Leaders often overlook blogging as a way to engage the world around them. They get obsessed with the minutiae of details that exist and often don’t tend to anything else. A blog is a great way for them to escape and be able to get rejuvenated. Blogs are also ideal for leaders to reach out and build a market.
What is a blog?
A blog is a mere web journal that many individuals have set up. These can be informal, such as a journal and a daily log of things that a person is doing. Others are topical. They discuss something such as politics, finances, and more that readers can use to draw upon for educational purposes. Blogs come in many different forms and serve many different purposes. You have to be aware of what your purpose for setting up a blog is. It is important to know the end result before you set it up and fork over the money to get it up and running. Before you start, map everything out accordingly and then set up a plan for yourself to get it up and running.
Why a leader should blog
There are a lot of reasons why a person or leader should be blogging. Here are a few ideas:
- It demonstrates an understanding of a subject matter
- Leaders need to establish credibility.
- Demonstrates what you know and have learned.
- Provides a way for you to supplement your resume.
- Blogs can be a way to be a note-taking medium
- A blog can be a way for you to share things that work or were thought-to provoke
- It can be a way to keep track of the tools that you found interesting and useful
- A blog is an essential tool for also having a way to refer back to something that might have worked better
- Develop a market
- A blog is a way to get people interested in something different
- A blog is a way to also get backers for something else that they might not have had an interest in before.
- It can be a marketing medium
- Blogging is great for search engines
- It can be sharable to social media
- A blog is a way to engage customers.
- It can boost your career
- A blog is a way for a potential employer to see your skills and management style.
- This is a medium where you can also be able to negotiate a higher rate of pay or additional benefits.
- Blogs are a way to demonstrate additional things that you have gained from being in a leadership program
- It can be a way to interact with others in your field
- Blogs are a networking tool. You never know when and where you might meet someone from your field as a result of your blog.
- It can be a great conversation piece for others to get to know you.
- It can be a side hustle
- There are bloggers that earn some serious money from being a blogger.
- Some of them even earn a full-time income.
- If you are looking to grow your bottom line, a blog can be a great way to bring in some extra money.
As you see, this is just a shortlist of what you can do as a blogger. Leaders oftentimes look at things like this with disdain because they often times either confuse it or lack the perception to see how it can be valuable for them.
Where to start
Now that your interest is peaked, how do you get started? What should you do to start blogging and make it worth your while? There are a lot of other questions that we could discuss. Let’s start with a few things first.
Start with the right platform
The right platform makes a world of difference. Some platforms, like Drupal and Joomla, are not necessarily right for blogging. You can use them for blogging, but they are going to require a lot more set up in order to achieve that end goal. There are other platforms that are a little bit more conducive towards being a good platform.
A good platform will be easy to maintain. They will be easy to rank in search engines. They are geared towards good permalinks (i.e. URLs). A good platform should already be set up to blog right out of the box without needing to incorporate additional extensions to be able to even run a basic blog.
Start with the right mindset
Many bloggers fail the first few times at starting and setting up a successful blog. They often do not have the right mindset when they get started and they wind up getting defeated. They give up when they do not see the results in a timeframe that they want. The reality of it is that bloggers need to have the right mindset. They need to have the right starting framework.
The same goes for you as a blogger. You have to have the right mindset when you start writing on a blog. You cannot expect instant results even if you are marketing on the front end. It can take several months for you to be able to get the return that you are looking for. It takes time for search engines to acknowledge that your blog exists and for them to index.
Start with the right goals in mind
In addition, start with the right goals. Don’t expect to get rich even if you have been blogging for years. Realistically, you might only receive about $1000-$4000 (USD) a month at the most. The bloggers that earn over $50,000+ have been in business for years and have been able to establish themselves as leaders in their fields. You must invest the same if you want the same results. However, you can make it worth your while from a few hours as well. The key is to be 100% realistic with the results that you are expecting to get in return.
There are two main types of blogs: database and static. A database one is like WordPress where it connects to a database backend and allows you to access it from anywhere. A static blog is different-it is based on text files and then there is an RSS feed built from that. There are a few other types of blogs, but these two are the main types that you will find.
One of the more popular database-driven blogs is known as WordPress. WordPress is a great platform since it is popular and likely to be easily extensible with most everything that you are looking to have on that platform. You can find tutorials for it. You can find a plugin to do just about anything and everything that you are looking for. That makes it attractive.
Wait….there’s more. WordPress is user-friendly enough that even the most untech savvy individual can set it up. That makes it rather nice for everyone. You don’t even have to hire someone to set it up for you. You can just spend an afternoon or two having it established and ready to go for the world to see and read.
On WordPress, extensions are known as plugins. These extend the functionality of the platform to do something different and new. It is important to be aware of the variety that you can find:
- Wp eShop by Tips N Tricks
- Yoast SEO
- Bulletproof security
- Pin to Pinterest
- Social Plug
- Popup Builder
You can find some of them are even premium plugins with entire ecosystems that really make something entirely new. This is very good if you are a leader looking to have a custom-built site for yourself.
Now time for setting up a static version. One of the static site generators (or blogs) that I recommend is Octopress. It is a basic Ruby Language blog that is rather extensible. A blog using this is good if you just want to present information without having to set up a host and a domain. It is good if you are also just looking to have a way to advertise yourself and have little interest in being self-employed. A blog like this can be set up in under an hour if you are looking to quickly get involved with the medium.
Getting Started with Octopress
The best way to get started with Octopress is to use Ruby. There are installers for Windows and other platforms tend to have Ruby installed. You could even use RVM to choose the Ruby version that you want to have on your system. Make sure that you also have Git installed (Git is a versioning system that is rather popular with programmers). This can make it easier to push your blog to a free hosting platform such as Github Pages. That will keep you from sinking too far in debt to get it going.
Tips For Getting Started on Writing
Writing on a blog is rather important. It is kinda the focus on the platform. Many new bloggers fail to understand how to appropriately write for their platform. Leaders are no different when comes to their blogs.
Here are a few things that you can take away from writing well:
- Make your post scannable
- Too much text at once is a turn-off.
- Readers are also lazy and don’t want to read any more than they have to.
- Mix post lengths
- Longer posts do well with search engine ranking
- Shorter posts are good for readers.
- A variety of posts can cater to all different types of markets and people.
- Use bullet points
- Goes back to scannable posts.
- Provides breaks and makes the information easily accessible.
- Use headers
- Again, breaks up information.
- Use stories if it fits with what you are talking about
- Stories can make information more engaging and relatable.
- Readers love it and are more likely to read the post.
Invariably, if you are a blogger, you are going to have to learn how to market your blog. It makes no sense to start a blog and then not get it out there for the world not to see it. Depending on your direction with the blog, you can make it as light or as invested as you want.
If you are looking for a lighter approach, I would stick to a few blog comments here or there. Make sure that they are on relevant blogs. It is easy to google for some of these blogs and maybe devote 1-10 hours a week commenting on some of these blogs.
However, if you are more interested in growing the blog into something larger, then you need to look at a marketing plan and using tools like SEO Powersuite. These can help you to be able to devote more of your time getting your blog off of the ground and as a medium for your consumers to become more engaged with your brand.
Leaders can benefit a lot from running a blog. They are able to share and interact with the world. A student of a leadership program can also benefit from being able to engage potential employers. It makes it much easier to also supplement anything that you are doing.