I remember when I first heard the term “blog.” I was 14 and sitting beside my best friend in the library’s computer lab. She leaned over and whispered to me, “Hey, guess what I found last night? It’s this thing called a weblog – or blog – and it’s like an online diary.” We immediately neglected whatever research we were supposed to be doing and headed over to Blogger to create an account.
Things are a little different these days. While some people use blogs as online diaries, the most successful blogs (i.e. those with loyal audiences) provide helpful information on a topic. Instead of being authored by teenage girls with nothing better to do in a high school computer lab, they are powerful tools that businesses and individuals can connect with their audiences. By starting your blog, you can:
- Increase your networking by connecting with people interested in your story, industry, or area
- Attract key decision-makers or influencers, such as aligned business partners, joint ventures, or recruiters
- Stay engaged and follow/contribute to current industry trends
Want to jump on this opportunity? Here’s how!
- Choose a platform or domain
Back in “the day” – the good old late 90s/early 2000s, Blogspot was the place to be. The OG blog platform still exists, but now it has many competitors. My personal favorite is WordPress. Typically, I advise my clients to purchase a domain name using GoDaddy and set up a WordPress site with a blog. It’s pretty simple to do this, even if you don’t have a lot of tech experience. It’s no more challenging than managing an online bank account or your LinkedIn profile. However, just like many of you have requested that I write your LinkedIn profile, hiring a professional to create your blog can be a good investment because. It’s often a little faster and easier than doing it yourself, and you can be sure that you’re targeting the right audience. (This is a service that I provide. If you want to talk about setting up a blog or website, book a free call. Be warned, though. In some cases, I tell you that I think it’s better for you to do it yourself!)
- Select a theme or topic aligned with your personal goals
Other than your mother, grandmother, and perhaps your Uncle Terry, who was coerced into it by your mother, very few people like to read a blog that simply chronicles your life’s events like a diary. If you want to keep a personal blog all about your life for your family, that’s perfectly fine, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! However, if your goal is to attract clients, recruiters, and/or business owners, theming your blog around a topic that will be of interest to them is preferable. I’ve advised a number of my clients regarding how to use social media personally and how to use it to find a job or promote a business. Blogging follows a similar strategy. You might even choose to keep two blogs – one for personal use and one focused more on your career. Or, you might be like the ever-overly-ambitious me and write 5 on different topics!
If you plan to theme your blog for career or business, think carefully before you decide on that theme. In some cases, it might be easy to decide. If you’re hoping to transition into a career doing learning and development after years as a teacher in a K-12 environment, you’ll probably focus your blog on learning and development, and write quite a few articles about how your experience in K-12 teaching is relevant. This would likely attract a recruiter or senior strategist or two.
If you have a design business, your blog will probably be focused on design, but think about if you can niche down a little bit further. There are lots of blogs about design. How will yours be different? Perhaps you do design primarily for non-profit organizations. Then a blog focusing on best design practices for non-profits would likely get you some clients.
Remember, you can always choose to start a second blog – or widen/narrow your blog’s focus down the line if you think you’ve themed it incorrectly.
- Set up your profile/about page with contact information
If you’re writing a blog to launch your business or career, your audience needs to be able to contact you, so be sure to make that easy for them. A tab on your blog with contact information and a link in each post about how readers can get in touch with you will do the trick. If you have time, you might also consider writing a brief executive bio and linking to your LinkedIn or other social media accounts so your readers can explore your experiences. However, even though you want to make it easier for readers to contact you and get to know who you are, remember that your blog is available online, so consider using a Google Voice number instead of your existing phone number. And, of course, never share your address or anything overly personal.
- Plan your writing and distribution schedule
Establishing a blog and consistently posting to it can have great results when it comes to launching your business or career. The word “consistently” is key. It can be very easy to establish a blog, write a post, and forget about it. If you’re going to invest time in a blog, take a few minutes and figure out how often you want to post. Once per week? Per month? Then, think about how long it will take you to write your post. (You might need to adjust this once you’ve written a few posts – that’s OK.) Now, plan a schedule. If you want to write one post per week, for example, you might plan to publish on Monday, write on Tuesday, and edit on Thursday. Keeping a writing and distribution schedule – even if you decide to change it – can help you maintain consistency.
- Connect your blog with an audience
If you want your blog to help you launch your business or career, someone needs to read it, and while you’ll eventually have people simply finding and subscribing to your blog, getting your initial audience requires a bit more action. I recommend either finding your first few followers via social media or email. You can even connect your blog to one of these two resources to help you connect with those who are interested. Remember, though, your goal isn’t to put your blog in front of everyone but rather to put it in front of those who are likely to resonate with your ideas and help you with your business or career.
Blogs are just about everywhere today, but not everyone uses them to their full advantage. I’ve had success helping clients leverage the power of blog to launch their business and/or career, and I’ll be happy to discuss if this strategy is right for you. Book a free call here: