How to Reap Professional Benefits from a Personal Blog
With more people than ever before turning to the Internet as a way to connect with others, blogs are becoming more popular. Many blog authors write as a way to educate other professionals in their field and meet like-minded thought leaders. Other writers curate their blogs simply to connect with people who share similar personal beliefs, passions or interests.
But what if you could write a personal blog to reap professional benefits? This strategy is often under-utilized and can benefit you both personally and professionally.
Developing a Professional “Personality”
Many companies, whether it be a PR agency or a grocery store, have corporate blogs. Blog articles are often centered around corporate themes or topics, but they can also give individual employees and the company as a whole a place to express their corporate “personality.” Corporate blogs help companies communicate a brand story, which is becoming more and more important with brands constantly striving to create deeper, more meaningful interactions with their customers and audience.
A personal blog can have the same effect for you as a corporate blog can have for a company: It gives you a space to develop a public personality outside of your normal “professional” talk tracks. Writing articles about trends, events or best practices in your industry can be a great way to flex your professional muscles and educate colleagues and connections on a topic you are knowledgeable on.
No matter what you choose to write about – your passion for cooking, last month’s trip to Amsterdam, how your daughter is in her terrible two’s at the age of four – you are creating a voice for yourself that is often inaccessible to an audience on professional platforms like LinkedIn. You are growing your digital footprint, which can be beneficial when looking to expand your professional network or even search for a new job.
Of course, that means you’ll want to keep things professional – to a certain extent. As a sophomore in college, I began curating my own personal blog – first, for fun and to cultivate my love of writing, but then to distinguish myself professionally. I mastered the art of always keeping my audience (ahem, potential employers!) at the forefront of my mind, while also promising myself that I would never sacrifice my personality or hide my beliefs just because professionals could be reading my content. Check out my personal blog for some inspiration!
Honing New Skills
When curating your blog, writing skills that you might use professionally – like tailoring content to an audience and SEO, will come into play. Take advantage of the opportunity to sharpen some skills you may not have utilized in a while. Do some research on SEO and experiment with optimization – figure out what works best for your blog and the audience you want to reach. A great place to start: March’s 5 Tips for Strong SEO!
It’s also an opportunity to learn new skills that you may not have the chance to work on in your day-to-day job. If you’re curious about social media, try experimenting with how you can use the different social channels to promote your work. Maybe even foster a new professional connection and interview someone on your blog. Developing the back-end logistics of a blog (even if it’s just through Weebly or Squarespace) can be a great way to build your skills in a new area.
Like many endeavors, your blog will be worth as much time as you are willing to put into it. The more you write and develop that personal “professional voice,” the more skills you will hone and the larger your digital footprint can become.
Be proud of your blog and show it off – that’s the only way to grow an audience. Share it with colleagues, connections or family and friends. Most importantly, make the endeavor meaningful and beneficial to you – otherwise, it’s not worth your valuable time.