Why you should blog
Does the thought of starting a blog scare you? Like most people thinking about starting a blog, I didn’t think anyone but I and my dog would see the content. I am not familiar with SEO, or how to promote content on Twitter. My reasons for starting a blog are not to show you can generate traffic or be popular. I think you should start a blog as a vehicle to show a side of you that others would be interested in working with as an employer, employee, vendor, customer, or a subject matter expert.
I recently got my hair cut at Sadie Salon and was talking with the owner Sadie about why she should start a blog. She had worked for 10 years at a high-end salon that is very well-known in the city and is a preferred stylist for one of the landmark wedding locations in our area. She’s got chops. She has a lot of insight to share on how to get the best haircut from your stylist. Think of her as a much hotter version of Anthony Bourdain and his book Kitchen Confidential where he gives you a behind the scenes look at the restaurant business. With this information, you can leverage a better dining experience. With her insight, you can leverage a better hairstyle.
I have listed a number of reasons for starting a blog below. They are all things I knew would benefit me from writing a blog, but until I started actually posting I didn’t realize how much of a difference it would make.
In the past, I thought of the positives listed below as literally one-word descriptions. “Brand” and “identity” for instance. I knew that writing a blog would help my “brand”, but I only thought of brand as a single word. I didn’t think of it as what my brand REALLY MEANS. I used to think a brand was something you burned into the ass of a cow. Now, I am the cow and it is my ass that is burning.
Blogs don’t have to be about work. They can be your hobby, your cause, your family. I have a good friend that is a fishing guide with a Master’s degree. His blog EvoAngler.com not only helps his guiding business but if he ever gives up his dream job and goes 9-5, the longevity of the blog and his writing style will help differentiate him from other guys with little corporate experience doing what some could be view as living an extreme lifestyle. This Grumpy Old Man is a good friend and a recruiter and blogs about whatever is on his mind. Sometimes it is about hiring, most times not. Articulate, thought-provoking and funny. Yes, I would want to work with this guy.
The reason I started a blog was to just have a place to categorize thoughts and a resource for the candidates I work with who are looking for a job. I used to help one person every couple of weeks with advice. This blog has pushed that number to a point where a day doesn’t go by where I am asked about HR and this is from complete strangers. Here is what I think I am getting from writing a blog, and I hope it encourages you to do the same:
Branding: Street cred, thought leadership, call it what you want. I am still working on street cred but my theory is, anytime you write something, it has more staying power than verbalizing it. Publish it on the web and the potential for readership is unlimited. Anytime someone sees a stack of notes and ideas on a single topic, authored by one person, it lends credibility. Being right is relative, but an opinion that can be backed up by logic always helps. Recruiters and managers look for these qualities.
Education: Writing a topic that is new to your audience forces you to really think about how you are going to get your point across in a clear and engaging way. Writing here has reinforced the ideas that I have and actually helped me discover my own set of practices that I take for granted in my day-to-day life.
Dedication: I post once a week, maybe 3 times in a 2 week period. From a recruiter or a managers standpoint, anytime you do something for an extended period of time on a consistent basis, it shows “another level of maturity”. It shows that you are NOT the kind of person that just tries something out for 2 weeks and then quits. Remember the tennis racket your parents bought you? The roller skates? The skis? All of these expensive toys are sitting in the closet waiting to be documented on Craigslist. You were excited and then 2 months later, bored. What do your parents think every time they see those expensive toys?
Showing support for your company: Using your blog as a vehicle for supporting your company is always a good thing. Some companies don’t allow posts related to the company. You can still post about the industry and not mention your company. If I think I have anything controversial to post, I will run it by our Marketing department. I think most managers want folks on their team who eat their own dog food. Employees that are so excited about what they do, and who they do it for that they tell the entire world.
Communication/writing style: As a way to teach others, this blog was originally going to be a rant based on all the dumb ass things I see in interviews and the workplace. But no one is going to take me seriously with that type of attitude. It isn’t an attitude I would want to hire or work with. A blog shows that you have a brain, have ideas, and is a pretty good indication of how you will write and think on behalf of a business.
Industry Knowledge: A blog is a good way to show industry knowledge. This is especially important if you are unemployed. A lot of recruiters will shy away from someone who is unemployed because the stereotype is that they have lost touch. A blog can show you are staying current on the latest issues, technologies, concerns, etc. and you can point to specific posts in your interviews and cover letters to show this is not the case.
Recruiters do go to Facebook and Linked to check your social graph. Show them a much more articulate side of yourself with a blog.
See you at the after party,
PS. Looking for a starting point? http://wordpress.com/
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “he has a nasty forkball”