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12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

12 Reasons You Should Start A Blog Today

I started my first blog a little over three years ago. Since that time I have been blogging about four or five times a week. It has been a great learning experience, and a source of personal and professional growth. It has also done many great things for my business, and has opened up a number of career opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been there for me. In this article Here are 12 reasons why everyone should start a blog.

1.  Blogging is challenging, and challenges are good

Anyone who thinks that blogging isn’t challenging hasn’t really done it. It is a challenge to sit down and write, and to do that consistently. It is a challenge to put your ideas out there, but you shouldn’t be scared of it. You should embrace it because it makes you grow, and by growing you become more complex as an individual. It is a challenge that you can handle, and handling challenges can make you happy.

2.  Learn new things

Handling challenges and becoming more complex makes people happy–so does learning. When people learn, they grow, and feel fulfilled. Blogging is a learning experience. You learn how to write. You learn how to access social media to spread your message. You learn the difference between a catchy title and a dull one. More importantly, through your writing, you can learn a lot about yourself. All of these things can increase your happiness.

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3.  Make a difference in the lives of others

Don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter. It does, and what you have to say will have a positive impact on others. The first time that someone reached out to me to say that they consistently read my blog, and that what I wrote helped them, was a very meaningful moment. I realized then that I could make a difference in people’s lives. It made me feel great, and it motivated me to keep writing.

4.  Become an expert at something

A blog allows you to develop your thoughts around a particular idea or topic.This will lead to learning more about that topic and networking with others in that field. If you are consistent in our approach you will find that, over time, you will learn quite a bit about that topic. This can build into a unique expertise, which can lead to new business and career opportunities. I have experienced this in my career as well.

5.  Build your online brand

Blogging is a great way to build an “online brand”. Why does that matter? It matters if you want to keep the door open for continual business and career opportunities. I have had many people contact me over the years on topics such as marketing, sales, and leadership development for consulting opportunities, speaking engagements and other interesting business endeavors. These are some of the topics that I most frequently write on. One of the best ways to create, and control, your brand, is to frequently write on topics that you wish to be known for.

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6.  Expose your ideas to a larger network

When you blog, and include social sharing options on your blog posts, you have the opportunity to expand your sphere of influence to a much larger network. The key here is to write consistent, high quality content that people find interesting and want to share. Sound daunting? It’s not if you start with what interests you. You are more likely to put thought and effort into topics that are of interest to you, and the great thing is that there really are no rules. Anything that is interesting to you is interesting to someone else out there, and that person  will share your content with his or her network.

7.  Create new opportunities for yourself and your business

When you become known for a certain topic, you could get picked up by the search engines, and people who are looking for expertise in that area will eventually reach out to you. This will result in new and interesting career and business opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been possibilities.

8.  Have new and interesting experiences

New experiences are fun, and they help to break routine and make life more interesting. Blogging is a great way to have new and interesting experiences. It may be as simple as learning the platform, or having a unique conversation with a follower of your blog. It also may be something like doing a guest post on someone else’s blog, or writing on a topic that requires a little “field work” or research. Make it fun. The more you do, the more likely it is that you’ll stick with that activity.

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9.  Meet new and interesting people

Making new friends is a positive and enjoyable experience. Blogging on topics that interest you will allow you to network and create relationships with people who are interested in similar things. You will also likely connect with other bloggers. Learning about different people, and their unique experiences, can be enjoyable.

10.  Document your life in an empowering way

A blog doesn’t have to be a journal, but it can be if you want. There are really no rules. You can blog about a topic of interest, your random thoughts, or about your personal experiences. My blog is all of the above. When we include personal experiences, our blog becomes a documentary about our lives. It is a great way to record experiences that we can look back on to learn from and reminisce, and share with our loved ones.

11.  Confront your fears

For some people, taking a side, having an opinion, and voicing that opinion online is simple, perhaps even natural. For others it is, at first, a terrifying prospect. If you fall into the latter category, it can be empowering to overcome this fear. What is the worst thing that could happen by blogging? Someone disagrees with your opinion? Big deal. You can handle that. In fact it’s a really good thing for your opinion to be challenged from time to time, as it causes you to analyze it to make sure it is sound.

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12.  Find your authentic voice

Blogging (and writing in general) has been perhaps the most effective means that I have discovered to find and develop my authentic voice. Writing is like art. You start with a blank canvas. Everything that comes after that is coming from an authentic place. With blogging especially, you are free to write on any topic that you choose. It isn’t like school, where you are confined to the terms of a teacher’s direction (and subject to his or her interpretation). When you blog you are free to discover who you are, what you have to say, what interests you, and how you can add value through your words. This is the process of empowerment.

More by this author

Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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