A 2006 ABC News article defined blogs, or “web logs,” as online diaries focused on particular themes, topics or interests. While this was a technically accurate description back then, six years later blogs have evolved into so much more. No longer just vehicles for the late-night ramblings of fan boys, desperate housewives and angst-ridden philosophy majors, today blogs are used by businesses, corporations, and even job-seeking professionals.
A well-written blog can actually do a lot to help your career. Through blogging, you can establish a reputation as an expert in your field. It will help you build professional credibility as well as network with others in your industry. At the very least, a blog offers tangible proof of your passion for your profession.
It may even help you earn more money. According to CNN Living, a study conducted by Pew Research in 2005 found that professionals who blog are generally higher earners. Why? Experts (or perceived experts) are usually offered higher salaries.
However, successful blogs are not built overnight. Nor should you expect to immediately begin fielding job offers or guest speaking requests. Blogging takes time and at least a bit of skill. You must determine if you have what it takes to be a successful blogger before you begin.
Do you know how to run the software associated with your blog?
Companies such as WordPress make it fairly simple to set up your own blog. Most offer customizable designs, or themes, and some even include free hosting. But if you’re not technically savvy, you may find posting and formatting frustrating.
Do you have the time to post regularly?
For a successful blog, you need to post regularly –at least once a week, possibly more. You should consider original posts as well as abstract posting. An abstract blog post involves referencing an article or post on another website or blog with an introduction (written by you), excerpt from the article, and then a link to the original. It’s an effective way to establish reciprocal relationships with other bloggers in your industry.
Remember that it takes time to build an audience. You may need to blog for a year or more before you begin to get noticed.
Do you enjoy writing?
If your blog is going to help your career, you need to enjoy writing and write well – you’re trying to showcase your talents, not your weaknesses. If you’re a poor writer, you could consider hiring a ghostwriter. At minimum, have someone proofread before you post.
If you’re ready to become a blogger…
Keep it professional and truthful. Your goal is to attract the interest of people who can help your career, right? Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to read. Don’t exaggerate the truth or publish outright lies. You may be called on them.
Keep it interesting. You must have something to say. Maybe it’s useful information. Perhaps you have an entertaining perspective to offer. Boring blogs never develop an audience, no matter how frequently they are updated.
Pay attention to SEO. Search Engine Optimization can help drive traffic to your blog. You don’t have to pay a lot for top-secret tactics either. It’s as simple as a few well-placed keywords. Some time spent researching the basics should be all you need and certainly worth your efforts.
Promote your blog whenever possible. Include a link to your blog on every email. Include a link on your LinkedIn profile. If you’re submitting a resume, include a link to your blog. Whatever your industry, it may serve as a virtual portfolio of your work.
You may be surprised by the respect a well-written blog will eventually engender in your industry peers. However, if you decide blogging isn’t for you, you may be able to accomplish similar results by commenting on others’ blogs or pursuing guest blogger opportunities. – Originally posted on onTargetjobs by Angela Rose