Five Reasons You Should Start a Blog Today

Monday, July 14, 2014

This one is dedicated to all the haters!

Just kidding, I just want you to all want your own slice of the Internet.

1. It helps you realise what you actually like

Well that seems like a fairly obvious place to start. I was never very sure what my 'thing' was before. At school, I was fairly sure I was going to be hugely successful and important (doing what, I never quite figured out) and in my French oral exams I said things like I like tennis (because it was the same word in English) and horseriding (l'equitation is fun to say) despite doing either of these activities on average three times a year. In sixth form, I wasn't interested in much, but I decided I was going to be an interpreter after discovering that UN interpreters are paid around £100,000 a year. So I spoke to my French teacher and picked languages for a career path - the right path for the wrong reasons. Roll on three years and I'm writing my year abroad blog and realise that, actually, I love writing, I love photography, and I love being abroad. A blog can be about anything of course, but chances are if you're not that passionate about what you're writing about it will be a flop. If you're coming home in the evening after staring at a computer screen all day and sitting down in front of your computer again to write about something though, chances are that's what you should be doing 9-5.

2. It makes you go out and do stuff

You know that annoying friend who makes you cycle all the way across Valencia at 6am after a night out to watch the sunrise? That's me.

This guy?

Oh hiya.

If you are bored, starting a blog is a great idea. No one wants to read about boring people, so it kind of forces you to be fun. No one wants to read about your great little find at McDonalds this weekend either so I guess you're going to that new Spanish place instead. Sigh. You've read 100 status about your friends jetting off to Tenerife this summer so you're googling ferries to get to Formentera. Bummer. It's difficult being interesting.

3. It can get you a job

I was looking for a job recently and having absolutely no luck. I decided drastic action was needed. I mentioned my blog on my CV and also wrote about it in my cover letter for the next application I did. And you know what? I got an interview. My blog has now migrated from a tiny sentence at the end of my interests section to a full paragraph at the very top of my experience. Since I made this change, I have been offered five interviews. I didn't attend them all, as point 1 (see what I did there?) has helped me figure out what I want my next move to be. My blog has been brought up in every subsequent interview and phone interview, not by me but by the interviewer, and has proven to be a great way of showing I have interests outside of work relevant to the role I'm applying for. It shows you are motivated, willing to put work in to something just because you enjoy it and that you have entrepreneurial flair (even if I do say so myself).

4. It teaches you new skills

The other hobby on my CV, diving, has been largely derided by my sensible friends for not teaching me any transferable skills. Erm, I'm sorry, but that fish recognition course I did was highly insightful actually. If you ever go to a Spanish restaurant and you want to order the fish, you'll want me around. That's all I'm saying. So let me just reel off all the transferable skills having a blog has either taught me or allowed me to develop: writing, editing, web design, photography, SEO, social media, blogging (yes that's on LinkedIn), advertising, HTML, statistic analysis and soooooo many more. In fact, it has been in some way relevant to so many areas of my working and personal life that it is quite unbelievable. And one day, LinkedIn will ask you if you can endorse Ellie Cobbe for fish recognition too and you're going to have to say yes.

5. It can make you money

If you follow steps 1-4 without any ulterior motive you may get number 5. But you have to follow 1-4 first. Don't think about 5! Seriously, stop it. Of the thousands of bloggers out there writing about their new favourite nail varnish, or primark shopping haul or, in my case, the holiday I'm too excited to stop talking about, a couple get lucky and manage to make it, if not a full time job, at least profitable. Hopefully you will have already bagged your dream job as a result of your blog anyway, so you can keep on doing it for the fun of writing or pressing the refresh button as you look at your stats (just me?).

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