I have been blogging for now 11 years, and I can say that this was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made in both my professional and personal life.
I am probably one of the biggest advocates of blogging not only because it allows you to practice your writing skills, but the opportunities that can arise from one post, message, shout out, and mention.
Even in my social media class, I have a blogging assignment for these exact same points. I believe if you are able to write about content you are both interested in as well as practice, the experiences you will get are endless.
Not only do I cover this in my class and ask my students, but I also have been asked by other professors to speak to their students about blogging and what it has done for me. In fact, I will be speaking again to a social media class at the University of Tennessee.
I have been doing this guest lecture each semester ever since I have arrived at the University of Louisville. I am grateful Courtney (who is the professor teaching the course) gave me the opportunity to be part of her class while I was in my last semester at UT for my PhD, bounce around some ideas for assignments and lectures, and get a taste of what I would eventually be doing at UofL.
What are some things I will be sharing with the class tomorrow? Here are just a few things I have noted since the last time I talked about the subject for a guest lecture and will be sharing with my own students:
Blogging has evolved.
Blogging is not just about writing content and pushing it out for everyone to see and be done with it. You have to see how your community responds to it. Do they like it? Did it resonate with them? What were their thoughts and insights from reading it? I know in my own experience, some posts really got a lot of attention and then there were others that did not.
This is what I really like about how Jessica Smith has approached it with her blog and community. She’s one of my must follows and her insights on where social media is going is spot on (especially her latest post). Blogging shouldn’t be a place where you let content and your point of view just stay there. Make sure you create interactions from it, give shout outs and share your own take on what is going on. People want to see you are HUMAN and have a personality.
Timing is key, but scheduling can be flexible.
It’s amazing to see how other bloggers are able to write ten or more pieces of content per week. They must be drinking some impressive amount of coffee to do that! I am not saying that is what you have to do, but you want to ask yourself: Do I value quantity over quality?
For me, I know I want to be able to provide consistent posts and engagement, but I also want to make sure I am not writing for the sake of writing. I have my students do two posts a week for my social media class, and I try to use that as a guide for myself as I write. I’d rather sit down and write a quality post analyzing a trend with many examples than jump online and write a post that may take me two minutes to write. In a time where we are seeing quantity be a focus of a lot of things, quality still overcomes a lot of it to make the right impression for people.
Be one with data: It’s your best friend in blogging.
You can always have an angle, focus, or overall theme for what you want to write about, but you also want to use data as your guide to help you determine what you may want to write about. I have thought about this as well and I have found that the posts I have written over the years has changed due to what people are talking about in my respective communities.
When I started off blogging, it was all about crisis communications and PR. I still write about these topics today, but I have found that people come to me when I write about social media specific topics for teaching, public relations, crisis, and even sports. With data, you are not only able to identify what people are looking for, but it could potentially help you find your own niche and take on a subject, case study, trend, or position in the industry you are in. It’s okay to have an evolving voice for your blog – you do not have to stay in one area always. We all grow and evolve, so our blogs have to follow along as well.
You never, EVER know what the impact of one post could mean to someone.
This is definitely one of the things I will be talking about with my students and the class tomorrow about blogging. This is such an important thing to remember always. If you write a post giving someone praise, a shout out, or talk about the great impact they have on the field or profession, you never know what this would mean for this particular person or team.
Every time I talk about blogging, I have a new personal example to share with the students from over the years. From internship and job opportunities to speaking engagements, it has all been due to what I have been able to write over the years.
This time, I will share my experience this past fall when I visited Clemson. I have already shared this story for my social media class, but will share it with the students I will be talking with tomorrow about blogging. To provide a quick overview of my experience. This all started with a single blog post I wrote in September 2015, and started a conversation and professional friendship that has made a huge impact on me as an educator.
While I was down in Clemson, I was presented with a personalized jersey with my name (WOW!), and it was a thank you gift for all of the praise I had given the team in my social media and sports blog posts. I had NO idea my blog posts were shared, discussed, and read like this. This was a huge eye opener for me, and to this day, one of the most prized gifts I have ever gotten. In fact, I am getting this jersey framed so it has a place of honor in my office and if anyone asks me about how I got it, I will tell them this story and how blogging made it all happen.
In essence, blogging may be viewed still as a traditional form of social media, but it still has a strong foundation and presence in the industry. It takes a lot of time and investment, but the payoffs and opportunities that come with it are huge.
Hope you all are having a great day!