These days, one of the best ways to market yourself is by blogging. We’re not talking about what you ate this morning or your favorite reality shows, (unless you want to work in the entertainment industry). Instead, consider a blog that showcases your professional work and skills. It will help you build your personal brand and turn you into a force in your industry, sometimes without even knowing it.
Want to know the power of a blog? Just ask Rasmussen College Senior Online Marketing Manager Josh Braaten.
“I wanted to work in search engine optimization or SEO,” said Braaten. “I created both a website and blog to practice my skill set, showcase what I’m learning and network with others working in SEO. A hiring manager at Rasmussen College found my blog through my LinkedIn page and contacted me. The rest is history.”
Here are some ways you can become a successful blogger like Braaten.
Practice Your Skill Set
A blog gives you the chance to practice your work. Maybe you’re going to school for web design or early childhood education. Take the skills you’re learning in the classroom and apply it to your blog. For example; create a mock webpage or come up with a fun childhood education activity for the classroom. Best part, your ideas and videos will all be in one place and easy to share.
“I would read about something in SEO and then do it,” said Braaten. “It’s a very hands-on way of learning.”
Not a good writer? Blogging will help because it requires consistently practicing and sharpening your writing skills. You’ll also become more familiar with technology and networking.
“I was not born a writer, but I’ve worked hard to become one because I’ve realized the importance of having writing skills,” said Braaten. “I may never be the best writer, but anyone can learn to write well if they do it enough.”
Showcase What You’re Learning
Think of your blog as an online portfolio or resume, and just as you would show your work to an instructor, share it with working professionals in your field. You could start by showcasing your blog posts on your own Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn pages. Then, take it one step further and reach out to working professionals in your industry. Try tweeting your ideas at other bloggers, not in an obtrusive way, but mention you really enjoyed reading one of their posts and you wanted feedback on yours. Also, join conversations on Twitter that relate to your skill set, perhaps mentioning your blog. Be careful not to glorify your own work though; simply try to communicate what you can do and what you’re hoping to learn.
“You want to prove you are good at what you do,” said Braaten. That leads us to networking.
Is there someone you admire in your industry? There’s a good chance they’re probably writing about their work and experiences. Many people have a blog these days. That presents a huge opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Follow blogs in your industry and comment on their posts. You might also want to create a link to other blogs in your articles. As a relationship begins to blossom, offer to write an article for another blogger and vice versa. Who knows, that could lead to bigger and better things.
“I got some great content ideas from other bloggers,” said Braaten. “Eventually, people started reaching out to me as an expert. I researched their problems, which turned into side projects and freelance opportunities. My blog became my best reference.”
Simply writing about your interests or career ambitions can lead to learning opportunities and connections, but it’s going to take work.
“Blogging doesn’t typically bring instant gratification,” said Braaten. “Everyone wants a brand new house, but few are willing to build it. Every blog post is like a brick in your online house. Stick with it, and it will pay off.”