34 Reasons to Start a Blog


Blogs

We discussed how social media is like sharecropping — you help build a network with your content and it  may decide to delete your account if it changes rules or there is a glitch. Both Flickr and Facebook have given us examples of that action. The effects of those actions have been devastating for the people who had put time and care into building a presence with their content.

That is one of the reasons why I have been and continue to be strongly in favor of blogs.

Starting a blog shows commitment to a topic, industry, group, project, brand, etc. It establishes you as someone who can stick with a regular appointment, and has something to say, teach, and learn. Indeed, I have found them all to be the case. There are many more benefits.

As I continue to receive many emails from students and young professionals about how to find opportunities and differentiate themselves, I thought it would be helpful to explore 34 reasons to start a blog.

***

1. do your internship this way — no reason to wait for someone to screen you first, or give them an easier way to screen you in rather than out by taking the initiative

2. hone your writing skills — I can think of no better way to improve writing than doing it regularly

3. network online — with your content all in one place, people will be able to learn about how you think more easily

4. develop your ideas — fleshing them out with the help of the community can be a great accelerator to execution

5. find opportunities to do research — you start a topic with what you know, and expand it into things that others know

6. discover opportunities to expand off line — were it not for this blog, I would not have gone to many of the meet ups and conferences I've attended in the last couple of years, met great people, etc.

7. participate in worthy initiatives — in the last couple of years, we helped promote awareness of worthy causes through Bloggers Unite and Blog Action Day each year. We talked about how social media is greening the planet, and poverty

8. build a business — many have built businesses off blogs, Darren Rowse with ProBlogger, Brian Clark with Copyblogger, Joe Pulizzi with Junta 42 are a few examples

9. help your company become more human — organizations that accept employees can be a passionate extension of the company's conversation continue to reap positive rewards

10. find mentorsDavid Spinks had a wonderful series of blog posts about mentoring and finding a mentor on Mondays

11. build community — by providing a regular appointment with information, you give the people who resonate with your content a reason to come back, meet each other, and deepen the conversation

12. create value by being who you are — I'll be writing more about this in future posts. For now, know that there is incredible opportunity still on topics, cultures, and points of view that are still unexplored

13. curate the content of others — say you're passionate about a topic and there is already quite a bit of great information online. You could become a useful filter and curator of that information, the de facto destination on that topic

14. share a fresh perspective — we need more of those. When you look
beyond the known groups, you find that there are amazing blogs for many
fields of knowledge and specialties

15. find an outlet for your passion — sometimes our day job doesn't quite align with what you're passionate about, or doesn't provide enough space to creativity or the pursuit of something you love

16. attract others who are passionate about a topic — remove geographic constraints, put search in your corner, and you're likely to be surprised finding kindred thinkers

17. establish yourself as a go-to resource — it used to be that you had to be well known or established in a field or a profession to publish. With a blog, you can begin today

18. give back to your profession — there are many ways to do that by helping professional associations, of course. However, you may find that you can squeeze in time to contribute only in the wee hours of the night

19. learn how to edit content — this is a skill that will come in handy in many jobs outside communications. Think about writing reports, proposals, presentation decks, love notes, etc.

20. tell your story — a blog can be a great repository for the stories you share here and there. In fact, that's how blogs got their start, as live journals. Just make sure you back up your files

21. be helpful to your networks — you may find as I did that you don't scale so well in one on one conversations. Authoring a blog gives you the opportunity to share information more broadly

22. undertake a project — yes, many say that a blog is an open ended endeavor. I think it's perfectly fine to start one to support a project. Authors do that to provide companions for their books, for example 

23. showcase a less known brand on your product line — not all products get equal marketing budgets and some may be better suited for the educational and informational approach blogs are suited for

24. complement or replace your resume — when making hiring decisions, enlightened companies are starting to screen candidates by seeking evidence of their skills beyond a carefully written laundry list of things they have done

25. develop alternative career options — it's no secret that the best way to find the ideal career is to create one for yourself. Plus, here are 50 ways to make limoncello when you've been laid off

26. start something new — the best way to break through in an industry that is filled with insiders and is fossilized around the way things are done is to do something else and succeed at it

27. contribute your knowledge — there are plenty of things we can still learn from each other and your contribution will help all of us

28. gain visibility — by giving passionately and building on your domain expertise, or gaining one through blogging, you become more visible in the business community

29. mix it up — by writing a blog, you open your ideas to the comments and perspectives of others, which end up enriching them

30. believe in yourself — putting your content out there can be a scary proposition. What if nobody reads it or likes it? It's not as bad as you think, and in fact it can help you learn to trust yourself and your instincts more

31. document your travels — I've enjoyed reading blogs written by professionals who were on sabbatical or took some time off to experience life in different parts of the world, for example

32. collect useful information — maybe you're not researching for one specific project, yet you keep finding great resources you want to share with your network along with your comments

33. test drive your appetite for writing — nothing wrong with giving it a shot, and the side benefit is improved writing skills

34. change the game on what a blog is — there is plenty of room to reinvent the medium. Go ahead and do that, start something new and you'll be the first one to do it

All this is to say that you can use the tools at your disposal to make what you envision a reality — a new job or career, practice, building community, networking, etc. Blogging is no substitute for doing. It is a complement to it.

__________

Bonus reading, why start a blog and 25 tips to make it work. Download the free eBook here.


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0 responses to “34 Reasons to Start a Blog”

  1. You missed one very important reason I’m afraid.
    35. To work on and improve your levels of patience as you will have to deal with all sorts of muppets spamming you and telling you what you can and cannot write!
    😉

  2. Really great list! I am always surprised that more people and businesses who want to be perceived as innovators in their industry don’t start a blog.
    As you mentioned – it is a great way to share and develop your ideas, but also a powerful marketing tool to increase your visibility and show your commitment.
    I started my blog years ago because I wanted to create an online presence that was stronger than my social network profiles (at the time my myspcae account ranked first!!). I now find that it is a powerful tool for building a reputation for yourself and connecting with new people.
    I will definitely forward this post along. Thanks for this great list!
    – Krista Neher
    http://www.themarketess.com (my blog)

  3. I wish the administration at my B-school alma mater would actually read this and encourage students to read it. I started my blog after business school and had I been smart enough to get the ball rolling during bschool I wouldn’t have lost an entire year to being unemployed after graduation.

  4. Great list, and love that you close with the fact that blogging is a compliment to doing.
    I’ll add: speak your mind, maybe get heard. It touches on 14, 27, 28, 30. Wonder why no one is talking about X, and they should be? Maybe you should.
    Tim’s #35 is spot on snarky humor, but mine is: have fun. Yes it’s a chore sometimes editing yourself, linking and posting all the time.. but if you’re not having a little fun with your blog, you’ll probably not see any of these other benefits. FWIW.

  5. If anyone needs motivation — assuming you like to write because without some passion for expressing yourself and ideas, this can be a tough slog — we’re now smack in the middle of the “intellectual Property Economy” — a place where ideas and information hold sway in the progress of business. And at a more tactical level, it’s also a form of collaboration, so vital to pooling our capabilities and resources. That assumes blogs are not viewed as one-way broadcast vehicles but as pathways to interaction and discourse.
    Great post.

  6. This is a great list. I can identify with all 34, but it is 15, 16, and 18 which speak to me the most.
    Used to be, when I would talk about career paths, those who knew me as a gearhead would suggest I pursue mechanic or auto sales opportunities. Really? Car salesmen are among the most reviled “professionals” known to man, and who wants to spend their day dealing with the neglect of careless automotive consumers? Sadly, talking about cars, more often than not, doesn’t pay the bills.
    However, what would happen if people passionate about all things gearhead from around the world started interacting with each other on a regular basis?
    No more speed limits. Just like on the autobahn! Haha.
    PS – #24 is a BIG one. It’s nice to hand out a resume to a group before a presentation, but only as a technicality. “Here’s my resume. It’s what I’ve done in the past. What say we talk about the future, now?”

  7. @Tim – love it! And somehow, those spam comments are usually quite negative in tone; insult with injury 😉
    @Jay – I also find that building visibility for others and for important causes gives back tenfold in satisfaction.
    @Krista – in many circles, there is still the sense that when someone publishes your work, that is more powerful. It seems to me that developing an audience feels like a daunting task, so borrowing someone else’s procures less anxiety. Thank you for the vote of confidence and congratulations on your long standing as a publisher. It’s quite an achievement.
    @Srinivas – I’ve had the privilege of working with students for many years and I am still surprised at how few of them take me up on this recommendation. The ones who do, uncover untapped opportunities often by virtue of starting something productive and self-driven.
    @Davina – it’s a combination of things, some of which can act as catalysts or accelerators. Along the same lines with your thoughts on speaking one’s mind and having fun, a blog can enhance your creativity by being a regular outlet for it.
    @Robert – I like how John Hagel calls information moving through networks: the knowledge flow. We should ride the wave to pick up new tidbits, exchange views, etc. Conversation has that meaning to when we take it as an opportunity to get to a new place in understanding and connection, one where action is the next logical step.
    @Brian – “no more speed limits” is a good line. You’ve come up with some of the freshest marketing language I’ve heard in the last couple of years. It saddens me to read those boilerplate sounding resumes filled with jargon. It means that we still pander to scanners and people stuck in the “good old times” or candidates just haven’t developed enough confidence in themselves to craft and deliver a different approach. Once, a company where I applied for a job responded to me 8 months later. The form email started with “Company XYZ appreciates the interest you expressed for the position, Title, Job# and respects the patience you have shown in waiting for our acknowledgment and disposition of the referenced opportunity… blah, blah, blah”. It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

  8. I really love your list. I was recently having a conversation with someone about what an “entrepreneur” is and this person suggested to me that you can be an entrepreneur with a blog – Creating your own personal brand.
    The item that resonates the most for on the list of 34, though, is creating an outlet. I absolutely know that I needed an outlet to say my thoughts about the brand that I have a relationship with …I couldn’t hijack someone else’s blog!
    One more thing, with consistently and regularly posting content, I think a person is building credibility on his or her niche subject.
    Excellent list.
    (my blog is http://www.starbucksmelody.com)

  9. Love this list! I haven’t started a blog of my own yet but I regularly post on two industry blogs and also guest post as often as I can. I love this list… because there are just so many reasons to blog!
    My favorite here is #20. “tell your story — a blog can be a great repository for the stories you share here and there. In fact, that’s how blogs got their start, as live journals.”
    Everyone has a story and I really think we can all learn from one another!

  10. @Grace – glad to be helpful to you.
    @Melody – you are one of two deciding factors for me to get my coffee at Starbucks when I’m on the road, so you do the brand justice by way of your passion. And you are saying something important here, the fact that some of us, maybe many, feel the need to share what we think and feel.
    @Abby – here’s to your personal blog, then. It doesn’t make sense for everyone, of course, it is a habit that has injected a lot of discipline in my writing.

  11. Valeria,
    All very solid reasons to start a blog and thanks so much for the shout out. The mentor monday series was a lot of fun to do, and I may have to start updating it again soon!
    My blog has helped me in so many ways. I can’t stress enough how important it is for young professionals, especially in the media/communications industry, to consider starting a blog.
    The writing/editing skills you learn are priceless.
    The connections you make are that much stronger.
    …and to touch on your point about complementing your resume, I got my job directly because of my blog. They didn’t even read my resume. If it weren’t for this job, I wouldn’t have gone to Philly, and I wouldn’t have met an awesome mentor named Valeria.
    …good thing I started a blog ^_^
    David, Scribnia

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