Want to blog? Get going then!

You are missing out on establishing your credibility and increasing your reach if you do not blog. Moreover, the act of writing crystallises your thinking, while feedback received will help you refine your ideas.

By Andrea Edwards, Novus Asia

 

Should my business have a blog? According to HubSpot, businesses that blog are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive return on investment than those that do not.

 

But should you blog? I believe you should, and I’m going to help you understand why. But first, a story.

 

I started blogging almost a decade ago, becoming very serious about it by 2009. Today, I have three blogs: a professional blog, a personal blog, and a kids’ adventure blog for Singapore. I also blog on LinkedIn, my company site, and my blogs are featured on various sites around the world. Let’s just say that for me, blogging is like breathing.

 

But why do I invest so much time and effort in blogging?

 

Because I know it’s the most powerful business resource of our time.

 

Additionally, my professional career has always been in communication; I am a natural communicator, so I definitely chose the right path for my natural skill set. Blogging as an art form appealed to me immensely. It is a platform to share my thinking, and to create conversation opportunities with my tribes — both personally and professionally. Roll the clock forward to today, and with LinkedIn’s blogging platform, Seth Godin’s prediction that everyone will blog is coming to a future near you. The momentum is here, and it is time to consider it seriously.

 

Blogging is the greatest career asset you have, and I encourage you to take the leap of faith and start your blog. Your community is ready to hear your voice, even more so if you are a leader in business. But blogging is not easy, and it is easy to make silly mistakes (I’ve made a few), but you learn and grow.

 

Blogging Insights

 

It takes time to develop confidence in your written voice, but as your blog experience evolves, so does your voice. Mastering blogging is a never-ending process, but the greatest benefit is that it teaches you a lot about yourself, thus helping you to grow. I have never worked with a senior executive on launching a blog who has regretted doing it — quite the opposite. They are always delighted.

 

Blogging is amazing. It calms your mind and crystallises your thinking. In today’s social world, it is a privilege of our time. It is definitely the greatest tool for anyone seeking to build professional credibility.

 

Blogging Benefits

 

  • It’s an opportunity to define your voice and clarify your thinking
  • It will help you structure your thoughts around your core area of expertise
  • It is an amazing personal growth tool; the more you blog, the more you grow
  • It is a platform to share your wisdom, inspire your audience, and become a superstar in your field of expertise
  • As a leader, you are providing your employees as well as your customers, partners, stakeholders, the media, and other influencers with access to how you think. It is an opportunity to share, to give, and, most importantly in today’s authentic online world, it enables people to know you
  • You will learn, increase your network, and build trust with your communities — internal and external
  • Your ideas will be challenged, which is a very good thing, as it will help you to refine them
  • You will grow business opportunities and open new doors for yourself, because blogging is the core of social in business
  • You will have the opportunity to take your personal brand to the next level, with speaking invitations, media requests, influencer interviews, guest articles (as I am doing here), and so on

 

How to Start?

 

The most common questions senior executives ask me is, “Where do I start?” and “What should I blog about?”

 

Let’s start with the C-suite. If you are a business leader, it is natural that you want to leave a legacy. A legacy can be many things, such as being known as a champion of your employees, an entrepreneurial leader who challenged the status quo, a customer-obsessed leader who always puts yourself in your customer’s shoes, an inspiring thought leader in your field of expertise, and so on. Tap into what you want your legacy to be and start defining your blog conversation around this core topic. This is how you become authentic in your communication, because it is tied to the heart of what you want to achieve as a leader.

 

The critical thing is not to make your blog about you or your business. Make it about the audience you want to speak to. Do you want to make their lives better, or help them to succeed professionally? Perhaps you’re thinking of educating them, inspiring them, or creating more opportunities for them? Maybe you wish to help them understand your area of expertise? The key to being successful at blogging is to always make it about them.

 

Here are my 10 steps to getting started:

 

  1. Start by defining your content strategy: who, what, when, why,how
  2. Come up with four ideas or four themes as part of your overarching theme
  3. Struggling for ideas? What questions do you get asked frequently? Answer them
  4. It doesn’t matter how often you blog (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly); the most important thing is consistency
  5. A great way to grow your following and readership is to support other bloggers — comment on their content, engage with them. They will return the favour and help elevate your blog
  6. Make the blog broader in appeal by interviewing people you admire and host guest bloggers aligned to your topic
  7. It’s critical you start by defining your audience (who) and then always write with them in mind
  8. SEO is important but don’t let it define your style. Google has changed and it is not looking for key words so much as valuable content these days
  9. Ask for comments, finish with a question, encourage sharing
  10. The most important thing is to be authentic. Write as a human: be you, and don’t let people change that

 

Suggested Topics

 

As a reader, you might be looking for some specific ideas linked to your job function, so here are some further suggestions that may be useful:

 

  • If you are in sales, answer your customers’ questions and answer the questions you know they should be asking. Do not talk about what you sell, but talk about the challenges your customers are facing and help solve them. Become a resource of value to your customers
  • If you are regularly networking and connecting with peers from your industry, pay attention to the conversations and questions. Share your learnings and perspectives, highlighting the conversations you are referring to. This builds your credibility
  • If you are a thought leader or specialist in your field, break down your expertise and create bite-sized chunks of knowledge, taking your reader on a journey of learning
  • If you work in technology, discuss the common challenges your customers are facing and possible solutions — focus on the technology solutions aligned to the problem your business solves
  • If you are in marketing and communications, there will be one or two core areas that you specialise in. As an example, I am a communicator, but my topics are personal branding, blogging, employee advocacy, social media, and more. There is a market for your specialisation and you have a unique take on your topic based on your experience, geography, and more. To help, research other leaders in your field, read what they are blogging about, then create your own unique perspective on your topics
  • HR leaders have a wonderful opportunity, and can talk about recruitment and retention issues, interview tips, career advice, what to wear for an interview, what not to say in an interview, the worst answer an interviewee ever gave you, and so on
  • And don’t forget to monitor the LinkedIn themes and blog on them — recent ones were #IfIwere22 #Thankyoumentor #HowIHire

 

Seek Help

 

It is absolutely okay to work with ghost writers and editors on your blog, but DO NOT outsource this work 100%. The world is full of ghost-written blogs that are soulless and this content is just adding to the noise. Use resources available to you (we are not all great writers), but be involved. Integrate your stories and personal experiences, and do not publish any blogs that do not sound like you. You must take ownership of your voice and your social presence. People are switching off to the inauthentic.

 

Also, wherever your blog is originally published (your own blog platform or your company site), publish it on LinkedIn as well, linking it back to the original post. LinkedIn opens up a massive new audience for you, beyond your connections. If your blog is featured on Pulse, you can reach thousands more connections. Blogging on LinkedIn also alerts your followers to your blog. Cross publishing on LinkedIn is a very big missed opportunity for executives today.

 

Parting Words

 

If I could sum up my thoughts on blogging, it is pretty simple:

 

  • DO IT!
  • Ignore the rules and carve your own path
  • You must be really connected with the authentic you
  • Cross publish your blogs for maximum reach — your blog site, your company blog site and LinkedIn
  • Be SEO-savvy but don’t be SEO-stupid
  • It doesn’t have to be written. You can create a podcast, do up a video blog, take photographs, create images or artwork if you are a designer. However, writing is the most effective tool for business leaders — it’s just not your only option

 

Most importantly, be patient. It’s hard to cut through the noise, and it takes time to build credibility and trust. Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to blogging, but more important than patience is starting and being committed. So why not get started today?

 

- END - 

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