Positioning yourself strategically online is critical for today's job seeker. We know that more than 90 percent of recruiters and hiring managers are using social media and online platforms to search for, and evaluate, job candidates. To be missing online could beg the question, "Why isn't he/she online? Do they have something to hide?" Like social media profiles, blogs are gaining popularity with job seekers for their simplicity of use, ability to share thought-provoking content, and ease of sharing with online networks.
What is a Blog?
A blog is an online is a discussion or informational website published on the web. Blogs can be published on any topic from parenting, to project management, to military transition, to politics, and everything in between. Blogs are typically written in a conversational and approachable style, encouraging the reader to connect personally to the writer's beliefs, opinions, and advice. Anyone, anywhere can set up and run a blog. Getting people to read it and interact with the content is typically more challenging than getting a blog set up and posting content.
3 Reasons to Start a Blog
Job seekers are advised to start and run a blog if they are clear on the reasons for the blog. Maintaining and promoting a blog takes time, effort and passion, and for someone focused on securing work, this can feel like an unproductive distraction if not tied to specific goals.
Consider a blog if:
- You have a unique perspective on a cause, issue, industry, or type of work. Has your military training given you the ability to lend unique insight into issues, trends, or jobs that civilians might not have? This can make your blog (and you!) compelling to hiring managers seeking a fresh and unique perspective for their company.
- It will help your positioning as an SME. Beyond your opinion or perspective, do you have unique expertise in an area others would find interesting? If your goal is to build your positioning as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), a blog can showcase your thinking, methodology, experience and skills to audiences including hiring managers looking for more than just what's listed on your resume.
- You want to showcase your personal brand. Are you seeking to build positioning as someone passionate about mentoring others? A blog focused on your skills, mentoring history, and results can be powerful self-marketing. Or, maybe your goal is to position yourself as a leader in a competitive and technical industry. A blog highlighting your leadership skills, technical experience and views would add context to hiring managers considering you.
How to start a blog
Step 1: As mentioned above, setting up a blog is relatively easy. To get started, I advise you create a strategy for the blog. Be clear about your:
- Goals (do you want to promote yourself, make money, get attention for a cause?)
- Topic (are you knowledgeable and credible enough to speak on the topic?)
- Audience (who will you be writing for?)
Step 2: Then, pick and secure a domain name (the URL and name of your blog) and hosting platform (i.e. BlueHost.com or GoDaddy.com). You'll next choose a platform on which to post content, create a theme, import and post images, etc. Wordpress is a popular and easy-to-use platform for many bloggers.
Step 3: Next, decide on, and commit to, a schedule of posting content (once a day, week or month?). Over time, your readers will expect to see your posts on this scheduled consistency, so be sure you can commit the time and effort.
Step 4: Begin writing! Stay focused on your goals and share content that is tailored to the needs of your audience. Speak to what your readers need to know, feel, and do with your information.
Step 5: Promote the blog online and in person. Refer to it, link to blog posts, and share the content in your emails, on your resume, and in conversation with others. Later, you might consider more intensive promotion strategies, including list buying, but for now tell your friends, contacts, and potential employers about the blog and all new posts.
Step 6: Measure results against your goals. Track views, shares, likes, and comments on your blog and various posts to gauge the interest and impact to your audience.
A blog is a powerful way to share more about your values, interests, and expertise. Keeping your goals, personal brand, and strategy in mind always, over time your blog will build a relationship with your readers, creating followership and credibility with your target employer.