In my blog post about social media strategies for executives, I talk about the importance of being consistent on social media – regularly sending out valuable content that reminds your network of your capabilities.
Sharing other people’s content is one way to do this, such as links to articles on industry sites and established publications like Inc. and Forbes. Why not take it one step further and create your own content?
What is a blog?
A blog is a type of website that you can easily update on a regular basis. For a business, this would be part of the company’s main website. If you’re employed or in career transition, your blog will be a stand-alone site, possibly combined with an online portfolio that showcases your work.
What are the benefits of blogging for executive career management?
- Expert status – With so few people making blogging part of their career management strategy, maintaining a personal blog can really be a unique differentiator that sets you apart from other career professionals. When they see your name, photo and content on your own site, people may even perceive you as somewhat of a star! A blog serves as a forum to market yourself to a defined audience and brands you as an expert.A blog also demonstrates that you’re tech savvy, which is especially important if you’re an older job seeker. Blogging shows that you’re up to date, familiar with current technology, and can relate to younger generations of executives and workers.
- Search engine results – Linking between your blog, LinkedIn profile, and other social media platforms will boost the SEO of them all. SEO stands for search engine optimization – the likelihood you will be found when people search for someone who does what you do. The more you blog, the higher your blog will rank in the search engine results for the particular topics you’re blogging about.When a hiring influencer Googles your name and finds your blog, this raises your credibility (unless they also find any digital dirt during the search).
- Branding – To ensure your blog has a professional look that is consistent with your other online and paper materials, I recommend having your blog designed and installed by a web developer. While you can certainly do it yourself, it can take time and the end result may be so unpolished that it detracts from the brand you’re trying to promote.
- Immediacy – Once it’s set up, updating a blog can be as easy as creating and saving a document in a word processor. You can invest in a few lessons with a web professional to get you started, or simply browse tutorials on YouTube and around the web.Note: Though you can publish immediately, I recommend always pausing long enough to proofread each post for errors, and to make sure your topic or tone won’t do anything to damage your professional reputation.
- Collaboration – A blog is the perfect opportunity to connect with other experts in your network. You can interview them, or they can write a guest post for your blog (and vice versa – more on that below). This takes networking to a higher level, as you get to showcase each other’s credibility on a public stage.
What do you need to start blogging?
You can start blogging with these basic tools:
A domain name (web address) – A good choice is always yourname.com (reserve .ca as well). 10Dollar.ca and GoDaddy are two options. Tip: Purchase an email package to go along with your domain, so you can set up a professional email address.
A website host – Choose a company that supports WordPress.org or another content management system (CMS). You will have much more control over your site this way, versus using a “hosted” option such as WordPress.com, Typepad or Blogger. 10Dollar.ca and GoDaddy both offer this option, as does HostGator.com.
A plan – Have a clear purpose and audience in mind, along with a set list of themes. Choose topics that demonstrate your knowledge and credibility. Know how often you plan to publish new posts, and make a list of sources you’ll tap for ideas, inspiration, and other sites (e.g., trade magazines) you can link to and discuss.
Where else can you blog?
If you don’t want to take the full plunge into setting up your own blog, or as a way of getting your feet wet first, look for guest blogging opportunities. You can still share these posts with your network, and you get the additional benefits of exposure to new audiences on those sites.
Start with your own company’s blog, if they have one. See who in your network is already blogging about topics you want to be known for. Try to get into LinkedIn Publisher. Search for industry blogs that accept guest posts and make connections with the site owners.
Remember that the main purpose of your blogging effort is to attract hiring influencers and people who can refer you to them. No matter if you’re posting on your own site or another site, always include an obvious link to your LinkedIn profile and/or online resume. That’s how you can turn your online influence into career success!