The more I blog, the less I am able to turn off my blogger mind. (And yes, there is such a thing as a blogger’s mind. Read for sheer hilarity.) Rather than limiting my focus, it’s helping me be more productive in other areas of my professional life. Here’s how:
- I think in terms of lessons learned: When I attend an event or read an interesting article I’d like to discuss, I think in terms of takeaways. I ask: what would my readers find most useful? By thinking this way, you are able to drill down on what matters most to the people you are working with.
- I look for links: I like to link to a variety of sources to back up what I say, provide resources, or simply to connect with a new community/blogger. I do so while keeping in mind the purpose of my work and my audience. Thinking about how to build relationships—for your organization or to strengthen your own network—is key for professional growth.
- I stay on top of what works: I’ve been blogging for almost four years about how millennials can land public service careers. In that time, the blogosphere and the discussion on nonprofit work have changed. There are better metrics, strategies and opportunities to build brand recognition, greater participation from a variety of people in the conversation, and more. Being part of this community, I am often exposed to and engage in these changes to help me be a better writer. Staying on top of what works allows for thoughtful engagement and strategizing.
- I know when to say no: When you get even just a hint of success as a blogger, folks will come to you with all kinds of offers and requests. They’ll ask you to write about something, to speak at events, to mentor or advise them on how to blog. At first it is flattering, but then you realize that sometimes they don’t have you or your audience in mind and that your participation may not move you forward or be helpful. Keeping in mind what your focus is and how you and the people you serve will benefit is crucial when navigating potential partnerships.
- I value the process of writing: Brainstorming ideas, choosing the right words, editing, sharing, and of course, reading, are practices that help me write better offline. Being able to write well (and write well regularly) is useful skill across professions, especially in an increasingly digital world where we are all sharing our voices and stories.
While the conversation around blogging has focused on traffic and branding, the benefits of blogging are much more diverse and the skills we develop easily translate to other aspects of our work.
What do you think? Have you been blogging? What skills have you developed as a blogger that have helped you in your offline work?