It is competitive out there. It's difficult to get noticed, at least for the right things. A resume is good. But hardly distinctive. Getting through the maze is tough. Working connections on LinkedIn or Twitter are important to getting your name out there. But, again, they’re only pieces of a bigger game of getting noticed and getting calls.
Look, writing articles for a blog is in many ways old school. So why am I suggesting you make it part of your career development tool kit? Because it gives you a leg up on the competition – plain and simple.
Here are three things to do to make a blog work for you.
1) Write Right. Few people can write well, even fewer can write with particular impact. I read a lot of blogs – I operate a blog platform. I read many papers from my senior college students – I’m a university professor. Trust me, few people write well, much less powerfully.
Potent writing is both art and science. It is developed with study and practice. Call it part of your cognitive exercise regime. It is a process that never ends, but also never stops paying dividends. What you say today will likely disappear in a moment, but what you write has the potential to impact for generations.
A blog is your stage. It is the classroom for your development as a professional. Commit to it.
2) Drill Deep, Not Wide. If you have ever been tempted to write for public consumption, you typically have a lot of ideas in your head. Probably too many ideas. In your area of work, there are many things that may catch your eye as being interesting, wrongs needing righted, or issues needing examination. That doesn’t make them candidates for writing.
The operational word here is FOCUS. Think hub and spoke. Spend your time building the hub and only after you have done this for a time, do you extend your hub knowledge into related areas. Drill, drill, and drill some more into your focal domain – the space you will master.
When you think you’ve narrowed your domain down enough, slice it again – and then again.
And write about it as one intimate with it. Obi Wan-it. It should be evident that the Force is with you. You own it.
3) Expert Often. You are not an expert occasionally, you are one often. Once you establish yourself on the stage as one who knows, you must present yourself, your work, regularly.
How often? Hard to say.
However, to deliver good stuff regularly, you must be in the thick of the ideas that define your domain. You’re active in that space where the ocean wave coming in meets the one receding from the beach. You become a voice in that confluence of ideas pushing in and those pulling out.
While these forces are engaging each other, you’re the voice connecting to the outside – be it to the layperson or the fellow practitioner. Your clear voice is ever present – articulating the complex and making clear the obfuscated and obscure. You are the expert.
Yes, your blog is your theater – your stage. It is a reputation maker, or breaker. Your reputation will rise or fall based on your performances over time.
If you want to take control of your career, take control of your domain of expertise. A blog, your blog, is a critical piece in your portfolio. It's a practical way to demonstrate your mastery of your universe.
Kermit W. Kuehn, Ph.D., operates Silvrback.com, a blog platform, and is a professor of management in the College of Business at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, in Fort Smith, Arkansas.