This is a guest contribution from Kelly Teng, Digital Outreach Specialist at Switched on Media.
Blogging can take you on a whirlwind journey. It can have you running around at events, losing sleep, and sitting in front of your computer for hours and hours (and hours…). The end result is a great blog with stellar posts, and a myriad of experiences that you get to embark on and incredible people you get to meet.
However, your experiences and the amount of time you invest don’t just make for a great blog – in fact, your blogging benefits you in ways that you may not even realise.
Here are a few surprising skills that you acquire as a byproduct of blogging. You may discover some hidden talents you never thought you had (party tricks not included).
The gift of words
All right, perhaps this isn’t a surprising skill: blogging has you writing almost every day, so it’s almost a no-brainer that you’ll become proficient at it over time!
When you blog, you have to think up creative and interesting ways to convey your content to your readers, and also you have to articulate your thoughts clearly and express yourself well. Although you may not notice it, your writing has improved. Don’t believe me? Take a look at your first few posts and compare them to what you are writing now.
Blogging is also useful to help you find and establish your own personal tone of voice and style of writing. Whether your words are motivational, inspirational, dry and sarcastic, funny, or apathetic, you’ll slowly uncover a style that will stick with you and your blog for years to come.
Us humans are notorious for complaining about having so much to do in so little time. We struggle to find time for work and looking after our families, let alone looking after ourselves and doing the things we want to do.
Blogging is almost like a crash-course in time management. You have to manage your regular job (if you have one), your family, writing, answering emails, scheduling posts, and formatting and designing your blog. You have to coordinate taking photos for a post with making lunch or dinner for your kids. You have to be as punctual as possible with your posts and comment responses; if you don’t, your readership stays stagnant or falters. You have to check and reply to emails quickly as well, because often opportunity can come knocking, get impatient, and leave.
It starts to get overwhelming, but then you adjust and figure out better ways to manage your time. Your blog is teaching you how to be more efficient and effective, and to get as much out of every day as you can.
A little bit of design
When you started out, you probably selected a default Blogspot, WordPress or Tumblr theme for your blog. However, you have probably found that as your readership grows, you begin looking for a new theme or revamp your site with a customised feel (maybe it’s even in alignment to your tone of voice). You also have probably jazzed up your photos with text, borders, and colour balanced them on Photoshop to make them look better as well.
Without even realising it, your blog has helped turn you into a bit of a designer. From choosing a colour palette to redesigning your layout and editing your images, you now have more design experience than much of the adult population – without even trying.
Relationship creation and maintenance
Brands and bloggers are working together more now than ever. Many bloggers get approached by brands on a daily basis for reviews, giveaways, advertisements and guest posts; for those that haven’t yet, it’s only a matter of time.
The more you interact with brands and advertisers, the more adept you become at creating and maintaining business relationships. You learn how to reach diplomatic solutions and establish partnerships with stakeholders, and to work in a way that is mutually beneficial for you, your readers, and your stakeholders (be it a brand, client, or customer).
Through working with brands, you can also learn how to become a brand storyteller and a creative as well, by talking about products or companies in a new and exciting way that fits your audience.
Diplomacy to rival U.N. delegates
…and speaking of diplomatic solutions, blogging also helps you build your diplomacy skills.
There are always going to be readers who will be unhappy when you change something, or trolls who have nothing better to do but to try and upset people. Unfortunately, these are a byproduct of sharing a piece of your life with the world; however, another byproduct is the chance to build your diplomacy and establish best business practices.
Every unhappy reader you manage to quell and every troll you manage effectively contributes to your ability to diffuse a situation well – and this will come in handy often in day-to-day life, as well as in business. For extra tips to enhance your skills, have a read of Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people.
Content creation and management
The key to a successful blog is content – there’s no getting around it. As a blogger, you become a curator of content much like an editor of a magazine or newspaper. You plan and schedule posts, and must think about newsworthy and unique content that is relevant to your readership demographics. If your blog accepts sponsored posts, you often have to carefully plan it so it is spaced out along with regular content.
You learn how to create useful and original content, and how to create a balance of editorial and sponsorship. In essence, you have the skills of an editor, which makes sense – after all, you are the editor of your own publication.
Social media strategy and community management
This is perhaps one of the most coveted skills in today’s technologically saturated environment. With more and more businesses and people going online, experience with social media strategy and community management is a vital asset to have on your side.
As a blogger, you talk to your readership base through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, and you engage with them and share your life through Instagram and Pinterest. You plan content in advance sometimes, and learn how to acquire more followers and post content that is relevant, informative, and interesting.
Through blogging, you have acquired the skills needed to manage a community online and strategies to foster stronger engagement and create effective content on social channels.
Did you ever realise you were becoming so talented? What other skills do you think your blogging has taught you?
Kelly Teng is a Digital Outreach Specialist at Switched on Media with a penchant for all things internet-related. Check out her other insights and musings here, or follow her on Twitter at @tellykeng.