When I first graduated from business school, I leveraged our school's alumni network to seek advice on securing my first job. One successful businessperson I spoke to advised that starting a blog would be one of the best things I could do to advance in my career. Looking back, I completely agree with this advice. Building a blog is one of the best tools for getting started and advancing in your career field. If you don't have a personal blog yet, I hope to provide some concrete reasons in this article on why you must start one today.
1. Personal Branding
The idea of the personal brand that was coined by Tom Peters in 1997 has been greatly accelerated by the Internet which connects everyone and provides a platform for easy self publishing of content that can be broadcast to a large audience for free. By producing great content on your blog, you will establish an online presence that will strengthen your personal brand. For example, Dan Schawbel created a blog called The Personal Branding Blog which grew to thousands of monthly readers and established Dan as the expert on personal branding for Generation Y professionals while resulting in a book deal and national recognition.
2. Get Found Online
A pro tip when starting a personal blog is register your name as the domain. A good example is www.ChrisBrogan.com. Google strongly favors websites with the exact keyword phrase in the domain, so you will have a strong chance of ranking number one in Google for your name if you secure an exact match domain and create worthwhile content. If the .com domain for your name is not available, the .org is a good alternative. When people search Google for your name you will be able to attract visitors to your blog and communicate a focused message about who you are and what you offer. Generally, the more great articles you write on your blog, the more traffic you will attract from search engines like Google or Bing.
3. Knowledge Advancement
If you are regularly blogging and want to add value to readers, you will have to know what you are writing about to explain your ideas effectively and not embarrass yourself. This requires reading other blogs, books, and industry publications in your field to have the sufficient knowledge to support your ideas. Increasing your knowledge in your field can be invaluable in your career, and a blog can motivate you to spend more time learning what you should know.
4. Relationship Building
Blogs are inherently interactive because anyone can start a conversation with you by leaving a comment on an article. You can often meet people in your industry who leave insightful comments on your blog. Follow up with these people via email or LinkedIn. Contributing thoughtful comments on the blogs of people in your industry can get the attention of influential people in your field. A couple great blogging tactics is to interview people on your blog or write guest articles on influential blogs, which can both help develop valuable relationships.
5. Demonstration of Skill
Some people have suggested that a personal blog will someday replace the resume. Although this is far from reality in 2012, a blog can provide a lot more information for employers than a resume. A blog shows how you think, demonstrates your communication skills, and showcases the quality of your ideas. If you are able to build a substantial audience, this can be a great example of your online marketing acumen or your ability to execute a successful project.
Charles Sipe is the Executive Editor of Masters In Accounting, a career resource site for students interested in pursuing a masters in accounting degree.