Ever thought about starting a blog? As the creator of many blogs (both successful and unsuccessful), I’m here to tell you why it’s a good idea, and what you can gain both personally and professionally from writing a blog.
If you’re looking to build a professional career, in no matter what industry, having an online presence is a great way to start. For some people (like us writers), this is likely to be pretty long-form, like in some kind of blog or column. For other people and other careers paths, it might be as simple as developing your LinkedIn profile. (You can make blogs on LinkedIn, too, and this is a great way to have a blog if you’re not into managing your own website).
If you’re not looking to develop your career or build a platform, having a blog can just be a great way to document your life and develop some personal skills. You could see it as a slightly glamorised version of journaling (except that everyone can read it, which is kind of daunting).
If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I had four different blogs (of varying success levels) in the 10 years before I started Outloud. And, I learned pretty much everything I know the hard way. I’ve been thinking about writing up a full guide to starting a blog, giving different options for your skill level, so let me know if that’s something you would be interested to see!
Why You Should Start a Blog for Yourself
These reasons are coming first, because for me, they are the most important. Yes, starting a blog could (probably will) be great for your business, and it’s really great to have an online presence for your professional career. But, more than that, it comes with so many benefits for you personally.
Developing writing and communication skills
Writing and communication is a fundamental skill, no matter what you do. Writing and blogging is not just about writing something that’s pretty and interesting, but also functional. It’s about getting your message across, so that people understand what you have to say. This skill is transferable and is so useful when it comes to communicating with your family, a partner, and even your friends.
Writing a blog forces you to exercise your writing muscle. You’ll learn how to present your thoughts in a consistent and coherent way, sharpen your critical thinking skills, and develop your ability to communicate more complex ideas.
Learning to express yourself in a new way
Being creative isn’t for everyone, but if you do want a new way to express your creativity, writing is a great way to do it! Almost anyone can sit down with a laptop or a pen and paper, and put their thoughts down. Like I always say; developing your writing skills will take time, and the first thing you write doesn’t need to be any good. You just have to start!
The process of writing is truly cathartic, and allows you to express yourself in your unique voice. You can experiment with different styles, explore different genres, and create whole new universes. All just by writing. A blog knows no bounds; you can write about whatever you want to.
Learning, researching and citing
Like with any kind of writing, it’s important to do your research: make sure you know what you’re talking about and cite your sources. It sounds boring, but there’s a reason you have to do this in school, and there’s a reason I’m telling you to do it now!
Not only does it help you to produce high-quality content for your readers, it also helps to broaden your own knowledge. No matter how much of an expert you are in your field, there are always new things you can learn. Through blogging and writing, you’ll continue to learn and stay ahead of the curve when there’s news in your industry.
Read more from our writing series…
Which brings me on to…
Why You Should Start a Blog for Your Career
Establish an online presence
So, this is basically the whole point of starting a blog, but why not start with the obvious? Having an online presence holds immense value in any industry. In a place as over-saturated with information as the internet, if people are listening to you, that’s a sure-fire sign that you know what you’re talking about.
In the writing industry, this could help you to capture the attention of a literary agent or new clients. In corporate industries, you are so much more likely to get head-hunted by your dream company with a strong online presence. If you work for yourself, having an online presence will help to increase your customers’ trust in you, as well as find you new customers.
Build a community and make yourself an expert in your industry
If you do it right, then establishing an online presence will naturally build a community of people around you. This is great for your confidence, great for keeping in the loop with your industry, and great for getting the attention of the right people in your field.
On top of that, you can start to pioneer new ideas within your industry, and people will start to look for your opinion on important topics. This could lead to new experiences like interviews, speaking opportunities, and collaborations.
Whether you’re just looking for a leg-up into a new job or want to scale-up your small business, being sought-after in these areas will give you huge opportunities for growth.
Driving new customers and traffic
This reason won’t apply to all of you; it mostly applies to people with small businesses, people working in sales, or people selling products like self-published books!
In fact, last week we did an interview with romance author Natasha Carter. She told us that her online presence was one of the reasons her self-published debut novel was so successful. (As well as it being a great book, of course!)
The more people who are reading your work and visiting your website, the more likely you are to increase your number of successful sales.
Starting a blog can be hard work, and there’s a lot more to it than just writing. Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for my article on how to start a blog, and more writing advice from one of our new writers, Bryan Fagan!
I hope you have a great week,