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Career Advice

Blogging: Your Key to Gaining the Work You Want
Carl Friesen posted on October 06, 2016 |

Are you looking for a way to stand out and get noticed by potential clients and employers, regarding your field of expertise? There are many ways to do that, including public speaking, publishing articles in trade and other professional media, and guest appearing on podcasts.

But if you want to demonstrate yourself to be a solid and reliable source of expertise and insight, one of the keys to success is investing the time and effort to produce your own blog.

The term comes from “web log,” and it refers to a written format to share information similar to an online journal or newsletter, and to which people can subscribe.

Some blogs are personal and centered around “what I want to say to the world,” with no clear business purpose. A thought leadership blog, in contrast, is intended to demonstrate the expertise or thought leadership of the author. A blog does this by providing useful, relevant information to its audience of subscribers.

How to Know if Blogging is Right for You

Blogging isn’t for everyone. We see the results all over the blogosphere, with blogs that were started with great enthusiasm, featured perhaps three entries … and which ended four years ago, while the owner hasn’t been back since. If you have a blog like that on your website, do yourself a favor and delete that ‘blog’ tab. It’s doing you more harm than good.

Blogging could be for you if:

  • You’re able to write easily.
  • If you can’t write easily, you can speak into a recording device and have your ideas transcribed using computer software.
  • You are able to keep to a regular publishing schedule, at least monthly.

It also helps if there are regular new developments in your field, because if you’re plugged into those changes you can make your blog a ‘must-read’ resource for anyone who needs to stay up to date. This can be the case if there are many new regulatory changes or new laws that affect your clients, new technologies, or other new developments.

This is a technique called “newsjacking,” which means taking news that matters to the people you want to reach, and creating your own analysis around it. It helps if you pick a topic that’s narrowly focused, and which your readers won’t find anywhere else. I have previously discussed this idea in relation to public speaking.

For example, let’s say that you’ve become aware of a new government regulation that will affect your clients in a specific industry. We’ll call it “Regulation 49B.” So, in your blog post, you could summarize what Regulation 49B involves, and why it matters to that specific industry. You can give your informed opinion on how you believe events will unfold, and then make your recommendations on how readers can either avoid a problem that could result from the new regulation, or gain a benefit.

Someone (such as a potential client) looking online for information on Regulation 49B might find your insights – and may well forward your ideas on to their colleagues, who may also become potential clients.

 

What Should Your Blog Cover?

The example above points to the answer to a question many bloggers have: what they should write about.

It’s really quite simple. You write about the questions and issues being faced by the people you want to have as clients. That’s it, full stop.

If you write about issues that are worrying them, and have some intelligent and informed ideas that will make their jobs better, they’ll read and subscribe to your blog. If what you say is irrelevant to them, they won’t.

If you don’t know what your clients’ or prospective clients’ issues are, this is a good chance to call up a few of your contacts. Arrange time for a call, or a meeting over coffee, beer or wine – your choice – and find out what’s nagging at them. Is it a newly disruptive technology? A new law? Is there something they don’t know how to do, but that would help them?

One of the most renowned business-success-through-blogging stories is that of pool installer Marcus Sheridan, of Maryland-based River Pools, who saved his business through a blog that answered his customers’ most frequent questions. You can do this too – just write out the most common questions your customers or clients have for you, and then develop some answers around those.

How Do You Produce and Distribute Your Blog?

If you have a website designer, she or he can probably advise you on a distribution channel for your blog. You should set things up so that people can subscribe to your blog by email. There are many free platforms that support this, such as MailChimp. These systems make it easy for people to unsubscribe, an important part of demonstrating your honesty and credibility.

Depending on where you are located, you may be subject to legislation such as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, which prohibits repeatedly e-mailing people you cannot show to have intentionally signed up to receive your emails. Some other countries have similar laws.

You can also host both your current and previous blog posts on a variety of platforms such as WordPress, or just have your blog entries available as part of your website.

My own company, Thought Leadership Resources, distributes email newsletters through a platform called Active Campaign, and the current and previous posts are hosted on our website. We put notifications of new posts out on Twitter, as well as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Blogging takes dedication. Producing a weekly post takes a good part of my Monday each week. However, I find the results are well worth the effort. The number of subscribers keeps climbing, “open” rates remain consistently high (38 percent), and the number of people unsubscribing is low.

A blog doesn’t have to be weekly – you can produce just one entry each month and still get the benefit of being seen as offering up-to-date content.

Personally, I find that regular blog writing is a good way to force myself to consistently think up new insights, look at the world through my clients’ eyes (What would be of interest to them?), and amass a body of expertise. I recently completed my 52nd weekly blog post, and that means it’s been consistently publishing for a year now. It’s rather satisfying. You can have that too.

For more ideas on building your career, get your copy of “Fast Track Your Engineering Career,” an e-book offering practical ideas for developing a reputation as a leader in your field.

 


Carl Friesen
Carl Friesen has a background in Journalism, an MBA in Marketing, and experience in sales and business development. For the past 15 years, he has helped his business professional clients publish content that demonstrates their expertise in niche markets. He is founder of Thought Leadership Resources, which provides educational materials to help professionals such as engineers, lawyers, consultants and architects learn how to get noticed and stand out as thought-leaders. To learn more, visit www.ThoughtLeadershipResources.com.

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