Today Alexandra Levit shares some tips for getting your company/employee to pay you to blog.
I recently read that for every person who starts tweeting, another blog dies. But here’s the thing. Back in 2004, blogs were dismissed as a fad, and today there are billions of them. Blogging is not going away anytime soon.
You might be interested in blogging yourself, but don’t have the time or inclination to write one independent of your day job. What if you could be like the hundreds of people at Microsoft who count blogging among their daily responsibilities? Here are a few steps to proceed in that direction:
Develop your area of expertise:
It’s not realistic – or even a good idea – for every employed person in the world to have a blog. For one thing, the blogosphere is cluttered enough as it is, and blogs that have no real purpose for existence will just muck things up even more. You should write a blog because you have a unique opinion on an industry issue and can establish yourself as a credible expert. Hone your perspective by reading literature and other blogs in your field and determining where there’s an unmet need.
Get your writing up to par:
Not everyone has the natural ability write and/or maintain a blog that requires a concise outpouring of coherent thought several times a week. If you want to blog but sense that your command of the written word needs a little fine-tuning, consider a writing class and study how the top bloggers construct their most popular posts.
Test launch outside of business hours:
Your first foray into corporate blogging should not discuss the company you work for – that could get you in trouble. Instead, become involved with the blogging community in your industry, and make your blog as general and helpful to readers as you can. Piggyback on recent news, cite other writers’ work, and watch the accuracy of your facts. While you get the ball rolling, make sure you research/write your posts and do your commenting at home.
Showcase your blog to marketing:
As your blog is gaining traction, study the social media efforts (hopefully there are some) being conducted by your company’s marketing department. Determine the most logical way that your blog could fit into the mix, and then, once Google Analytics says that your platform is flourishing, meet with marketing to discuss it. Make it clear to all involved that your blog is currently independent of your job.
Work out the details:
Marketing may feel that you can add value as an official blogger for the company. This may mean continuing your own blog with company sponsorship, or forming a partnership with a senior executive or group of employees who are already blogging. Ask marketing if they would be willing to contribute to your salary in exchange for using your blog as an outreach tool.
Approach your boss:
Even if marketing offers its support – keep in mind that it may not – you will need to approach your boss about your proposed new responsibility. When you do, talk in terms of value provided to the company. How can allotting you an hour a day to blog pay huge dividends in terms of organizational awareness, genuine customer engagement, and search engine real estate?
As you undertake this process, remember your patience and your humility. I know several people who turned blogging as a side project into full-time gigs at their companies, but all of them started with the heartfelt desire to provide useful content that creates a win for both the reader and the organization.
Alexandra Levit is an internationally recognized expert on business and workplace issues. She writes for the Wall Street Journal and is the author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College, How’d You Score That Gig, and Success for Hire. Follow her at @alevit.