I recently notched up 10 years blogging under the PR Warrior handle.
I like to joke that if every year in social and digital is like a ‘dog year’ (i.e. equivalent of 7 years), then I’ve been at this social media and content marketing caper for 70 years!
But seriously, blogging regularly since 2007 has allowed me to see and experience first-hand the changing of the media guard.
What have I learned?
#1 Creating impact
It’s been a heck of a journey since I published my first blog post on the Typepad platform (don’t read it, it’s a shocker!). But perhaps the biggest thing that continues to hit home even today is the potential influence and impact that can come from publishing a blog and building an audience. I can’t overstate this enough.
Obviously said blog needs to be updated regularly over time with original content that informs, inspires and/or provokes thought or sparks debate; it needs to be relevant enough to attract people’s attention, consistent enough to develop an audience, and preferably form the core of a broader communications platform along with social media channels.
But tick those boxes, and your blog has the potential to become the catalyst for all sorts of opportunities, both personally and professionally.
Just ask Darren (aka Problogger) Rowse, the Melbourne-based blogging guru whose two blogs attract a combined global monthly audience of five million, in turn helping him build a sustainable seven-figure business.
Or Craig McDonald, the CEO of Australia’s Mailguard, whose well-maintained blog helps position the brand as a world leader in web and email security.
Or Kate McQuillan from Pet Sitters Ireland, who used her blog to answer customers’ questions and within three years grew revenue 450 per cent.
Or Mark Masters, who runs The ID Group on the southern coast of England and whose blog has led to a book deal, speaking gigs in Brazil and the US, as well as considerably helped to differentiate his marketing agency in the marketplace.
Or Mark Schaefer, who says that blogging saved his life.
Personally, I’ve seen the reputational ripple effect of blogging in action.
There’s no doubt PR Warrior has significantly helped me to raise my professional profile and personal brand, not just in PR and marketing circles but the broader business community as well; this in turn has helped me to:
- land a book deal with one of the world’s most prestigious business book publishers, John Wiley & Sons (this was something I had always wanted to do, so goal accomplished)
- launch a professional speaking career (this is not something I had even thought about, but the opportunities kept presenting themselves; over the past seven years I’ve spoken at large conferences around Australia, as well as presented overseas including Miami and Bangkok)
- secure opportunities for traditional media exposure (Channel 7, Sky Business Channel, The Australian, Smart Company, The West Australian, 666 ABC Canberra) plus a plethora of blog and podcast interviews as well as mentions in other people’s business books.
I’ve also regularly been on the receiving end of brand-driven ‘influencer marketing’ initiatives (tickets to conferences, trips away etc) plus have been able to gain early access to industry research reports, which in turn has enabled me to publish articles at the same time as traditional media. As a PR person, it’s good to experience being on the receiving end of such requests for a change!
And of course, it’s always gratifying to be recognised by independent third-parties for your blogging efforts.
Naturally, speaking and media exposure in particular also help drive people back to your blog and social channels, and thus the ‘loop of opportunity’ continues as your audience (and potentially, influence) grows.
In terms of a ‘commercial return’ on my efforts, that’s pretty easy to quantify.
Whether I’ve been running my own communications firm, working for someone else’s agency, consulting as a strategist or speaking at conferences and events, I have no doubt that in a good number of cases, my PR Warrior blog has had some influence in me either getting the lead in the first place, or validating a word-of-mouth recommendation. Indeed, I know it has.
Evolution of PR Warrior!
I can categorically say that had I not started PR Warrior, I doubt whether many of the things above would have taken place.
Sure, it has certainly helped that I have concurrently built a growing presence on social media, but PR Warrior has always been the catalyst, and the heart of my overall communications platform.
#2 Honing thinking and ideas
But perhaps most critically, blogging has helped me to find my voice, to think more expansively and hone my ideas around, and perspective on, PR and marketing communications more broadly. It’s helped me to develop my own content marketing philosophy; this is important when there’s so much external noise around the topic.
I can’t stress how important this is, particularly if you work in an industry that’s completely being disrupted by technology (as I do).
#3 Building connection with people
Blogging (and attendant social media participation) is a terrific way to build emotional connection with like-minded people.
Sometimes this will result in long-lasting professional and personal relationships, which is invaluable and something I think we should cherish with all of our heart, especially in business.
Having a blog can lead you in down so many exciting paths and invariably serendipity will somehow play a role. You can’t plan for it, but it will happen – you just need to be open to the idea 🙂
IN SUMMARY …
Blogging on a regular basis can help you:
- CREATE IMPACT – Positive things happen when you start a blog. I know it all sounds woo-woo, but I’ve seen it time and time again.
- HONE YOUR THINKING AND IDEAS – There’s nothing more sobering than pushing ‘publish’ on an article you’ve written, and this can be a good thing: Do you really believe what you’re blogging about?
- BUILD CONNECTION WITH PEOPLE – Consistent blogging will help you build emotional connection with an audience that potentially will have long-lasting effects on you personally and professionally.
At the end of the day, being able to publish what is effectively an online magazine, for free (or very little money down) is a tremendous opportunity and if you’re in the PR business, one that should be experienced first-hand.
What was the domain of media companies with deep pockets is now available to all and sundry. That was the case in 2007, and it continues to be the case today.
Finally, I’d like to sincerely thank all those who have read, shared and/or commented on the articles I’ve written on PR Warrior. It’s been a privilege to have had your valuable attention over the past 10 years and I really appreciate it.
Blogging can help build professional recognition!