to be honest with yourself. Do you have the time to invest in growing and maintaining a blog? For starters, you'll need to update your blog on a regular basis. It does not need to be every day, but it should be often enough to keep readers coming back, particularly in the beginning. Beyond the maintenance of the actual blog, you will need time to nurture the growth of your social media platforms and blogger relationships, which is why it's important to be strategic about which platforms and relationships you choose to focus on. Don't sign up for everything just because you can; instead think about your audience and where they're located. This will help you manage your time.
The golden nugget is consistency, so pick one day every two weeks if you can manage that blogging schedule.
It's been the hardest part for me as my family has expanded exponentially, but it's my goal to nail my 2015 editorial calendar in the next 30 days.
4. Can You Stay Motivated?
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is whether you are persistent and can stay motivated. It will take time. There will be all nighters and initially little response. You will publish some pieces that underwhelm your expectations such as From Loud Chewing to Cherry Spewing, the Five Senses of Office Pet Peeves. So, how will you stay motivated? What will keep you coming back when you may feel as though you're writing for an audience of zero? These are questions to think about before starting to blog. You need a goal. Write out what you want to accomplish and perhaps review this goal every week. You can also turn to others influencers in your space and use their success to fuel your motivation. Whatever the method, it's key that in order to make this work, you have to be committed.
5. Do You Believe in What You're Doing?
What makes many of the most popular blogs so engaging is the clear passion that comes through. You can't fake interest in a blog topic when so much effort is put into growing that blog and becoming an expert on that topic, so you have to wholeheartedly believe in what you're doing. Ask yourself if you can envision researching and writing about your chosen topic for an extended period of time and whether you like the idea of becoming an expert in that area. If the thought fills you with anxiety, then you need to go back to the drawing board, but if you relish the idea of digging further into your topic and showing the world what you're capable of, then you know you've found the basis for your blog.
In answering these five questions, you'll not only learn whether or not you should start a blog, but also where your passions lie when it comes to building your career.
For further guidance on starting a blog, set up a 15 minute consultation with me.
My experiences in coaching and blogging will help you define your path and the inner thought leader waiting to emerge.