I had a practical lesson in the benefits of blogging on Friday morning. During a routine skip-level conversation with my program director, I was able to impress upon him some answers to his questions by referring to a few blog posts I’d published that week and prior in the past few months. Even as I was pointing him to those entries did I realize the value of blogging: I had content available, on demand that I was able to quickly reuse to address a few questions in a relatively concise fashion. Not only did these posts immediately address his questions, but more so they showed that I was a step ahead of the game, that I’d already been thinking about the issue before he even asked. In this way, blogging for me has become a source of reusable self-generated content I can rely upon to either provide solutions or supplement larger strategy conversations and stands as testament to my expertise around my job and is now working its way to being a solid piece to my resume.
But that’s not how it started for me. In the beginning, my blog was like any other: a simple place to wax philosophic or rant a bit, to flex my creative writing muscle now and again, and to simply keep in practice with writing. When I first began to see how blogging on professional topics could be valuable (without really knowing how), I started with some opinion/editorial pieces here and there purely with the intent to voice my opinion. While I do watch traffic out of a data driven curiosity, I’ve not tracked visitors or clicks on my personal blog. Traffic was never the intent for me (and that shows based on the low volume of comments on my posts). But I kept posting for me, for a make-believe audience, and sometimes even for a small specific audience of readers whom I know will benefit without any mind to a return on my investment.
After I began posting more professionally related articles, I’ve found I’m referring back to them more and more often as others are coming on board and becoming more active in social business. I’ve also seen a few of what I’d consider my more boring technical posts pull in consistent visitors month to month. As a knowledge manager and social business program manager, the reuse of publicly available information in this clear and transparent fashion makes me very happy and proves to me the value of blogging.
So, what are the lessons and advice I can pull from my experiences to help you?
- Start now. Begin publishing short posts, find your voice and rhythm.
- Build a small archive of posts and try to have a few ideas in your pipeline, preferably a post or two ready to publish.
- Value will come from the breadth and depth of your combined posts. Blogging is not going to provide an immediate return on investment. The value seen from blogging is organic and cumulative.
- A consistent and expected frequency of posts will help grow your audience. On my professional blog I maintain a post-a-day frequency; here on my personal blog I strive to maintain a once-a-week frequency. Both work for the audiences of each blog.
- Keep at it, even if it seems like no one is reading. Five engaged and attentive readers are worth more than a thousand click-throughs. Appreciate those who find your content interesting enough to share on their own social channels.
- Culture changes are most often glacial in pace. Take every single “like”, “plus one”, and especially every comment as a sign of small success. Take those successes to heart and let them be your encouragement to continue blogging!
- Start. Now!