When you think about it, social media is like sharecropping -- you help build a network with your content and it uses it however they see fit. What happens if they delete your account or the network changes its terms and conditions?
It could be an unintentional glitch -- and now your data is gone. Both Flickr and Facebook have given us examples in the last couple of years. The effects of those actions have been devastating for the people who had put time and care into building a presence in social networks with their content.
Which is why I have been and continue to be strongly in favor of using a blog as a base to spread your ideas.
Starting a blog shows commitment to a topic, industry, group, project, brand, etc. It establishes you as someone who can stick with a regular appointment, and has something to say, teach, and learn. There are many more benefits.
As I continue to receive many emails from students and young professionals about how to find opportunities and differentiate themselves, I thought it would be helpful to explore 34 ways to spread your ideas with a blog.
1. do your internship this way -- no reason to wait for someone to screen you first, or give them an easier way to screen you in rather than out by taking the initiative
2. practice your writing skills -- I can think of no better way to improve writing than developing a regular writing habit
3. network online -- with your content all in one place, people will be able to learn about how you think more easily
4. develop your ideas -- fleshing them out with the help of the community can be a great accelerator to execution
5. find opportunities to do research -- you start a topic with what you know, and expand it into things that others know
6. discover opportunities to expand off line -- were it not for this blog, I would not have gone to many of the meet ups and conferences I've attended in the last couple of years, met great people, etc.
7. participate in worthy initiatives -- in the last couple of years, we helped promote awareness of worthy causes through Bloggers Unite and Blog Action Day each year. We talked about how social media is greening the planet, poverty and water
9. help put a face on your business -- organizations that accept employees can be a passionate extension of the company's conversation continue to reap positive rewards
10. find mentors -- David Spinks had a wonderful series of blog posts about mentoring and finding a mentor on Mondays
11. build a tribe -- is there a like-minded group with a problem you can solve? There's your opportunity to fill a content/community vacuum and get help in amplifying discussions
12. create value by being who you are -- there is incredible opportunity on topics, cultures, and points of view that are still unexplored
13. curate the content of others -- say you're passionate about a topic and there is already quite a bit of great information online. You could become a relevant filter and curator of that information, the de facto destination on that topic
14. share a fresh perspective -- we need more of those. When you look beyond the known groups, you find that there are amazing blogs for many fields of knowledge and specialties
15. find an outlet for your passion -- sometimes our day job doesn't quite align with what you're passionate about, or doesn't provide enough space to creativity or the pursuit of something you love
16. attract others who are passionate about a topic -- remove geographic constraints, put search in your corner, and you're likely to be surprised finding kindred thinkers
17. establish yourself as a go-to resource -- it used to be that you had to be well known or established in a field or a profession to publish. With a blog, you can begin today
18. give back to your profession -- there are many ways to do that by helping professional associations, of course. However, you may find that you can squeeze in time to contribute only in the wee hours of the night
19. learn how to edit content -- this is a skill that will come in handy in many jobs outside communications. Think about writing reports, proposals, presentation decks, love notes, etc.
20. tell a story -- a blog can be a great repository for the stories you share here and there. In fact, that's how blogs got their start, as live journals. Just make sure you back up your files
21. be a resource for your networks -- you may find as I did that you don't scale so well in one on one conversations. Authoring a blog gives you the opportunity to share information more broadly
22. undertake a project -- yes, many say that a blog is an open ended endeavor. I think it's perfectly fine to start one to support a project. Authors do that to provide companions for their books, for example
23. showcase a less known brand on your product line -- not all products get equal marketing budgets and some may be better suited for the educational and informational approach blogs are suited for
24. complement or replace your resume -- when making hiring decisions, enlightened companies are starting to screen candidates by seeking evidence of their skills beyond a carefully written laundry list of things they have done
25. develop alternative career options -- it's no secret that the best way to find the ideal career is to create one for yourself. Plus, here are 50 ways to make limoncello when you've been laid off
26. start something new -- the best way to break through in an industry that is filled with insiders and is fossilized around the way things are done is to do something else and succeed at it
27. contribute your knowledge -- there are plenty of things we can still learn from each other and your contribution will help all of us
28. gain visibility -- by giving passionately and building on your domain expertise, or gaining one through blogging, you become more visible in the business community
29. mix it up -- by writing a blog, you open your ideas to the comments and perspectives of others, which end up enriching them
30. support a cause you care about -- helping spread the ideas and work of others is very rewarding, and a good way to donate time to increase awareness on behalf of a good cause
31. document your journey -- I've enjoyed reading blogs written by professionals who were on sabbatical or took some time off to experience life in different parts of the world, for example
32. collect useful information -- maybe you're not researching for one specific project, yet you keep finding great resources you want to share with your network along with your comments
33. use it to test drive ideas -- nothing wrong with giving it a shot, and the side benefit is improved writing skills
34. change the game on what a blog is -- there is plenty of room to reinvent the medium. Go ahead and do that, start something new and you'll be the first one to do it
All this is to say that you can use the tools at your disposal to make what you envision a reality -- a new job or career, practice, building community, networking, etc. Blogging is no substitute for doing. It is a complement to it.
[updated from archives]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.