I got this question from Laura:
Two very short questions that can have very long answers!
I’ve written a bunch on blogging, back in the olden days (2006, 2007, 2008). I think that blogging is a terrific tool to help people understand your personal brand. And, there are many ways to do this – there’s not necessarily a “right” way, and what might be right today could change tomorrow.
For example, some people might get value out of blogging regularly, like I do (almost daily). Other people might be able to throw up a few pages, and a few blog posts (note: posts and pages have different purposes, theoretically), and be good. Some people want a lot of readers, other people will be fine if NO ONE reads their blog (except a hiring manager!).
Here are a few thoughts, although this is not a complete response. That could take pages and pages or hours of discussion.
First, how do you start a blog?
Well, you just start blogging 🙂 I would get a free account on a site like wordpress.com. There are a bunch of wordpress competitors… and many are fine. I recommend wordpress because I know and trust the company enough, and apparently, so do a bunch of people on the internet.
If you want to look a lost more sophisticated, you could spend a nominal amount of money and (1) get your own domain name (usually your own name, like JaneDoe.com), and (2) have that domain point to your blog. This could be your wordpress blog, or you could get a bluehost account and have your own virtual server.. and with a few clicks turn on a more robust version of wordpress. If you know what I’m talking about, consider that. If you don’t, just go to wordpress.com.
Once you get your blog up, you have the “honor” of writing your first blog post. It’s a weird one, for sure. It might be an introduction to who you are, or your good intentions and plans for the blog… or it might not be introductory at all, it might get right into the meat of your content. But write the first post. And the second post… and keep going. In about two years your writing will have improved to a point where it’s actually pretty good. I thought I was a good writer back in 2006, but I look back at those posts and realize just how poor my writing skills were (or, to be more positive about it, how much I’ve improved in the last nine years!).
Second, what do I blog about?
This is a great question. Better than that, this is the right question to ask.
You can blog about anything… but you shouldn’t blog about anything. I would suggest that you blog about things that will help people understand your professional breadth and depth. The blog is a unique environment where, unlike a resume, you can expand and expand again on your breadth (for example, different skillsets) and your depth (for example, experiences with those skillsets that will exemplify how expert you are at a particular thing, or in a particular field).
Think about how you want others to perceive you. Let’s say you are a senior level product manager. You should brainstorm what the breadth is for a senior level project manager, which might include:
- working with highly technical people who are expert in their area (engineers, developers, etc.)
- working with business/CEO/board level people
- working with contractors
- marketing considerations (sales, pricing, competitive analysis, etc.)
- product launch
- working with vendors
- working with channel distribution partners
- etc., etc., etc.
Those are a few of the things that might be your breadth, and these might be the categories of your blog!
Essentially, you have a kind of an outline that you can now work from. Can you write three posts about one of those topics (like negotiating)?
I recommend you brainstorm stories and examples, words of wisdom and things you’ve learned over the years, about any of those areas… and just start writing. You don’t have to do things in groupings, or in order. You can have series of related posts, of course, but you can intersperse non-related posts in-between.
I have other advice, like don’t write very long posts (this is getting long). Instead, break it into two posts. And, I personally think it’s more important to write consistently (1 to 3 to 5 times a week) than to write a really long post once every six months.
But that should be enough to get you started.
Does that help?