I know, I know. Everyone tells you to blog for SEO. Blog to bring traffic to your website. I’m not going to tell you those things (while they are true and very important).
I want you to blog for a totally different reason.
I want you to blog because it will make you better at simply being you.
Blogging was something I started for the SEO, but I’ve found I’ve gotten so much more out of it than just website visits. I want you to get those things too.
Here are my two cents on why blogging makes you a better you both professionally and personally:
1. It Makes You a Better Writer
This one is a pretty obvious “duh” moment, but it is so important. Everyone writes at some point and there are almost no jobs in which being a good writer isn’t important. Your writing responsibility may be as small as the emails you send to co-workers or as large as writing proposals, grants, or RFPs where the company’s financial future rests on your words.
Sending better emails will mean you are more likely to get what you need, communicate more effectively with clients or customers, or are better at moving projects forward. Writing better RFPs or proposals means you may earn more money. No matter what the magnitude, better writing is going to help you on a daily basis.
It forces you to sit down and consciously write with the intention of communicating an idea and being understood by possibly millions of people you’ve never met.
In my mind, it isn't much different from bodybuilding.
When you first start out, you’re likely going to be weak -- and that’s ok; You have to start somewhere.
But, if you never lift that first weight, you’ll never be able to get to the point where you’re so buff that you can win Mr. Olympia.
The same goes for blogging. If you never start, you may never have the opportunity to get better at writing. Who knows, one day you may even find yourself ready to write a whole book!
2. It Encourages You to Grow
I personally love the advice provided by David C. Baker in “The Business of Expertise.” He suggests creating a list of all the things you want to be “an expert” in and force yourself to write about them. That is the best way to truly grow.
Blogging encourages you to write about subjects you are interested in, and often about subjects you are interested in learning more about. This forces you dive in, research, and learn about a subject before writing. It makes you a more well-rounded individual.
Not to mention, writing about something you’ve just researched helps you retain a lot more of what you learned.
The cone of learning says we only retain about 10% of what we read, but 90% of what we teach others to do.
This is where blogging truly shines. Great blogs are all about imparting knowledge to readers.
If you can use your writing to teach others on a subject, it will make you that much smarter on the subject.
Most people blog to show they are subject matter expert, but it often has the effect of making them an expert by forcing them to research and write.
Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!
3. It Makes You a Better Speaker
I’ve already talked about how blogging makes you a better writer. Well, what is another benefit of being a better writer? You’ll be a better speaker. Your ability to articulate yourself grows as you write and that growth will directly translate into your ability to articulate yourself as a speaker.
I find that writing allows me to truly explore the way I think or feel about a subject in a way that is difficult only with speaking. When I’m in a tough spot or am trying to really understand how I want to approach a problem, I write about it. My mind tends to clear as a write in a way I cannot fully understand or explain. It helps you slow down and organize your thoughts.
I use this little trick all the time, both personally and professionally, and it has drastically improved my ability to speak publicly or even have tough one-on-one conversations.
4. It Sparks Creativity
One of the most unexpected benefits of regular blogging is how great it is at unlocking your inner creativity. I’ve already talked about how great writing is to figure out problems or understand your own thoughts and feelings, well, it actually helps create new thoughts and feelings as well.
Since I started regularly blogging, I’ve become that person that keeps notebooks everywhere just in case an idea hits.
I find that my most creative places (e.g. the rooms in my house where I keep notebooks) are:
My garage/gym. Ideas always hit mid-sweat.
My bedroom. I often tend to get moments of inspiration just as I’m falling asleep.
My office. This one is mostly just at the ready for work, but work always sparks great ideas.
My car. Just in case I have an idea while I’m out and about, I don’t want to be caught without one!
Blogging has truly changed the way in which my brain works. I find that it is often looking for inspiration and great ideas in everyday life (without me even having to ask it to!).
I challenge you to stop looking at writing for your business blog as an assignment and look at it as an opportunity. It shouldn’t be something you have to do but something that you get to do. A very smart person once told me “Professionals make time for professional development.”
Writing for your blog should be no different. Yes, you should write to bring more traffic to your site, but you should also write so that you can get better at your job, grow your career, and improve yourself.
So pick up that first weight, and I’ll see you at Mr. Olympia in a few years.
What are you still doing here? Go write!
I just have one question for you. What will your next blog post be?