I’ve been writing this blog for right at six years now and the benefits I’ve realized from doing so are very tangible. Without much hesitation I can say that it’s the single greatest business I asset I own. It’s led to countless interviews with national publications, my first book deal, and interaction with hundreds of thousands of small business owners. My blog is an incredible source of search engine traffic and exposure for my products and services, but even if none of that were true, knowing what I know now, I would still write a blog.
Some of the most profound benefits of the blog writing practice are available to anyone, with or without any substantial following. It’s not that we call it a blog or that the software used by bloggers possesses some magical power, it’s the act of writing something, something about my business and passion, something that I observe that touches me, something I learn and can’t wait to share, that activates the many benefits of blogging. I did not start blogging for these reasons, but they are some of the many reasons I continue to advocate blogging for everyone. So, these benefits aren’t really secrets I guess, but they are often overshadowed, powerfully under appreciated, and real.
- Blogging makes me a better thinker – (understand that better is relative!) In an effort to create content for a blog that is succinct, reveals new ways to look at common things, or apply simple solutions to seemingly complex problems, I believe I now think about business much differently.
- Blogging makes me a better listener – When I engage in conversation or listen to radio interviews, I listen with a writer’s ear and often find my head filling up with blog post ideas by simply listening to others discuss sometimes unrelated subjects.
- Blogging makes me a better writer – The fact that I practice writing daily has made me a better writer. It doesn’t mean I’m the world’s greatest writer, but doing something makes you better at it – hard to deny that. Of course writing publicly like this also allows for community reaction to help you get better faster.
- Blogging makes me a better salesperson – I write like I speak and often I write to sell an idea or even a very specific tactic. It’s amazing, but I find that clearly stating idea pitches in writing has improved my ability to quickly articulate them in selling or interview setting. It’s like you build up this reserve bank of preprogrammed discussion points.
- Blogging makes me a better speaker – This one falls nicely from the previous point but I’ll also add that working through blog posts on meatier topics, those that readers weigh in on has produced some of my best presentation material to date.
- Blogging keeps me focused on learning – The discipline required to create even somewhat interesting content in the manner I’ve chosen requires that I study lots of what’s hot, what’s new, what’s being said and what’s not being said in order to find ways to apply it to the world of small business.
- Blogging allows me to test out ideas – I’ve made some incredible discoveries about some of my ideas (okay, and had a few flops too) based on the immediate and sometimes passionate response from readers. I’m currently writing a book that reveals a business principle tested out here.
- Blogging makes me a better networker – I have developed hundreds of relationships with other writers that provide me with ideas, tips and resources to share and who willingly pass on my ideas, tips and resources. Some of these relationships remain professionally on the surface, but some have evolved into very strategic and fulfilling personal relationships as well. (Sharing a beer at a conference helps that along)
- Blogging allows me to create bigger ideas – This one is related to testing out ideas, but the habit of producing content over time also affords you the opportunity to create larger editorial ideas that can be reshaped and repurposed for other settings. I’ve taken a collection of blog posts on a specific topic and turned them into an ebook more than once.
My hope is that, if you’re one of those business folks who has been blogging, but doesn’t know if it’s worth it, or you’ve held off because you don’t think anyone wants to read a blog written by you, this post will give you the leverage of long-term benefits sufficient to keep at it.
Image credit: Stuart Pillbrow