“Why don’t you blog about it?” That was a common joke between my husband and me, long before my friend Geraldine (a.k.a. The Everywhereist) encouraged me to embark on this endeavor.
I thought back then (and often still do), that many blogs take themselves too seriously. Let’s face it: blogging is not exemplary journalism, literary excellence, or even (for most of us) our profession.
So, why blog?
It’s a valid question, and certainly one I scrutinized before jumping in. But I have to admit, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results of this 1.5-year experiment, and that’s why I keep doing it.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What’s the point?”—or even considered trying it yourself—here are some benefits for three groups in particular.
When was the last time you had regular, devoted time to write, when the topic was of your choosing, and you had an audience to hold you accountable? College maybe. Even then, I’m going to bet you wrote what you had to and not what you wanted to.
The writing practice alone is worth it. Writing talent is not something that “comes to you” like an image of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast. It’s carefully groomed, nurtured, and crafted. Like I said, blogs aren’t high art, and no one expects them to be. This is your opportunity to write honestly and flex your creative muscles as far as you’re comfortable. Ease in. Practice. Commit.
If you eventually aspire to be a published author, blogging can demonstrate your dedication, voice, potential, and relevant interests to publishers and agents.
You could even amass a group of articles on a subject, which you could then publish or even self publish. I wouldn’t go into it with that goal necessarily, but it’s been known to happen.
The new world order of marketing is social media. Don’t be scared of it. Move calmly to the nearest entrance: blogging.
It used to be that only the best businesses understood they were brands rather than merely products or services. Now the majority of businesses are “getting it,” and a lot of that is due to social media, including blogging.
Use your blog to do the kind of marketing that ads and PR can’t do: to have a conversation with your customers, advocates, and even your dissenters. You’ll learn about them, and in the process, you’ll learn a lot about what your current brand is—and more importantly, what you want it to be.
Start simple. Are your products funny? Have a funny blog. Are your business goals uplifting? Have an uplifting blog. Are your services forward-thinking? Have a forward-thinking blog.
And remember that it’s not all about you. Use your blog to publicly recognize your audience as well as businesses you’d like to emulate or be grouped with. We are the company we keep.
3. The Marooned
I’m not talking about the stranded-on-a-deserted-island types. One would assume that, if they had Internet access to blog, they wouldn’t be stranded for long.
I’m talking about anyone displaced from their “tribe”: ex-pats, parents living far from grandparents, military folk (away from home or their comrades), snowboarders going to college in Hawaii, Cubs fans relocated to Cardinals territory, Silicone Valley techies who (through a series of unfortunate events) find themselves roughing it in Amish Country, etc.
As much as people like to shake their fists at the degradation of society due to social media, I propose it’s a revolution in favor of better communication. We can meet, reach, and get to know our fellow tribes-people (anywhere on the globe) like never before. Through blogging I’ve met fellow writers, Cancer warriors, travelers, alumni, inspiration seekers, gamer parents, geek girls, and entrepreneurs.
If you’re feeling displaced, know that the people you seek are out there, and there’s never been a better time to find them. Start up a free blog and see. Who knows who’s out there, just waiting for you to start the conversation?
Do you (or would you) blog? Why or why not? Have you discovered any surprise friendships through social media?