This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.
When you tell someone you have a blog, the conversation can go down a lot of different paths:
“Oh, so you spill your guts on the Internet and I should run far away from you?” Nope.
“Oh, so you get a bunch of free stuff?” Not really. I mean, sometimes. But usually not.
“Oh… that’s nice.”
Opinions on blogging run the gamut, but over the past few years, blogging has established itself as an effective tool for engaging in public conversations. People in every industry use it to communicate ideas, and young professionals can establish valuable career skills by taking on some WordPress time.
Establishing (And Keeping) A Strong Network: As a blogger, some of your greatest collaborators are other bloggers. Having these connections can be mutually beneficial for support, advice, and everyday inspiration. Keeping up with a network can be a challenge, so this skill will serve you well in the professional world.
Hint: Keep a contacts spreadsheet of other professionals in your space. Make sure you have their name, email address, blog URL, twitter handle, (and a few notes about them if you tend to forget things) so you can send out some support or an article they might find interesting.
Supporting Peers: In the professional world, you rarely go it alone. There are always people along the way to support you, and you can foster those relationships by supporting. The blogging world is no different, and bloggers are involved in that on a micro level by sharing content from other bloggers. It benefits your readers by providing them with interesting content, and it allows you to provide some love to other bloggers.
Hint: Every day or every other day, share content written by other professionals in your industry on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Marketing: Even if you have the best stories in the world, or the most creative DIY projects known to man, it’s not going to make an impact if no one can see it. Learning to market effectively and appropriately is crucial for bloggers. Bloggers can use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ like champs without breaking a sweat, a useful skill for establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Hint: Hootsuite – it’s a big deal. Using the free version, you can post to all of your social media channels at once, schedule future posts, and save yourself lots of time.
Listening & Reacting: Being hooked up to the Internet makes you realize that people stop caring about things quickly. Really quickly. No one wants to talk about Pharrell’s hat at the Grammy’s anymore (even though we should never stop talking about that). As a blogger it’s important to listen to the Internet – what’s trending on Twitter, what people are sharing on Facebook. Being receptive to new trends is a great skill for the workplace, ensuring that your ideas are always timely and innovative.
Hint: Set up a Google Alert for your niche. If you are a travel blogger focused on luxury trips with a low price tag, set up a Google Alert for “cheap travel” or “traveling on a budget.” If you are a marketing professional focused on fashion brands, set up a Google Alert for “social media fashion brands.” At the end of every week (or every day, depending on your preference), Google will send you an up-to-date list of what influencers in your niche are talking about. This keeps your content relevant and helps you avoid stale topics.
Blogging allows you to create a network of people who can challenge you creatively and intellectually by sharing ideas online. This exchange can keep you sharp and in-tune with current events, and can boost your skills in the workplace.
Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and tweet her @lindseygsampson.