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9 Hidden Benefits of Blogging

hidingI’ve been writing this blog for right at six years now and the benefits I’ve realized from doing so are very tangible. Without much hesitation I can say that it’s the single greatest business I asset I own. It’s led to countless interviews with national publications, my first book deal, and interaction with hundreds of thousands of small business owners. My blog is an incredible source of search engine traffic and exposure for my products and services, but even if none of that were true, knowing what I know now, I would still write a blog.

Some of the most profound benefits of the blog writing practice are available to anyone, with or without any substantial following. It’s not that we call it a blog or that the software used by bloggers possesses some magical power, it’s the act of writing something, something about my business and passion, something that I observe that touches me, something I learn and can’t wait to share, that activates the many benefits of blogging. I did not start blogging for these reasons, but they are some of the many reasons I continue to advocate blogging for everyone. So, these benefits aren’t really secrets I guess, but they are often overshadowed, powerfully under appreciated, and real.

  • Blogging makes me a better thinker – (understand that better is relative!) In an effort to create content for a blog that is succinct, reveals new ways to look at common things, or apply simple solutions to seemingly complex problems, I believe I now think about business much differently.
  • Blogging makes me a better listener – When I engage in conversation or listen to radio interviews, I listen with a writer’s ear and often find my head filling up with blog post ideas by simply listening to others discuss sometimes unrelated subjects.
  • Blogging makes me a better writer – The fact that I practice writing daily has made me a better writer. It doesn’t mean I’m the world’s greatest writer, but doing something makes you better at it – hard to deny that. Of course writing publicly like this also allows for community reaction to help you get better faster.
  • Blogging makes me a better salesperson – I write like I speak and often I write to sell an idea or even a very specific tactic. It’s amazing, but I find that clearly stating idea pitches in writing has improved my ability to quickly articulate them in selling or interview setting. It’s like you build up this reserve bank of preprogrammed discussion points.
  • Blogging makes me a better speaker – This one falls nicely from the previous point but I’ll also add that working through blog posts on meatier topics, those that readers weigh in on has produced some of my best presentation material to date.
  • Blogging keeps me focused on learning – The discipline required to create even somewhat interesting content in the manner I’ve chosen requires that I study lots of what’s hot, what’s new, what’s being said and what’s not being said in order to find ways to apply it to the world of small business.
  • Blogging allows me to test out ideas – I’ve made some incredible discoveries about some of my ideas (okay, and had a few flops too) based on the immediate and sometimes passionate response from readers. I’m currently writing a book that reveals a business principle tested out here.
  • Blogging makes me a better networker – I have developed hundreds of relationships with other writers that provide me with ideas, tips and resources to share and who willingly pass on my ideas, tips and resources. Some of these relationships remain professionally on the surface, but some have evolved into very strategic and fulfilling personal relationships as well. (Sharing a beer at a conference helps that along)
  • Blogging allows me to create bigger ideas – This one is related to testing out ideas, but the habit of producing content over time also affords you the opportunity to create larger editorial ideas that can be reshaped and repurposed for other settings. I’ve taken a collection of blog posts on a specific topic and turned them into an ebook more than once.

My hope is that, if you’re one of those business folks who has been blogging, but doesn’t know if it’s worth it, or you’ve held off because you don’t think anyone wants to read a blog written by you, this post will give you the leverage of long-term benefits sufficient to keep at it.

Image credit: Stuart Pillbrow

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-Fourie/619475187 George Fourie

    Excellent John! Thanks for the reassuring list. Definitely no better way to express oneself online.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I've heard from several others, including on twitter, about the reassuring nature of this list. I do think it's important as small biz folks out here to every now and then get some validation that what you're doing has value.

  • http://www.business901.com Joseph T. Dager

    I love a list like this. Writing creates clarity and blogging gives us an opportunity to write for others, which of course creates even more clarity.

    Pinning it up on my bulletin board. Along with the Venn diagram from you fav post. Gee, you might get your own board pretty soon.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      C'mon Joe, just get a bigger bulletin board!

  • http://vbpoutsourcing.com KJ Rodgers

    These benefits are very true. The funny thing about this list is that they gradually show effects. Then one day you realize how much you have increased.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      So true, I think that's why it's hard when you're just getting started to understand some of these kinds of benefits – in a way you just have to apply some faith.

  • http://www.jivesystems.com/blog Flywheel aka Ortonom

    I concur. The premeditated nature of writing helps you express your feelings with a greater level of clarity to yourself and others.

    “Writing crystallizes thought” Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich.

    I could barely write in school. Also, I was not that good at reading either. I still don't know proper grammar and punctuation. But I have realized that plenty people willing and more than able to proof read my STUFF for around $8/hour. I actually took it one step further, I am teaching some college students about marketing and business, in return, they are proofing my content.

    Since adopting the habit of blogging, I have awakened a passion for writing that was put to sleep by the school system.

    Blogging really helps me automate repetitive tasks like training new employees. My blog also generates a steady stream of new clients who are educated on the value proposition of our company. Blogging has been instrumental is raising our position in the search engine as well.

    Flywheel

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I love this thought – Operations Manual through blogging. It's funny but I attribute my love of writing to a high school English teacher – shows the impact teachers and schools can have.

  • ameyer32

    Excellent list and I'd extend one of your comments. It may not be as true for you as it is for other small business leaders, but your suggestion that blogging allows you to “test out ideas” is critical. When you run a small business, it's very hard to get honest feedback. People around you are often dependent upon you for their job or they are vendors or customers or friends. The realities of those relationships are going to color what they say to you.

    When you test an idea out in a blog, most readers and commenters' have no relationship to you, they just react to what you wrote and how effectively you articulated your idea.

    I would extend “test out ideas” to get honest and objective feedback… and I'm not saying that just cause I like what you write.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I would say it's very true for me too. I always test out ideas here, even though it's not always obvious to the readers. In fact, this blog post turned into a great test (hint: I'm thinking it's going in my book)

  • http://joejacobi.com/ JoeJacobi

    Great list, John. I also find that the time I spend both reading and creating blog posts helps me be more efficient. I'm more aware of old time I've given up (largely watching local newscasts – which happened on someone else's schedule) in order to create new time (on my schedule) reading and creating information more relevant to the world I'm living in.

    Along these lines, blogging makes you an active participant in telling your story, not a passive participant in the story of someone else.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I love that last point Joe – maybe even a more active participant in the creation of your own story.

  • http://nlplanguagepatterns.blogspot.com/ Lou

    And let's not forget that the best way to learn something is to teach it, and I can think of no better way of exploring a subject with readers than through blogging.

  • http://www.emergingwebmemo.com/ Ethan Yarbrough

    Well done. I agree in every case. I've told people on a number of occasions I feel exponentially smarter since I started writing my blog, not to mention more deeply engaged with the day to day movements of my business and industry. I do think there's still a misperception about blogs that they are somehow self-indulgent unless you can point to a very large readership (Brogan-like). In my opinion, it's perfectly acceptable to say your blog is for yourself first because of all the benefits you point out. If you gain a wide readership, fantastic, but if you don't though you're still experiencing these benefits personally, then you need no further justification to do it. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  • http://www.iangilyeat.com/ Elizabeth

    Although I have yet to publish my own blog, even just reading and becoming involved in commenting discussions have had many of these same benefits. I can only imagine how much more beneficial actually blogging myself would be. Dang, I really should start my own blog :)

  • http://www.more-for-small-business.com/ Kris Bovay

    What I particularly like about this post is that it relates the action of blogging with a positive outcome – getting better (at a number of things).

    I'll add that I think these benefits are only valid if you are committed to, and passionate about, communicating – just like anything else there are good, fair and poor blogs – and the good ones are notable and have a big following.

  • http://www.mccloudphotography.com/ Justin

    Blogging has been a huge asset to our business too. It's a great way of communication with your past, present, and future clients. It also is a personal development tool for each of us in that it forces us to be better writers, listeners, etc. just like John stated. Thanks for sharing every post John as your success from blogging is definitely evident.

  • http://holisticmlm.ning.com/profile/JackBresler JackBresler

    @ducttape you've beautifully with my view of interpersonal communication that 1) emphasizes the need for clarity that 2) is enhanced by non-biased listening, which – in turn – 3) improves awareness, which again 4) ALLOWS further clarity. In fact, these “hidden benefits” come as a package. You get them all!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Freed/510241973 Ryan Freed

    Great list! I am new to blogging and have already noticed some of these benefits.

  • http://ekolsky.wordpress.com/ esteban kolsky

    I could not have said it better myself. While I have been blogging for just 3 years, I can tell you I have noticed basically the same benefits in my professional career as you mention. Almost to the point (I am not a better writer, no matter how hard I try :)).

    thanks for writing this…

  • http://www.mccloudphotography.com/ Brandy

    I couldn't agree more. Blogging has done wonders for me.

  • http://www.netherlandings.com/ Business consultants

    Business consultants company deals with a network of business consultants dedicated to assisting businesses development,corporate finance and executive interim management.The energetic and flexible nature of the network allows one to increase productivity and maximize the benefit for the clients.

  • http://redhotfranchises.com/ RedHotFranchises

    Blogs are here to stay! If your business doesn’t have a Blog you need to start planning on getting one running yesterday. Any professional company should be accompanied with a blog to have the edge on being at the top of the major search engines for maximum exposure.

  • http://www.leadsexplorer.com LEADSExplorer

    - Blogging brings you attention: that helps your ego too.
    - Blogging helps to spread the brand name beyond your web site.
    - Blogging consumes a lot of time, so you can't do other useless things (like watching TV). http://bit.ly/TwCiS

  • http://www.siskolaw.com/ John V. Siskopoulos, Esq

    Blogging gives a potential client insight on who you are and what you do. It's better than a catch phrase or a flashy banner ad. More importantly, clients are far more analytical than they were 30 years ago. Go check out a Car & Driver head to head road test. See a Cnet editors pick article. People want insight and a blog gives them precisely that.

  • http://medicalwebexperts.com/ Medical Web Experts

    This is one of those crucial aspects which are overlooked by many companies. In the latest advancements of the search engine spiders, search engine optimization has not left by mere re occurring your desired keywords, It is highly required that your website design and content should serve as an enticement to the web spiders. Its of no use to have a site which doesn’t comply with the standards of search spiders. I got my medical website reconstructed from a web designer and marketing company named medicalwebexperts.com. They need to almost reconstruct every page to make it compliant with search engine algorithms. After a few months of time, the impact was definitely distinctive in my income. I have got a steady increase in the patients, which was a direct result of reconstructing and marketing my old obsolete site.

  • http://www.puppy-training-at-home.com/ Puppy Training Tips

    Agree with you. We really learn a lot from blogging.