Since I started reading blogs a few years ago, I’ve often thought about how much fun it would be to start my own. But I couldn’t think of a good topic to blog about. I also fretted over whether blogging would somehow detract from my job performance.
Picking a good topic was especially difficult for me because, as a nonpracticing attorney, I’m fascinated by many of the legal topics that my company covers. But blogging about one of these issues could land me in hot water because I would be competing against my employer.
Plus, I had all the other usual excuses like lack of time, identity theft, and the possibility of falling victim to hackers, spammers, and other nasty people on the Internet.
Steer Clear of Trouble. Despite all these concerns I started a blog anyway. To steer clear of trouble, I chose a topic that has nothing to do with my job. I also vowed to maintain a strict firewall between my job and my blog (a vow I honor by keeping my work at work and my blog at home).
Since launching my blog in late December I’ve discovered that my worries about job performance were unfounded. Blogging has made me a more valuable employee. In just a few short months it has strengthened my writing skills and turned me into my company’s resident social media expert.
My experience has been so great that I think you should start a blog too. Blogging will help you to:
1. be more creative. Thinking of three or four different topics to blog about during the week will strengthen the same mental muscles you’re using to come up with good topics to write about for work.
2. learn to be a faster writer. Between work, home, and ASBPE-related activities I have limited time for blogging. To compensate for this I’ve become better at thinking of what I need to say ahead of time and then writing it quickly.
3. become more technically savvy. To start my blog I registered my own domain name, picked and customized a WordPress theme, and learned basic search engine optimization techniques. A few times, I’ve been surprised at the technical jams I’ve managed to get myself out of.
4. figure out how to use social media. I’ve become obsessed with Web traffic. A casual interest in Twitter has turned into a fixation. I’ve also figured out social booking marking tools such as StumbleUpon, which were a mystery to me in my preblogging days.
5. find out that the blogosphere is full of great people. Out of about 10,000 visitors to my blog, I’ve had only one somewhat negative comment. The bigger problem is the people reading my posts are too nice and I’m getting no constructive criticism (unlike work and other areas of my life, where constructive criticism is a major part of the landscape).
6. think like a blogger. Having your own blog will give you insight on how to work with bloggers who cover the area you write about for your regular job. Bloggers can be a great source for quotes or help you to attract attention to your publication.
7. make yourself more marketable. Blogging is all about creating a community of readers and then interacting with them. Do this and you’ll be a valued employee wherever the job market takes you.