Blogging can be one of the best marketing tools you have – and in this job market, ways of supporting your brand (in particular free ones) can play a key role in distinguishing you from the pack.
Last week I wrote about hard work being an opportunity and not an excuse. Blogging is an example of hard work. If you haven't blogged before, you might question my thesis – after all, anyone can start a blog these days. The opportunity to do so is, for all intensive purposes frictionless. You select a blog hosting service – there are dozens of free options out there. You create an account and within minutes, a blank page stands before you ready for you to fill with whatever it is you have to say. There's really nothing to it.
The same can be said however, for many other activities that are hard work. Exercising. Eating well. Doing Your Best At Everything You Do. The fact is, doing something once or twice is an event. Turing that event into a process that has been institutionalized into a regime or routine that is performed on a regular, consistent and ongoing basis is something else all together. That's hard work. Ask anyone who's signed up for a gym membership or started a diet. Sticking with things for the long haul is difficult. With blogging, the result is undeniably worth the effort. Listen to what Seth Godin and Tom Peters have to say on the topic of blogging.
The act of blogging, which when broken down, is really just the modern day equivalent of writing and publishing wrapped up in a single mechanism. In the year or so that I have been blogging, I can certainly attest to the activity being a tremendous growth experience. At the beginning, the ability to obtain immediate feedback on views and readership may be enough to excite or encourage you to post again. Over time however, the drivers become much different – part due to necessity, since you soon realize that the Internet is a big place and not every one of your posts (and sometimes seldom few) attract thousands upon thousands of eyeballs.
It gets to a point that for most bloggers, it doesn't really matter how many people read a post – the activity itself takes on a much more personal and somewhat more introspective feeling. The improvement in being able to generate a coherent post quickly, in am increasingly fluid and frictionless manner is a sign that you are improving as a writer. The ability to articulate well in prose whatever you are trying to say is a skill that helps improve the conversational equivalent of this activity. Whether in an interview process or in casual conversation, effective communication is a key success criteria when trying to make that important first impression.
And now, back to branding – for those of you either looking for work or trying to build some level of brand or competency recognition for whatever it is you do, blogging is something you need to look at seriously. As Tom Peter's says in the video, “it's the best damn marketing tool I've ever had”. And I would have to agree with him.
It's also hard work – and as what is so often typical about the “tough stuff” it has payed off huge dividends. It has provided me a degree of intellectual and professional growth that I would otherwise not have had, and quite frankly, enriched my value proposition beyond the pages of my blogs to my day-to-day life, whether at work, rest or play.
Important to note also, that neither my mom nor my dad actually read my blog. I sometimes get my wife to read the occasional post, but nothing comes free. Yes, blogging is hard. So get out there and do it.