Moments before B2B editorial consultant Paul Conley was about to deliver his keynote address at ASBPE’s 2008 national Editorial Excellence Conference in Kansas City, I asked him if he ever worried that his blog might scare away potential clients.
“I’m sure that’s probably happened,” he said. But he said what he mostly worried about was receiving a highly attractive job offer that came with the condition of ending his blog.
Paul’s passion for blogging was among several factors that pushed me a few months later to start a personal blog about Latin America travel. I had been wanting to start a blog for some time, but I fretted about things such as what my co-workers might think about it. What about all those stories on the news about people who got fired for writing things on their blogs?
Looking back on it, I’m glad I put those worries aside. Instead of thinking my personal blog was strange, many of the people I work with were curious about what I’d learned from it and wanted to know how to apply to work.
As a result, blogging turned out to be one of the most productive professional moves I’ve ever made. My personal blog and twitter feed became my personal laboratory where I discovered the power of social media. Understanding it enabled me to advocate for social media initiatives at work, such as starting a LinkedIn group for my publication and, later, a blog.
Of course, I’m not the only one to make this discovery. Michael Goldberg, a former managing editor for CIO.com and now the managing web editor for the Monitor Group, started blogging about autism four years ago. His blog, Autism Bulletin, is an important resource for families dealing with autism issues.
Here is what Michael said when I asked him back in September if blogging has helped his career:
Yes absolutely the personal blog opened doors to me at work. And I had that in mind when I started Autism Bulletin an outlet for my research into autism and a way to share what I learned with other families. At work at the time, I didn’t have the kind of access to online tools which I wanted to learn, and I saw how easy it was to experiment outside of the office. There are a lot of rewards for experimenting in business, and online tools make it ridiculously easy to experiment on your own if the office won’t or can’t for whatever reason make the time and space to do it. I think the advance of tools since then — we’re talking about four years ago — make it even easier to experiment at both work and at home. But without a doubt, the lessons you learn at home, when you reflect on them, often apply to a more general context which has value in the office.
Make 2011 the year you launch your personal blog. Chances are it will pay professional dividends.