Today I begin my fifth year of blogging.
As this milestone approached, I paused to reflect. Why did I originally launch this blog? What initially motivated me to write?
Well, I must first confess that I did not begin with well-defined objectives.
But neither did I begin riding a bicycle with clear-cut goals. As a young boy, I began riding with no specific destination in mind. As I gained momentum, I began to wonder where fate might take me, and I realized that the journey itself could be the ultimate reward.
In many ways, that’s what happened with this blog. I just started to write and along the way I realized how much I have enjoyed the journey.
Yet, in retrospect, I can discern several underlying motives that initially fueled my efforts as a fledgling blogger. When I began blogging, I never articulated these objectives, but I now realize that I started blogging for the following reasons:
- To share marketing ideas. For several years I had taught marketing at a local university and had recently quit teaching. I missed being in the classroom, though, because I love to talk about marketing, strategy and communications. My new blog provided a forum where I could continue to share my ideas and opinions. Though blogging satisfied my need for creative expression, I also discovered that this platform was not as interactive as standing in front of a room full of bright, curious college students.
- To strengthen the role of communicators. The best communicators communicate with such ease that others believe that they, too, can soar to such heights. After all, have you ever met anyone who didn’t think he or she is an excellent communicator? Too often—especially in the nonprofit world—communicators find themselves relegated to secondary status within their organizational structure. In some small way, I hope my blog posts encourage my colleagues to communicate with confidence, to continue creating valuable content and to help decision makers understand that we do things that cannot be easily replicated.
- To help those trying to market themselves. I often meet with job seekers who have no clue how to market themselves effectively. As a marketing professional, I provide tips to job seekers understand how to market themselves in a competitive job market. My blog provides a way to share tips on personal branding, especially for college students and professionals in the midst of a career transition.
- To brand myself professionally. The economy was horrible when I began blogging and my employer (the American Red Cross) was in considerable flux. Though not actively looking for another job, I decided to dig my well before I became thirsty. Consequently, my blog content focused on many things I would want a prospective employers to know about me—my philosophies, my approach to marketing and my style as a communicator. Additionally, I wanted a prospective employer to see me as more than a marketing and communications professional. In my blog, I deliberately blend personal and professional because I want to be known not just as a marketing and communications professional, but also as a husband, father, friend, mentor, teacher, volunteer and community citizen.
Just for the record, there are several reasons that did not motivate me to begin blogging.
For example, I have never had delusions of being a widely read blogger. Neither did I aspire to become influential or to make money. Since those have never been my reasons for blogging, I’ve never spent much time developing metrics to measure my performance. If I have achieved any success in those areas, it’s been by serendipity and pure luck.
I’m glad I began blogging. I encourage others to join me, though they should know that blogging is hard work—harder than it looks. In my next three posts I will share 1) my personal rules for blogging, 2) reasons you should consider blogging and 3) potential topics for your blog.