In today’s world of social media, it seems like everyone and their dog has a blog. (No, really – I’ve seen “dog blogs”!) However, blogging can and should be valued as a platform for differentiating yourself from peers and competitors. Not only is it a space to opine, but it’s also a way to find and create opportunities you never knew existed. Here are a few ways that blogging could lead you to bigger and better things:
- Build a personal brand – A blog provides a platform in which you can share your personal passion and expertise, whether that be related to your profession or not. Some hobby bloggers have gained such followings that they’ve made blogging a lucrative full-time gig, like Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. Ree’s quirky personality and killer recipes made so many fans that she’s gained sponsors, national exposure on morning shows, and even her own series on The Food Network, not to mention publishing a cookbook. Her success is one in a million, but it showcases how much people connect with passion and stories, no matter in what specific area. If you’re an avid golfer, tell some of the experience that stand out from your time on the course. Draw analogies between your golf game and business or life in general. Help your personality shine through. Many bloggers have made their way to the corporate speaking circuit or the realm of consulting.
- Increase your network – One of the interesting dynamics of today’s online world is that perfect strangers can find one another by connecting over content, whether it be vigilance over car-seat safety or a shared interest in bird-watching. Place relevant, engaging content in the blogosphere, and then take the time to find bloggers with a shared passion. If you comment on their blogs and engage in a conversation – not merely trying to direct traffic to your own blog – then you will be able to find like-minded online friends. Increased connections up your chances of professional opportunities, either from focusing your blogging energy on a professionally relevant issue or by making new friends who might know someone with the ability to get you to the job you need.
- Keep current on what’s hot (or not) – Blogging can be a great way to learn what connects with people. See what people are talking about in the blogosphere, and notice what posts you write draw the most comments and debate. Don’t shy away from being a little controversial. Don’t purposefully incite a fight, either – but if you have strong opinions on a particular subject, be bold in stating them. Listen openly to those who counter, and respond thoughtfully. Not only will everyone benefit from a reasoned discussion, but it will also help frame you as an individual who is willing to take a stand.