In April, 2015, Heather Armstrong, AKA the blogger “Dooce,” one of the early leaders in blogging, announced she wasn’t going to blog anymore. The post sparked much debate about the future of blogging and raised the question: Is blogging dead?
From my perspective, the answer is a loud “no!” blogging can help you attain many of your goals in life and business. Let’s take a look at how blogging can still help you in 2016 and beyond.
7 Benefits of Blogging and How to Achieve Them
Benefit #1: Learn Skills Free of Charge
When you start your blog, there are many “must do” things you may not know: crediting sources, editing, photography, marketing.
- Practice Makes Perfect
The more you work on your craft, the more you will find your voice, learn what “not” to do, discover what works and what doesn’t. Read your work aloud – you’ll hear the errors. Take lots of photos – you’ll learn technique.
- Accept Constructive Feedback
There are times when your audience – or lack of one – or a mentor can help you to understand you’re doing something wrong. Pay attention and heed their advice.
- Blog Your Dream Job
Write as if you were already in that job. For example, I want to coach parents on healing their children naturally so I write about real food, detoxing and natural health. How does your job fit a blog topic?
- Find Support
Blogger groups, ebooks, online courses and webinars on related topics are free and low cost resources you should use to improve your skills. Start with a regular online support group or local blogger community, and sign up for freebies from experts. Then consider a coach, a mastermind and full coursework for what you need to learn in depth.
Benefit #2: Become An Authority
Niched blogging helps to laser focus your blog and expertise quickly. Here are some strategies for becoming an authority.
- Focus Your Content
Select related topics to focus your energy on including anything that you’re already an expert at if it fits. Dig deep into them by following leaders and sharing their content. I regularly share Robyn O’Brien’s work on my Facebook page and my readers engage with that.
- Find Credible, Niched Sources
Google lets you have instant research at your fingertips, but you’ll need to learn what is a credible resource for your niche and what isn’t. For example, the Mayo Clinic and the CDC are great resources for mainstream health information but not for the alternative health community. Your support groups can guide you.
- Work with Others
Whether you are guest posting, taking on your first paid blogging job or writing for a friend, you’ll learn skills by working for others, such as editing. These grow faster when you have another professional editing your work.
Benefit #3: Real Time Resume
If you have a blog, potential employers and recruiters will find it and screen you through it. You want to connect and look good to them.
- Showcase Your Best Work
As long as your voice is authentic and you craft the best posts you can, you’ll be hirable in your niche. Think your blog has too much humor for a professional job? Find a job that requires humor. See an ad for a photographer? Post more of your photos to show off your best work.
- Support Prospects
On social media, find the companies you love and start engaging with them by supporting their causes and brands. This will make you stand out, whether you want a job or to work with them on a campaign.
- Seek Them Out
These people can turn up at local business and conference events too, so get to know their staff in person and on social media when possible. Use LinkedIn to connect with people you know in the company.
Benefit #4: Business Incubator
A traditional business takes thousands of dollars to start up, but blogging is both low risk and low cost. Blogging is a cost effective way to test the waters for a new business.
- Brainstorm Your Idea
Think outside the box and “do” the job you want online. You can create a talk show, create an online workshop, or film a creative video. For example, to grow my passion for helping parents, colleagues have recommended that I create webinars and offer one-to-one coaching right away.
- Shop Around
Who are your competitors and colleagues? What are they selling? How do they offer products? These ideas have worked for them – what works for those you know? Look for ideas that make you think, “I haven’t seen that before!” and translate it to your business.
- Get Constructive Feedback
Ask trusted bloggers what they think of your product or ideas. I’ve gotten feedback about my blog being something that is sorely needed, which led to my business idea about coaching parents.
Benefit #5: Share Good Will
One of the great gifts of blogging is that by sharing what you know, you can help others and “pay it forward.”
- Offer Help
Start out by answering questions, offering help, creating tutorials, etc. around your niche and expertise. You can ask questions on social media – this works well in front of shares. From there, outline an editorial calendar with your expertise. When Twitter was my main social media outlet, I would ask questions with an appropriate hashtag, such as: “How can I help you today? #parenting #autism.”
- Go Live
With so many live streaming options available, it’s a no-brainer to start talking about your expertise. My goals this year include Scoping about day-to-day advice on parenting kids with special needs, and Blabbing about how to cook with and for them.
Benefit #6: Healing
Blogging is a great way to start the process of healing the painful events of life. For some, it has even led to a full business.
- Share Your Story
Other people have gone through what you have gone through and they need the hope and encouragement to see it through. This is also a great way to be authentic, but before sharing, make sure you create the boundaries to protect your loved ones. Over the years, I’ve used blogging as a path to heal the pain over my kids’ disabilities.
- Embrace Your Community
Find others that have walked in your shoes in Facebook groups, live support communities, chat rooms, conferences, etc. Network in your niche to build readership and cement your unique perspective. I’m active in several groups that promote organic food, toxic free living, and natural health. Learn how social good can help your business.
Benefit #7: Additional Income
Blogging can earn you money in many ways and spread your skills into other professions.
- Sponsored Posts & Paid Social Shares
These can be acquired by pitching brands or by joining blogger rep groups, like Social Fabric or Influence Central. I make a decent living crafting 1-3 sponsored posts per month and several sponsored shares.
- Ad Revenue
You can sell spots on your blog if you have at least 5000 PV’s a month. Sell ad space for as low as $5 per month for a 125×125 ad. Or, join an affiliate program, such as Share A Sale to find these rather than pitch someone personally. I’ve done both, but the premade ads are easier to manage.
- Work for Hire
Bloggers can sell their skills at online writing, photography, social media services and work as virtual assistants. What are you best at? I started my career as a professional blogger by working with friends in need – for a fee.
- Sell Your Products
There are many great products you can sell using your blog to bootstrap and market those sales and events. For example, fashion bloggers can sell jewelry.
- Affiliate Marketing
This works best when you recommend products within an article. For example, a guide on parenting can be filled with books that help a parent manage discipline, like I do on my keyword-rich page about autism.
Blogging is NOT dead, but we need to look creatively at the opportunities it can provide for both professional and personal growth in a new light.