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Paul Gillin invited me to do a tweetchat on the professional and personal value of blogging yesterday. When I brainstormed some of the things I’d like to talk about, I ended up with a big list: not just the value I get from blogging, but also tips for how you can build that too. I hope you enjoy this blog series!
Blog your work to increase your return on investment or effort by remembering more effectively and by reaching more people.
How much time do you spend solving problems similar to what you’ve encountered before, answering questions you’ve already answered before, or remembering information you need to solve new challenges? Take notes and save that time.
How much time can you save other people if you share your notes with them? Are there other people in your organization, client base, or network who could benefit from your solutions? Share your notes.
- Invest the extra minutes in taking and sharing notes in order to increase your ROI.
2. Questions, updates, resources, and serendipitous conversations
One of the challenges of blogging is that you don’t know who’s going to read it. That’s also one of the advantages. When you ask a question, you might be surprised by who answers it – perhaps someone you wouldn’t have thought of asking. When you post an update, you might make an unexpected connection with someone else, and learn about resources you might not have discovered on your own. When you talk about something you’re working on, you might end up in a serendipitous conversation with someone who can make use of it or help you with it. It’s the online equivalent of the lucky hallway chat, except with a lot more people in the virtual hallway.
- Make it easy for people to discover your updates or even subscribe to them.
If you add personal touches to your professional blog, you can make it easier for potential clients and coworkers to connect with you through common interests. Write about why you do the work that you do and what you love about it. Write about your other interests, too.
- Don’t be afraid of bringing your personality to your blog. Use it to connect with people.
Blog your work to build your reputation. When people read about what you’re working on, they learn about your skills and get a sense of who you are as a person. The next time they come across a challenge that looks like it’s a good fit, they might think of you and refer the opportunity to you. Particularly if you’re starting out, sharing your knowledge will help you build your network and your reputation.
- Use your blog to demonstrate your skills and your character.
- Invest time into building thought leadership through blog posts, articles, and presentations.
5. Jobs and careers
A blog can help you look for a great job or plan your career. Use it to explore your strengths and figure out how to communicate them. Use it to think about what kinds of companies would be a good fit for you, and where you would be a good fit. Use it to connect with people and ask them for help. Use it to reflect on where you want to go with your career and what kind of value you want to create.
- Don’t beg for a job. Use your blog to communicate strength, passion, and professionalism.
- Build a network of mentors and friends. Connect with people and ask them for advice.
6. Accountability and transparency
Blogging is a great way to make public commitments and hold yourself to them. You can use this for both personal and professional goals..
If you speak on behalf of a company, then you definitely need a fast way to respond to any issues that come up. With the speed of conversation on Twitter and blogs, you can’t wait for press releases. Establish this channel before a public relations crisis comes up. It’s better to admit a mistake and work with people on resolving it than to stonewall.
Whether you’re an executive or a newcomer, you can influence the culture of your organization through what you share. When you share what you know through your blog, you encourage a culture of knowledge-sharing. When you add a personal touch, you contribute to a culture of human connection. When you show that you aren’t afraid of making mistakes and learning from them, you develop a culture of growth. This can have a powerful effect on your organization, both online and offline.
- Consider the fit between how you want to write and what the existing culture is. Be prepared for differences, and modify your approach accordingly. For example, if you want to shift your surrounding culture to share more, anticipate and address people’s concerns.
- If you’re a leader, take the initiative in demonstrating the kind of company culture you want to encourage.