Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.

Ben Day blogged his way into a career as a high-earning software consultant while maintaining the freedom to schedule frequent jam sessions and performances as a keyboard player. Blogging gave him the opportunity to stand out enough to support the life he envisioned for himself.

Phil van Allen, a faculty member of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, said to me in an interview, “For your career, a blog is essential. It’s the new public relations and it’s the new home page. Instead of a static home page, you have your blog.” It’s a way to let people know what you are thinking about the field that interests you.

Employers regularly Google prospective employees to learn more about them. Blogging gives you a way to control what employers see, because Google’s system works in such a way that blogs that are heavily networked with others come up high in Google searches.

And coming up high is good: “People who are more visible and have a reputation and stand for something do better than people who are invisible,” branding consultant Catherine Kaputa told me.

But pick your topics carefully and have a purpose. “The most interesting blogs are focused and have a certain attitude,” says van Allen. “You need to have a guiding philosophy that you stick to. You cannot one minute pontificate on large issues of the world and the next minute be like, ‘My dog died.'”

Day realized the value of focus after a misguided mashup of his politics and business. “I used to have liberal politics on my website as well, but my mentor said, ‘Dude, you gotta trim that off.’ Which was fine because in the world of liberal politics I was just another piece of noise.” Now his blog is all about software development with an emphasis on technologies such as NHibernate and C#.

Once you zero in on your topic, here are eight reasons blogging helps your career:

1. Blogging creates a network.
A blogger puts himself out in the world as someone who is interesting and engaging — just the type of person everyone wants to meet. “A blog increases your network because a blog is about introducing yourself and sharing information,” says Kaputa.

2. Blogging can get you a job.
Dervala Hanley writes a quirky literary blog that got her a job is at Stone Yamashita Partners, a consulting firm that “tries to bring humanity to business.” Hanley told me that the firm was attracted to her ability to put her business experience into personal terms on the blog.

3. Blogging is great training.
To really get attention for your blog, you’re going to have to have daily entries for a while. At least a few months to get rolling, and then three or four times a week after that. So you will really get to know your topic well.

4. Blogging helps you move up quickly.
To escape the entry-level grind, you can either pay your dues, working up a ladder forever, or you can establish yourself as an expert in the world by launching a blog. High-level jobs are for people who specialize, and hiring managers look for specialists online. “Decision-makers respect Google-karma,” writes Tim Bray, director of Web technologies for Sun Microsystemson his own blog, of course.

5. Blogging makes self-employment easier.
You can’t make it on your own unless you’re good at selling yourself. One of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of marketing yourself is with a blog. When someone searches for your product or service, make sure your blog comes up first.

Curt Rosengren, a career coach, periodically Googles “career passion” — words he thinks are most important to his business — just to make sure his blog, Occupational Adventure, comes up high on the list. He estimates that his blog generates at least half of his coaching business.

6. Blogging provides more opportunities.
Building brands, changing careers, launching a business — these endeavors are much easier once you’ve established yourself online. Rosengren told me, “My blog is a foundation. I’m building an awareness that I can leverage to do other fun things with my future, such as product development, or public speaking.”

A blog gives you a leg up when you meet someone new. Dylan Tweney, a freelance writer, told me his blog, the Tweney Review, gives him instant legitimacy with clients.

7. Blogging could be your big break.
Visually creative types can blog beyond just text. Mark Fearing has a cartoon blog. “Cartooning and illustration are very crowded fields,” he says. “My blog has gotten me more notice than any other publicity tool I’ve used. Plus, the blog gives me a way to have a new conversation with potential clients about other work.”

8. Blogging makes the world a better place.
“Blogging is about giving stuff away to a community,” says Day. “For years, as a junior developer, I would go to the Internet for solutions and I would always take, take, take. Now I am happy to be a contributor and give something back.”

Article sponsored by YouSayToo – a bloggers community where you can make money blogging by uploading your existing blogs.

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  1. Reine de Saba
    Reine de Saba says:

    This is very helpful to me. Do you have any thoughts about choosing topics for blog postings? I have varied experience and interests and am considering starting a blog to keep up my writing skills, keep up with my field (public health and health care research and policy), and possibly drum up consulting business.

    Reply
  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Blogging is a great way to reach all the goals you mention. But it’s very, very time consuming. Be careful about starting a blog and telling everyone and then stopping. In terms of a consulting business, stopping in the middle might not look that good. I recommend blogging without a formal announcement for a couple of months. That’s what I did, to make sure I could handle posting every day.

    Here are a couple of bloggers who have created a thriving consulting business by using their blog to attract clients:

    Curt Rosengren and Ian Christie.

    Good luck. I hope blogging goes well for you. I found that I really love doing it.

    Reply
  3. Katelyn Sack
    Katelyn Sack says:

    How do you advise polymaths (a.k.a. full human beings) to keep their blogs focused? There seems to me to be a chicken-egg question here: do you develop a business plan complete with your target niche before launching a blog, or do you give it a shot and let it help you define the plan? I’m sure the answer is somewhere in the middle, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

    Thanks for all your work and wisdom! I’m really looking forward to reading your book.

    Reply
  4. penelope
    penelope says:

    Think of the blog as a piece of marketing material for your business. If your business changes, you shift the marketing material. If the business fails, you scrap the marketing material for the old business and focus on material for your new business.

    There are always a lot of questions you could ask before you start something. A lot of analyzing you could do. Sometimes, it’s just better to start and see what happnes. If you tell yourself you need focus, and you aim for foucs, you will find it.

    Reply
    • Zibran Ahmed
      Zibran Ahmed says:

      Hi Penelope. I have recently resigned from my workplace because i did not like the manager. I was an accountant and used to prepare their financials. The main reason i did not liked the manager was because he always picked up on me and my self-morale towards work really dropped. I searched for work meanwhile but didnt find any. When the manager crossed my limits, i resigned. I am still unemployed. Please advise if i have done the right thing and advise me what should i reply to my next potential employer if he asks me the reason why i have left my previous work??

      Reply
  5. Katelyn Sack
    Katelyn Sack says:

    Thanks for your prompt and helpful reply, Penelope. I was still conceptualizing blogging as quasi-journaling, since the style is typically less formal than that of other marketing media, and one wants to create a sense of personal rapport with the target audience.

    I sincerely appreciate your guidance. You cannot stop me from over-analyzing this thing as is my habit, but you have certainly helped me know how to over-analyze it best!

    Reply
  6. Mike Hobart
    Mike Hobart says:

    Some interesting comments. Though I don’t use my blog as a business tool the way some of your suggestions seem to involve, I do notice that over the years my style of blogging has evolved.

    I think that my childhood ambitions to be “an author” have been transmuted into the part-time activity of being what they called in the 19th century “an essayist.”

    Or today – a blogger.

    Reply
  7. maxnort
    maxnort says:

    I am an incredibly technically minded individual. I’m not a business-person; I interface with hardware and software, also known as “intellectual property”; the stuff “copyright infringement” lawsuits are made of.

    Blogging can cost me my career, not move it forward.

    Reply
  8. mumbaikar
    mumbaikar says:

    My goal is to know as much about Mumbai as possible in the next two years. I keep notes and essentially publish them as a blog. I have adsense on it so I market it. I search other blogs and comment on those. That, too, add to my knowledge about the subject.

    I could not agree with you more..

    Reply
  9. Thad Greer
    Thad Greer says:

    I couldn’t agree more regarding the importance to blogging to your career. What people need to realize is that a good blog doesn’t happen overnight–they develop and mature over time. It’s like writing a novel: you don’t sit down and bang out a 400 page manuscript and if you’re looking to impress a particular employer, you can’t very well put together your blog a week before your interview (well, you can but I don’t recommend it).

    While it may not be a replacement for your resume (at this point in time–5-10 years from now, it very well could) it’s a tremendous advantage over your counterparts that may not have a blog, especially when it comes to demonstrating your knowledge of a particular industry.

    Reply
  10. Vinaya HS
    Vinaya HS says:

    It’s not only about a career. My blog made the difference during my MBA admission interview. Of course, it also helped me land a job later. My blog gives me a sustainable competitive advantage.

    Reply
  11. Dushan Hanuska
    Dushan Hanuska says:

    I totally agree! Serious professional blogging is good for your career.

    I got *blog fired* at the very beginning of my blogging. But that did not stop me. I kept blogging and I must say that thanks to my blog I also got *blog hired* to the best company in my career ever.

    My blog helped me to get the job but was not the key point in hiring process – knowledge and skills are always more important.

    Anyway, keep blogging and encourage others to do so as well!

    Reply
  12. Ranjan
    Ranjan says:

    I’d seen your article on Boston.com site and found it immensely useful. Specially at a time when I was asking myself whether I shd continue. Thanks.

    And pardon me for referring to you as “He”…oops.

    Looking fwd to picking up yr book: Brazen Careerist.

    Reply
  13. Jennifer Zajac
    Jennifer Zajac says:

    I kept putting off doing this, using the excuse that I’m a working mom with a newborn–no time to do this. Then I realized: Uh, Penelope struggles with the same issue and she’s doing it. It’s important to make the time to blog–it’s right up there with long lunches, immaculate desks and watching “Cars” for the 188th time with your son.

    Reply
  14. Mark
    Mark says:

    I’m an attorney and blogging about my free-time interests coupled with the occasional rant on legal issues that intersect them led to me landing my largest client.

    Reply
  15. Bihar
    Bihar says:

    blogging can be pretty dangerous. its addictive and sometimes unproductive. there is hardly any monetary benefits as ads pays peanuts. its taking a lot of my time and energy.

    Reply
  16. Carol Quovadis
    Carol Quovadis says:

    Poor Bihar,
    You’re right it can be dangerous. I find limiting myself to half an hour per day works well. But see Penelope’s tips on time management.
    Here in Ireland it’s not very popular on a personal career level, though many people are starting to use myspace.
    I came across an American 16 year old using an web site video to advance her college career. (See
    http://www.kenzilla.com/) I found it very disturbing, but maybe I’m backward. Have to go now my hour an hour is up!!!

    * * * * *

    H, Carol. Thank you for pointing out that blogging requires good time management just like anything else.

    I took a look at the link you sent to Kenzie’s web site. I have to say that this is the best use of a video resume that i have seen. And people send me examples every day. She is using this site to get a full scholarship to college to play volleyball. A goal that it certainly seems like she will achieve. This is a great use of video because top schools have to figure out which athletes to go scout in person. Kenzie is using this web site to get coaches to come visit her.

    This generation of college grads will graduate with more debt from school than any other generation. It’s great to see Kenzie using techology to make sure this doesn’t happen to her.

    –Penelope

    Reply
  17. Carol Quovadis
    Carol Quovadis says:

    Hi Penelope,
    I agree it’s a great use of technology and marketing, but that’s the really disturbing thing! 16 year olds being so sharp, serious and focused and being able to sell themselves so well! I know when I was 16 I did n’t have a clue.

    Many of the older teenagers we deal with are bright, resourceful and clever but would be highly unlikely to put such a detailed video together as they’re still at the career searching stage.

    Maybe it’s because our educational system is different and allows teenagers to make up their minds later.

    In Ireland you normally do a transition year in your 2nd level school at 15-17 years which steps out of academic stuff and looks at work experience, self directed learning etc. What I found interesting was that even at 16, my daughters grades & hobbies allowed her to participate in great work experience assignments that her friends were n’t accepted on. So even at 16 your life choices are being set, even though you’re still changing!
    Daughter still has not decided what career she’ll go for and won’t make her college decisions until she’s 18. She can keep her college options open by making sure she does one additional language and one science subject. Gives her plenty of time for hanging out, enjoying different activities and basically enjoying life. (Hopefully she’ll do a bit of studying as well !!)

    Recent studies have shown that teenagers brains are still physically changing and coupling that with hormones, whilst expecting them to make major life decisions – an alien would say are you mad?

    I’m very happy that there’s no real pressure on my daughter to make major decisions until she’s 18 and at that stage whether she gets her college choices will mainly depend on her academic results.

    In Ireland we don’t pay undergraduate fees unless you go to a private college. The major public colleges however have a better reputation than most of the private colleges. However we have no free pre school education for 3-6 year olds so many people argue it’s favours the better off. i.e disadvantaged kids are highly unlikely to go to college and if we put the money in at pre-school end we’d have a more equitable society

    Interestingly since England re-introduced fees more and more people are deciding not to go to college.
    So really the disturbing thing for me unless you’re a totally focused teenager like Kenzie (she mentions giving up some activities to focus on her sport…) you end up at a disadvantage before you’re 18!

    Reply
  18. Rod Aries
    Rod Aries says:

    Hi, I appreciate the commentary about the pro’s and con’s for my daughter’s Kenzilla.com web site, especially yours >>I have to say that this is the best use of a video resume that i have seen.>I'm very happy that there's no real pressure on my daughter

    Reply
  19. Liz Lewis
    Liz Lewis says:

    Hi Penelope, thanks for the great tips. I’ve been blogging for almost a year now as I try to develop a career as a freelance writer. I’m finding it a great way to network and get my name out there. It has provided any work but it has definately increased my confidence and writing abilities.

    By the way, I’ve awarded you the Rockin’ Girl Blogger award for your constant and invaluable postings on work, life,and blogging.

    Cheers from New Zealand,
    Liz

    * * * * * * *
    Thank you, Liz. And I’m happy to hear that your blog is helping you develop a freelancing business.

    -Penelope

    Reply
  20. intormtoive
    intormtoive says:

    Two new studies show why some people are more attractive for members of the opposite sex than others.

    The University of Florida, Florida State University found that physically attractive people almost instantly attract the attention of the interlocutor, sobesednitsy with them, literally, it is difficult to make eye. This conclusion was reached by a series of psychological experiments, which were determined by the people who believe in sending the first seconds after the acquaintance. Here, a curious feature: single, unmarried experimental preferred to look at the guys, beauty opposite sex, and family, people most often by representatives of their sex.

    The authors believe that this feature developed a behavior as a result of the evolution: a man trying to find a decent pair to acquire offspring. If this is resolved, he wondered potential rivals. Detailed information about this magazine will be published Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    In turn, a joint study of the Rockefeller University, Rockefeller University and Duke University, Duke University in North Carolina revealed that women are perceived differently by men smell. During experiments studied the perception of women one of the ingredients of male pheromone-androstenona smell, which is contained in urine or sweat.

    The results were startling: women are part of this repugnant odor, and the other part is very attractive, resembling the smell of vanilla, and the third group have not felt any smell. The authors argue that the reason is that the differences in the receptor responsible for the olfactory system, from different people are different.

    It has long been proven that mammals (including human) odor is one way of attracting the attention of representatives of the opposite sex. A detailed article about the journal Nature will publish.

    Reply
  21. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    No words about blogging also being a fire-able offense? Or against policy on work hours? Or possibly detrimental to a career? This is irresponsible advice, Penny.

    Reply
  22. Kathleen Hurley
    Kathleen Hurley says:

    I have a question- if you blog on Multiply say, who owns the content? Multiply’s “Terms” say the author owns the content but Multiply owns all distribution rights worldwide. Is this scary? Is there another option? What about dotMac- if you want to retain the distribution rights? Please advise! Thanks very much.

    Reply
  23. lucca
    lucca says:

    Penelope,

    In regards to your latest Globe article about blogs, couldn’t comment there so did here :)

    Just a side note, Alltop.com is a mix of top blog sites and official news sources such as magazines and newspapers- its not just blog sites. overall it is a great site to surf though.

    Reply
  24. Neil
    Neil says:

    nice post Pen, blogs need to be more focused. I agree 100% i.e. ‘You need to have a guiding philosophy that you stick to. You cannot one minute pontificate on large issues of the world and the next minute be like, – €˜My dog died.'’

    Social marketing is key to success in today’s online business world. It’s just a matter of choosing a subject you enjoy and type away.

    Reply
  25. order music
    order music says:

    How do you advise polymaths (a.k.a. full human beings) to keep their blogs focused? There seems to me to be a chicken-egg question here: do you develop a business plan complete with your target niche before launching a blog, or do you give it a shot and let it help you define the plan? I'm sure the answer is somewhere in the middle, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

    Reply
  26. Brad
    Brad says:

    Setting up a blog about me and my interests, professional interests mostly is my goal. I hope that one day my blog will compliment my business. Aside from the fact that it could attract business it would be great to have a blog where my clients go for ideas and other possible advice. Kinda like a resource guide or something like that.

    Reply
  27. Bill
    Bill says:

    Blogging can really help ones career. An online presence is one thing but a blog does take things to the next level. If a blog is a bout a specific topic then I believe that it can make someone be an expert. Proper researched articles and valuable information on a blog can do wonders.

    Reply
  28. patricia gray
    patricia gray says:

    Hi Penelope
    Great post. I have been writing a Blog for almost 2 years now. It it very high ranking and I get alot of hits. I have not yet found an immediate financial benefit. If you wouldn’t mind I would appreciate a few tips of how I can make it pay for the hours every week that I am putting into it.
    Thanks
    Patricia

    Reply
  29. tips to play keno online
    tips to play keno online says:

    Truth is, there are some very good blogs out there that don’t make nearly a dime. I found Google’s Adsense more intrusive than profitable, and given the labor one must put into a blog, there are quicker ways to make a buck. That said, blogging is an essential tool for the promotion of other enterprises, so I wouldn’t quickly drop blogging, unless it drove you crazy.

    Reply
  30. small dogs
    small dogs says:

    Except for point 7…the word “could be” should be in capital letters. Probably, 2-5% of the bloggers will make it big. Maybe 10-20% will do okay. Blogging takes hard work and perseverance, I suppose almost everything in life!

    Reply
  31. Tammy D
    Tammy D says:

    I have spent the last hour reading several of your posts. I have often thought about blogging about being a parent; so many stay-at-home moms search the internet for guidance and companionship. My question for you is in regards to the job hunt. One year ago I completed my Bachelors degree in Biology with a Pre-medicine emphasis preparing for medical school. Now is not the right time to spend four years with that type of intense study, so I am looking for a job and having no luck. Would it hurt me to blog about being a mom of four and all of its associated challenges. The job that I am looking for is non-specific, anything in the medical area from secretary, to business professional, to researcher. My job experience is varied from office manager to non-profit leadership.

    Reply
  32. Lee Anne
    Lee Anne says:

    Tammy, with your biology/pre-med degree, you could become a Technical Medical Writer. In the Massachusetts area, there are a lot of job advertisements lately with pharmaceutical and biotech companies looking for “technical writers” and requiring biology degrees. Look for those keywords (“technical writer” “biology” “medical”) together.

    Reply
  33. Kay Lorraine
    Kay Lorraine says:

    Penolope, while I recognize that this is an old post, you inspired me to start a blog. I posted my first effort last week and #4 went online today. I haven’t quite found my voice yet (that will take a while) but I am getting some interesting comments already, which surprises me. I followed your instructions on how to start a blog to the letter. I know that you are busy in Madison, what with trips to Farmer’s Market and Rocky Rococo’s, etc. but if you ever have some down time I would love your comments. You can find me at BizBitchBlog.blogspot.com

    A big mahalo for that,
    Kay from Honolulu

    Reply
  34. Slanking
    Slanking says:

    I would say this depends on what kind of work you’re looking for. If you’re trying to work within the military with high clearance I doubt they’ll like you blogging about it.

    Reply
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