For the professional knowledge worker, I'm often asked if having a web site supports your career. Blogging, of course, is an investment of time and effort, so it is natural to ask if the effort will pay off. I think the effort is worth it, especially in the uncertain times of today.
Here's four ways to market your career through blogging:
Build subject matter expertise through blogging
Let's face it: when you start writing on your site, you start learning more about your subject area. Over the course of 600+ articles in about three years, I've learned much more about career management than I would have without the writing discipline of Cube Rules. You naturally learn more about your subject as you search for more ideas to write on your site.
The learning is never-ending – and transparent. I've read and written enough about Gen-Y and their careers that when my manager in a team meeting asked "what's the big deal about Gen-Y and managing them? They are just like all employees, aren't they?" I listed five reasons they are different right off the top of my head. Given the team and manager reaction, you would have thought I was from Mars. It even surprised me. We don't fully understand that our subject expertise is a differentiator in the market.
This is not an isolated instance. Through writing about your subject, you will automatically become more of an expert in your subject area.
Build career authority through blogging
As your expertise builds, so does your authority. Authority is different from expertise. Expertise is knowledge of a subject. Authority is where you have distinguished yourself enough that people come to you looking for your opinion on your subject.
Authority builds through blogging as you interact with others on-line, develop articles showing thought leadership on your subject and as others link to your articles.
You strengthen this authority when traditional media sources – the press, television, and other news sites – come to you through your writing on your blog.
If you work more in professional services, such as law, accounting or health care, building authority through your blog can easily prove your expertise and authority in your subject area. This authority draws clients, customers and work that interest you most – in areas where you do your best work.
Blogging builds your Personal Brand
A Personal Brand is what skills, values and expertise you bring to the table for your team, customers and market. Everyone has a Personal Brand, whether you write on-line or not. You traditionally build your Personal Brand through working with your colleagues and customers. This limits the exposure to your Personal Brand without more marketing.
Blogging, on the other hand, shows your Personal Brand to the planet. Blogging also improves your brand perception to others. As you write on your subject matter on your site, search engines such as Google record the subjects and give you higher and higher rankings. When potential clients, customers and hiring managers want to know about you, searching your name or company on Google is often the first place they go. Blogging gives you a better opportunity to show your Personal Brand to others interested in your work.
If you Google Scot Herrick, you will see ten pages of subject matter – almost half of it on content that I have created. And the rest on those other Scott Herrick's out there that happen to spell their name with two "t's" on Scott. That subject matter will tell you about my Personal Brand.
Blogging helps you market yourself
Let's be clear: in a global economy, it is harder to market your skills and services to the people you want to attract. If you are an attorney specializing in technology start-up issues, you won't find that in the Yellow Pages. If you are an accountant specializing in "small business" – or even a more narrow line of business such as "technology small business" – your marketing effort becomes more difficult.
Even if you are a knowledge worker in a corporation, your skills and performance need marketing.
When you build expertise, authority and promote your personal brand through the writing on your site, your marketing effort becomes simpler. You will naturally attract the people you want to interact with through your site. Becoming an authority on a subject, even a narrow one, will bring like-minded people to your site.
And having your services offered on your site will be the logical next step to see for readers coming to find out about your content.
Blogging to market your career takes effort, no doubt. Only you can evaluate if that commitment is right for you. But if you want to become an expert in a subject, have others search you out for your authoritative opinion, show your best self to the world and market your services, blogging is a great tool.
Blogging can be your career marketing platform. What's your career marketing platform now?
[Note: This is part of a 4-post initiative to help you get started blogging. Read also "Finding Your Blogging Voice" by Marcelo Calbucci, "How to Set Up a Basic WordPress Blog" by Carolynn Duncan, "15-Rules for Business Blogging" by Ian Lurie and "Marketing Your Career Through Blogging" by Scot Herrick]