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.
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.