Blog your way to career success
But with so many blogs around on everything from food to technology; fashion to marketing, where do you start to make your voice heard?
Blogging is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and passion for a subject, explains Leon Emirali, a PR and social media analyst and an author in the Social Media for Business series. "It is relatively simple way to build a personal 'online brand'. It gives potential employers a new insight into what your relevant skills are for the job, what you are like as a person and how your interests may fit into the organisation.
"Blogging is also a fantastic tool for networking. Tell everyone you meet about your blog and the content that you're posting so you'll leave a longer lasting impression on them from your first meet."
Find a niche
Choose your topic carefully. It is important to keep your blog content relevant to your industry or the one you want to break into. But to really get yourself noticed amid the huge amount of blog competition – look for a unique hook. "A good way to start is to pick up an industry magazine and see what the current hot topics are," suggests Emirali.
Professional PR, social media and digital communications blogger Heather Baker explains the success of her blog, The B2B PR Blog: "Two elements of my blog helped it appeal to followers. Firstly, it covers a niche (B2B PR rather than PR in general). Secondly, its core topic has not been covered in detail elsewhere on the web."
Make a commitment
Blogging requires commitment so only start one if you are willing to dedicate a block of time to it each day, week or month. "Not keeping your blog up-to-date is a big mistake," says Emiralli. "If you have a blog that is searchable in your name but that hasn't been touched for over 18 months, employers will get a negative viewpoint of you as someone who can't stick out a long-term project."
In addition to planning, researching and writing content, be prepared to spend time promoting it through social media, networking with other bloggers to grow your audience and replying to comments.
Follow blogging etiquette
Blogging can be a minefield so it is crucial to get up to speed with how things work in the digital world. "Always give due credit to other bloggers for ideas, topics or information," says Anton Perreau, digital consultant and social media manager at Champion Communications. "Including other bloggers in your posts will also increase the likelihood of good returns."
Invite feedback from readers who share an alternative point of view. "So many bloggers don't request a response or explore the possibility that everything they say might not be right," adds Perreau. "The good blogger will always be open to comments and feedback."
Avoid blog blunders
If boosting your career is the sole intention of your blog, treat it as an extension to your CV and don't post anything you wouldn't be comfortable saying in an interview. Avoid sharing anything too personal and pay close attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation. "Write your blog post in a word processing document so that you can pick up on spelling and grammar before putting it live online," advises Emirali.
While it is important to remain professional, don't be afraid to speak your mind. "I was happy to be controversial," says Baker, explaining the 1,000 boost in readers in the first 10 day of her blog. "Without being downright mean, I decided to highlight examples of poor B2B PR practice."
Grow your blog
Blogging can feel like a job and many people have in fact made a career out of their blogs. Even if this is not your goal, growing your blog through producing quality content and online networking remains a top priority to make it worthwhile.
Top tips for growing your audience include buying your own domain name for your blog; including links to your blog in comment sections for articles and news stories; and sharing your content on social media platforms.
"Hyperlinks, references and images are a must," adds Perreau. "Link to as many different interesting sources as possible, use as many tags as possible and make sure you have the rights to use each image."