Everyone has heard horror stories of anonymous bloggers who get found out and get fired. You do not want that to happen to you. In fact, if you do it right, your blog can help advance your career, rather than torpedo it. Here are some helpful hints that will allow your blog to get you hired, rather than fired.
- Tell your boss. If you want this to establish you as an expert you'll need to use your real name. If you use your real name, your boss will find out. (And even if you use a fake name, your boss may well find out, and a fake name won't help your career much.) There's no fear of getting "caught" if your boss already knows.
- Remember there is no anonymity on the internet anyway. Your comments you make under that funny pseudonym? Someone who wants to can figure out that it's you. As you go around the internet, ask what a potential hiring manager would think of your statement before you post?
- Remember the "New York Times" rule. People used to say that you need to be prepared for whatever you said to be printed on the front page of the Times. Now, that's the least of your worries. The internet is fast and relentless and unforgiving. Make sure you want to stand behind your comments.
- Content. On the internet, content is king. If what you are saying is interesting and informative, people will come to you. If you're boring, don't know how to use paragraphs or write in text speak, your future boss isn't likely to be inclined to search you out.
- Choose your style. You told your boss about this (remember?) so that rules out funny stories about how your boss is a jerk. Yes, that might get you readers, but not a good career. But, here are some options for you:
- Strictly informative. If you're a widget manufacturing expert, your blog can be the place to go for the latest in widget manufacturing news.
- Commentary. Your blog can give your thoughts and opinions about the widget world and suggestions for improvements.
- Links galore. Lots of successful blogs are mainly conglomerations of the day's news (or week's) and other blogs on the same topic. Again, this gives people a reason to go to you--as you've picked out the best and most interesting, so they don't have to.
- Combination. You can do any or all of the above. Just make sure that people know what to expect from you.
- Your content needs to be interesting. You have to give people a reason to stay and a reason to come back. If your content is boring or uninformative people wont be impressed. You don't have to be a brilliant writer, but you do have to have something that draws people's interest.
- You need to be consistent. The more you post the better, as long as you're posting quality. Every day is best, but if you want to do two or three days a week, just pick the same two or three days a week to do it. You want people to know when to come for new content.
- Search Engine Optimization matters. If you want potential employers to find you, you need to pop up in Google. The more often you post, the more likely you are to be picked up by Google. I'm no where near an expert at SEO, but more updates put you higher in Google searches.
- Network, network, network. You have to blog network as well. Find blogs where people who you think would be interested in what you have to say already hang out. Make relevant comments. Not comments like "That's a great idea. I wrote something similar at [link]." Those drive people nuts. Just write your comment and then sign your name and put your link.
- Use Social Media. Once you have a good stock of content (I'd say at least 30 posts), start posting links on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Check your spelling. Make sure you check your spelling and grammar. Don't trust that the computer will catch all of them for you. It won't. Occasional mistakes are okay. Frequent mistakes are bad.
- Make your email address easy to find. There have been many times I've wanted to email a blogger to ask for more information because I want to write about and link to their blog. But, I can't find an email address. As a result, they miss out on any traffic my link may have sent them. But, even more important, if you are doing this to establish yourself as an expert in your field, it doesn't do much good if no one can find you.
- Be nice. It's perfectly okay to disagree with others in your field. However, do so nicely and logically or you'll just look like a jerk. Again, some readers like the jerk writers, so you might get hits, but it won't help your career.
- Play fair. Linking is the rule in the blogosphere. Whether you are quoting, criticizing, or praising someone link back to their stuff. Do not just copy and paste large amounts of text from other people's work into your blog.
For further reading:
- Huffington Post Law Suit: Should You Work For Free?
- What Does the Interviewer Want to Hear?
- I'm Tired of People Wanting to Network With Me
Photo by Brett L., Flickr cc 2.0