Joe, why do you keep a blog?

I get this question surprisingly often.

“I don’t get it,” they start. “Why do you keep a blog? I thought you liked your job.”

“I do. Very much. I’m not looking.”

“Then why do you keep a blog?”

Why I blog

I blog for lots of reasons.

  • I can learn. Online media can do wonders for a brand. I’m “practicing” with my own blog and learning skills I can leverage at work to build awareness, interest, trial, and loyalty.
  • I can compete. As of this writing, I win the first two Google results for “Seattle Marketing Strategy.” Even though I’m not doing anything with the phrase, it’s satisfying to see me ahead of tens (hundreds?) of companies that compete in that space. This search-engine-optimization thing isn’t going away any time soon.
  • I can help. Within one week of publication, my Art of Living article introduced four friends to a way to reduce stress in their lives. Now they want to take the class.
  • I can entertain. My Other Joe Hages article was fun to write and it amused my friends.
  • I can build. Credibility, that is. According to Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, “As a professional, your reputation is your most valuable career asset.” If someone googles “Joe Hage,” I want to point them to something I want them to see: this website. By blogging, I add fresh material all the time, attracting page views, in-bound links, and other reasons for Google to rank this Joe Hage the most relevant Joe Hage in the entire universe!

Is blogging risky?

It can be, so be careful.

In preparing this article, I looked up “blog” on Wikipedia. The entry included stories of people who lost their jobs due to their blog indiscretions.

My reaction: I recognize that my behavior — online or off — reflects onto me and my company. So, yes, I am careful with my digital imprint in much the same way I am with my offline behavior.

Given the questions I field, some people assume I’m in perpetual job-hunting mode.

My reaction: This is a bit of a nuisance but is worth the trade-off for me and my employer. I know I’m not looking. If the question comes up I have an honest answer. And I’m learning skills that are immediately transferable to the company.

Should you blog?

If you’re in business for yourself, a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y. With (what is it, 60 percent of all online research starting with an online search ~ does anybody have a reference for this?), you definitely want your business to rise to the top of the Google search results.

If you work for a company, you also might start a blog for the reasons I mention above. You might want to discuss it with your boss and HR first so they understand your motives.

When you’re ready, ask Barry Hurd for search engine optimization counsel. Tell him you want the “Joe Hage special.”

Especially among readers working for a company, I’m interested in your point of view.

Please leave a comment.

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