I read Laurie’s post Ten Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Blog, and asked if I could share a few thoughts in response. (Thanks to Laurie for the opportunity!)
She’s right — you don’t need a blog, especially if you’re not a strong writer. (In fact, please do not blog if you don’t write well, as it will only hurt your credibility.) Yes, there are other ways to build your all-important personal brand. However, if you have something smart to say, know your stuff, and are willing to invest the time, effort, and energy into creating a blog, blogging can be a very productive exercise.
Laurie said it best in her comment: “This whole site and my entire life is a testament to the advantages of blogging.” I feel the same way. I can trace every big business opportunity I’ve had to blogging (combined with meeting colleagues and potential clients via Twitter). Laurie actually recommended me to the publisher of my book, Social Networking for Career Success. Would she have thought of me if I hadn’t been blogging? I’ve never asked, but I’m thinking probably not.
That said, blogging is not a requirement, nor is it a magic success wand. It’s not going to solve all your problems, get your email in-box to “zero,” do your dishes, or tell you what to wear in the morning. However, if you have the talent and skills necessary to do it well, blogging about a topic that supports your professional brand can be a bridge to your next best career move. (Maybe even to an opportunity you haven’t even considered.)
Having a blog gives you a hub to showcase what you know. It’s a landing pad to connect your social media activities and a virtual “home” to share information about you. If you have a business or if you are looking for an opportunity, a well-written blog may convince someone you’ve got what it takes to get the job done.
Blogging regularly and well forces you to keep up with what’s going on in your industry. You’ll need to read other blogs in your field and study the news if you want to write a blog worth reading. This ups your game and helps make you more marketable.
Blogging can be your ticket to a select club and community of colleagues. Sustained, consistent blogging takes effort. If you do it well, you’ll be a member of a relatively small group – a potentially supportive community of people who will go to bat for you, challenge you, and serve as a sounding board.
Especially if your blog lives at YourName.com, you will earn more control over search results for your name. When you Google yourself, do you uncover what you want people to know about you? If not, hosting a blog on your domain and tagging your posts with your name will help enhance your search engine status.
It’s possible to access industry leaders or attract attention simply by writing about people you want to notice you. For example, Katherine Simmons, CEO of NETSHARE told a story in my book about how starting an online dialogue in his blog helped Walt Feigenson land a job in a new industry, when he wasn’t even looking. One of my clients who began posting on a blog regularly way before he wanted a new job now has recruiters and industry leaders knocking on his door because he built a platform and they see him as an industry leader. (Which he always was, but now, more people know it.)
Can you be successful without a blog? No doubt! Can having a blog enhance your potential opportunities? When done well, with an eye on community building and a focus on expanding your network and interacting with leaders in your field, yes, it can. Remember, you don’t need thousands of readers a day. You only need to try to attract a niche, targeted audience.
When I coach job seekers and entrepreneurs, the first thing I tell them is, “There is no one, right way to accomplish your goals.” The trick is to uncover your distinct skills to exploit. My mantra? “You’re unique, and your approach to the market needs to be unique, too.” Maybe blogging is for you, or maybe not.
Miriam Salpeter is owner of Keppie Careers. She teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to leverage social media, writes resumes and helps clients succeed with their goals. Miriam writes for U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” column, CNN named her a “top 10 job tweeter you should be following,” and Monster.com included her in “The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Search.” She blogs at KeppieCareers.com and GetASocialResume.com.