It’s almost 2014 and people are still asking me if they should start a blog.
The answer is no.
If you want to blog, find a successful site that has traffic. Find the editor. Ask her if you can contribute a post. Write something. See if it’s any good. Get feedback. If it turns out well and you enjoyed the process, do it again. If you work in human resources or you are a vendor, reach out to the editors of FistfulofTalent.com, Performanceicreate.com or TLNT.com for guidance. If you work in a different field, consider yourself lucky.
Will blogging help me sell stuff? Yes, but not directly. My friend Josh Bersin owned a company that he sold to Deloitte. He isn’t writing much original content for Deloitte, though. He uses his stature to blog for free on Forbes and LinkedIn while his own company’s website is littered with boring stuff. (Sorry to use you as an example, Josh.) Blogging is not a direct path to sales, but the great lie in life is that there is one direct path to sales.
Will blogging help me find a job? Probably not. Your article will come up when a recruiter conducts a potentially illegal Google search to understand your internet presence; however, unless the blog post is stellar and has a ton of comments, it might make you look like you have nothing better to do than blog.
Will writing a blog teach me something? Yeah, it will probably teach you that the internet can be an empty place that doesn’t offer much validation. It’s nice to see your name on a website, but nothing saps the fun out of the internet faster than trolls and perverts. It’s very common for anonymous readers to share misinformed opinions and say cruel things, and if your writing isn’t concise, people you know and love may misread what you’ve written and become offended. It’s not worth the hassle.
Why do you still blog, Laurie? Nobody asks me that question, but I will give you my answer: I am a character caught up in a hackneyed Scooby-Doo! Mystery Adventure. I will stop writing when I unmask the monster.
So if you want to write, you should be a writer. But you should be a smart businessperson, too. Do your research. Find eyeballs. Tap into an existing audience. Think about an integrated digital marketing plan.
And good luck finding your voice!