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You need a blog TODAY!

If you consider yourself a professional anything, you need a blog. A blog is nothing more than a topical website with frequent updates which allows folks to share their thoughts on your work and provides a running history of what you’ve written.

Don’t worry–you don’t have to write every day once you create your blog. It doesn’t hurt if you write every day, but you don’t have to. If you plan to get ahead in the field of your choosing, though, you need a blog.

start_a_blog

Why do you need to start a blog?

1) Blogging creates visibility – If folks don’t know you exist, it doesn’t matter how great you are. More and more recruiters and headhunters are doing a Google search of prospective candidates. Having a blog on the topic you are passionate about gives folks a sample of your style and thoughts on the topic. It gives them just what they may be looking for: a way to know you better before they even talk to you.

Not everyone will agree with everything you write, and you may even lose out on some jobs because of what you write. Wouldn’t you rather know you’re not a fit before you interview or begin work somewhere rather than after you have accepted a job?

2) Blogging creates a safe place for conversations to happen – Think of your blog as your living room. You can invite folks into your house and set the rules for participation. You can create a blogging comment policy, decide what to talk about, and determine how it looks and who can visit you. Don’t be fooled; you don’t get total control, but you do get significant control. And wouldn’t you rather have your friends visit your house than you traipse over to theirs every time?

2) Blogging improves your writing skills – The more you write, the better you write. Obvious, I know. Still, it’s worth saying. When I started out writing a blog, my writing skills were just okay. Now, I’d say they are well above average, and I am able to get my thoughts written faster and more accurately. The more you write, the better your writing skills become.

3) Blogging connects you with people who can help you – You’d be surprised at the people who will come out of the woodwork to help you when you ask for help on your blog. There are tons of searches done every day on every topic imaginable. Folks you’d never be able to connect with in person because they are halfway around the world might stop by and offer to help. Folks at a competing company might offer to help you. Folks at your own company might offer to help you. But you’d never receive all that help if you didn’t have a blog within which you could ask for it.

4) Blogging allows you to help others – Just as others will help you, you can help others, too. From folks who e-mail you asking for help, to folks who leave a comment on your blog, to anyone who links back to you, to folks you had no idea were reading your blog, you will be able to help others when you write well on popular topics.

5) Blogging clarifies your thinking – The more you write about a topic, the more you know about the topic. The more you know about a topic, the more you clarify what you believe about a topic. Greater clarity leads to a greater ease with which you can handle the routine things that come your way. I write about a lot of really basic management stuff at Slacker Manager, and I’ve realized that many people need help with the most-basic aspects of management, so I keep writing about the basics.

6) Blogging allows you to be seen as an expert – If you write about the same topic over and over again, and if you interview experts, and if you read what other people say about a topic, you’re going to become well-versed in whatever topic you choose. The more time you spend, the better you get at it. The better you get at it, the more people will see you as an expert. Remember what I said in reason 1: It doesn’t matter how smart you are if nobody knows your name. If you’re putting it out there day in and day out, you’re going to make a name for yourself, and you’re going to be seen as a better source than the person next to you who isn’t writing about their knowledge.

What do you think? Do you think you need a blog?

7 Responses to You need a blog TODAY!

  • Hi Phil.
    I do agree! I started blogging about one year ago. I have written about 120 posts. The best thing about it is: “Blogging clarifies your thinking” – I have developed as a leader, because I have managed to find what I believe works for me. I have a clear set of values, and blogging makes me think, re-think and reflect. I started because I have always wanted to write and I could make some money blogging. But this has changed. I now blog for my own mind cleaning. I do think it is fun when what I write get positive attention, but I do blog mostly for your points 4 and 5.

    And I have met a lot of very interesting people and made new friendships online. I have been able to brainstorm with international well known business coaches, consultants and leaders. Wow that is something that I would never be able to do outside of the internet world. I must say that starting a blog was the best thing I could do to develop myself as a leader.

    Just do not expect to become rich doing it, but you will become “rich” in knowledge, friendship and experience. And my english is better :)

    Happy blogging.

    Frode

  • Dear Phil -

    Two years ago, I did not know exactly what a blog was.

    Now I do. Who knew?

    1. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. For one thing, you get instant response. If you write abook, it could take months.

    2. You meet like minded people you would have never known existed – and some of them turn out to be real friends.

    3. You get the opportunity to share experiences and wisdom that the reader needs.

    For example -

    I wrote a post a few years ago called “When Your Husband Dies – A survival guide.” I had absolutely no idea it would turn into a forum for widows. There are about 130 women on it helping each other.

    4. It keeps you company in the harsh winters!

  • Phil, I feel compelled to be a voice advocating a bit of selfishness when it comes to blogging. Much of the advice we hear about blogging has to do with the needs of the blog’s reader and audience, or they are caveats (wise ones) about the consistency and discipline it takes. A blog needs to be thought of as this separate person you are growing, nurturing, and mentoring.
    I have been blogging for 5 years come August, and all of the good advice and “be careful what you wish for” caveats are accurate. Much as I love the blog audience I now refer to as our Ho‘ohana Community of readers and want to serve them, I must be honest about going for the selfishness which has to do with continual learning about your idea capacity.

    In my coaching I will constantly hear people lament that “I’m not someone who gets very many great ideas” and it simply isn’t true. We all get the automatic firing of ideas large and small as we go about our day, but we don’t intercept ourselves and engage in them. I find that is the single biggest advantage to blogging: Wondering “what shall I blog about next?” magically converts into this box of opportunity into which we drop our ideas. We finally notice them, capture them, box ‘em up into our blog draft queues, and then when we write, we write to think about them more fully.

    So I agree: Yes, do blog! And blog for the selfishness, because you have pure gold inside of you and I want to read about it.

  • Phil:

    Great post! I’ve been blogging for a little more than a year and getting ready to make the switch from Blogger to WordPress. Your point #6 brings to mind something I am wrestling with – being an expert. As someone with well over 10 years of work experience in advertising, sponsorship, print production I don’t feel like an expert. Yes, I have accumulated a lot of general work and life experience, but I still don’t consider myself an expert at anything. But I agree with your point about writing, exploring and living your topic long enough to be considered an expert. Good stuff.

  • Phil — I couldn’t agree more! I was very skeptical when I met you at Sobcon08 after Timothy Johnson dragged me to Chicago. But, after really digging deep and finding my passion for writing I have run with the concept and am near 1 year into my experience. I just upgraded the Blog to WordPress…I am very excited. I have found nothing else couples with an active Blog other than Twitter. If you are not tweeting with your domain name and driving people back to read your Blog you are wasting time even Blogging. Thanks for all the direction and motivation Phil!

    • Glad you’ve drank the Kool Aid and that it is good Pete. Blogging is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, and meeting you and Timothy and others in person is a direct result of my blogging.

      Hope to see you live again sometime soon!

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