By this point most SEO’s understand the benefits of blogging and creating unique content. However, there’s still an astonishing amount that don’t blog themselves. I understand that its not for everyone, but considering how large a role blogging plays in internet culture, I think it’s vital. To be clear, I’m not saying you should start a blog or even blog about SEO. I’m talking about the importance of blogging at all.
Learning How to Write
One of the largest benefits to gain from blogging is learning how to write. With the increasing importance of web content for SEO, it’s an invaluable skill. To be clear, good writing and good grammar are not the same thing. This is especially true when it comes to writing on the internet. People read differently on the web. They scan and look for the important bits of information. They also want their content broken up with visual clues.
Common methods for this include:
- Using bolded lettering on sentences or phrases of importance
- Creating bulleted lists, which are quick highlights of a section
- Splitting content up into ordered lists
- Using images or videos to break up the reading
- Using charts and graphs to visually display data
- Using screenshots to visually display examples
- Creating titles in a step by step format
- Separating quotes into their own paragraphs
Blogging also lets you see first hand what topics and writing styles entice people. You start to learn how to organize posts in a way that will inspire conversation and social shares.
Learning How to Promote
After you write something the next thing you need to figure out is how to get people to see it. Some things are obvious like putting pictures on Pinterest, but Pinterest doesn’t except gifs, which is where tumblr comes in. You should know these things. Nearly all networks will have a way for visitors to end up back at your site and you need to take advantage of that.
By promoting through social channels, you’ll also get a better sense of what each community prefers. Even if different networks seem similar, the community is never exactly the same. You’ll start to figure out what title’s and headlines appeal to each community.
Additionally, you’ll start to notice trends that you may not have thought of. For example, the increase in content (and searches) for vegetarian recipes during Lent. This is good to know if you have a client in the food industry.
Learning how to be social
With promotion comes communication. Pretty much any blog has (or should have) social buttons and comment fields. This means that whether you like it or not people are going to talk to you. This will get you more comfortable in conversation across different social channels. Every network has a slightly different etiquette that you should get comfortable with. If you’re just awkward on social networks all the time, people are less likely to talk to you.
After you get comfortable you’ll start communicating on social channels for more than just announcing your Foursquare check-ins (seriously, stop it). This also makes your social accounts look active, which means people are more likely to follow, retweet, and generally give a shit about what you say.
This also gives people a personal opinion about you. When you have this connection with someone, they’re more willing to help you out with any questions you may have. For example, if you make a connection with someone in an industry you’re curious about, you can just ask them for more info.
Learning How to Network
After you start getting social and more active on the web, people will want to connect with you. This is especially the case if you have your location on your profiles. This is a great way to meet folks in the same or related industries in your area. It also opens up a window for meeting potential clients and hearing about events going on in your city. People like seeing familiar faces at events and if they know you in person they’re much more likely to invite you to them.
You should also go beyond and reach out to folks on social networks when you see they’re in your area. It can be as simple as grabbing a pint with them after work or grabbing lunch. This gets you out of your comfort zone and helps you build up your social skills away from your glowing glass screen.
Through blogging and the skills you learn along the way, you gain clout and authority among the community. Even if you’re blogging for a niche unrelated to yours, people will respect what you say. This means everything you write and do has more potential to be amplified across social networks. People will blog about you and your business, which means free inbound links and traffic.
This leads into opportunities to do interviews and guest posts on more prestigious blogs. This is especially great if you’re looking for clients or have a service that fits your industry. People are more comfortable hiring or purchasing from someone they’ve heard of.
This also has the amazing side effect of making you influential. Influence is a powerful tool to have. People will generally stay on your good side and will help out with minor tasks. The SEOmoz Industry Survey is a great example.
People Want to Hire You
After everything you’ve learned and done, people will jump at the chance to hire you. Being able to put on a resume that you help people learn a new skill just for fun, is huge. Prestigious positions like seeing that you’ve gone above and beyond most applicants they go through.
You’ll also get a lot of requests for contract work from your notoriety online. This is fantastic if you run your own shop. You’re basically getting leads just from getting the name of you or your company out there. People want to hire someone that knows what they’re talking about. What better way to show that you know your shit than putting it on the internet?
Blogging is much more beneficial than most people realize. It’s a way for you to be catapulted in your industry and become a bigger part of it’s community. The skills you’ll learn spread much further than anything I’ve written hear and that’s where most of the value is.