How Personal Blogging Fosters Stronger Professional Connections
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
When you’re just starting out, personal blogging can feel more like a diary—in the sense that you are the only one who reads it. However, consistently updating with high-quality, personal posts can help you gain a larger readership and ultimately develop a closer relationship with these readers, whether they are clients, customers or just passersby.
Many companies or professionals make the mistake of creating blogs that are thinly veiled advertisements for the brand’s products or services, and readers easily see through them. The truth is the right approach to personal blogging can often be a learning experience that takes time to figure out.
The irony is that blogs focused on personal matters tend to be more effective in generating interest than those littered with advertisements. This is mainly because the reader wants to feel like he or she is gaining something from the posts. Through personal blogging, readers are able to get to know the beliefs, values and personality behind the company before choosing to patronize its business.
Branding Your Blog
According to marketing expert Heidi Cohen, branding your blog is an important step in creating a consistent image and focused message for your readers. If you don’t determine what you want this image to be, your personal brand may develop into something unclear or may even stray into a meaning you didn’t intend.
Because of this risk, you’ll want to create a clear plan for your personal brand before you even begin your blog. Your plan should establish the underlying message you’d like to send and what characteristics you’d like to exemplify in each post.
For example, say you write a blog for the website of your professional association. The organization’s image should be fully represented in the blog’s format, colors, typefaces, media, voice and other elements that contribute to the overall theme. If it’s an association of legal professionals, you might choose a more straightforward presentation, including a plain font and colors like blue, black and white, as well as a professional tone to your writing.
For a blog on the website of an interior designers’ association, your choices would be much different; you’d most likely use bright, cheerful colors and unusual, statement-making fonts, plus a more conversational voice. Before and after posting anything to your blog, you should refer back to your brand statement to ensure the message is consistent and up to these standards.
How Personal Is Too Personal?
When running a personal blog, you may find yourself wondering how to maintain a balance between showing readers your relatable, human side without sacrificing professionalism. Many experts admit this is not an easy task, especially when the subject matter might be controversial or may otherwise exclude certain readers. A good rule of thumb is to stick with a positive message with a universal meaning, since this is more likely to engage a larger audience of readers.
For example, say the subject of your blog is going back to school to get a business degree while running an event-planning business. Although this subject will naturally appeal most to event planners currently attending or considering the prospect of online education, you’ll want to make sure your underlying message is structured around a more common theme, such as overcoming adversity and working hard to achieve success. Avoid as many negative personal matters as possible to prevent compromising the professional tone of the blog. Ask yourself whether a current obstacle, such as juggling the details of an upcoming event with the demands of college courses, is really relevant to your theme in the blog and act accordingly.
Above all, make sure your personal blog is based on a subject that is interesting to you. If you blog in the hopes of one day merely earning money from it or if you write according to what others want to read, you won’t find the motivation to create interesting articles. Remember to be passionate, consistent and to keep at it, even when you don’t think anyone else is reading.
Lindsey Harper Mac writes about technology and social media in education, along with trending topics that interest students. Visit her on Twitter!