I was pretty confident, but how confident can you really be when you have no way of gauging your competition?
I was interviewing for a marketing position at a $30 million/year company, and I was already coming in late to the interview process.
It was the last round of interviews, and I was competing against a few other applicants. Now, I don’t mean this in a “braggy” way, but I just think it’s important to note that I am very good at interviews, but that only gets a person so far.
I had solid experience with numbers to back it up, but other people have that too. What other people don’t have, and what gave me the competitive advantage to not only get the job, but get it at 12K higher than the original salary AND leverage an incentive-based bonus program that wasn’t originally on the table at all, AND get an upgraded job title, was my marketing blog at the time.
When you think about hiring from an employer’s point of view, it makes sense that a blog is impressive.
99% of people don’t have an online presence past their personal Facebook that they block from the public, random Twitter where they post uncurated content, Instagram for selfies, and Pinterest where they scavenge pin boards for next weekend’s mixed drinks.
A blog shows a number of positive attributes to an employer, and beyond that, you actually acquire these attributes:
Employers have an interesting task when deciding who to hire. They have to make a decision based on what your resume says you know, what you tell them you know, and what your references tell them you know—all in the short amount of time they have with you during the interview process. Rarely is there a skills test involved.
What a blog provides for the hiring manager is an opportunity to dive into your expertise, and witness it on a deeper level.
They can read your articles and how-to guides teaching others the very skills they’re looking for in the person they hire, which is a green light.
I remember my first ever performance review at my first job out of college. I felt good walking into that room. I had been doing everything that was asked of me, and I was being a great listener and a great employee—and that was the problem. I was only doing what was asked of me, and listening without contributing.
My manager said she wanted to see me pitching ideas and taking more initiative, and I was afraid of that (and frankly a little annoyed. There’s nothing worse than being criticized when you thought you were doing everything right).
I wasn’t afraid because I didn’t think I had ideas, but because she might hate them, and I wasn’t so great with criticism. In reality, I was operating out of fear of rejection and failure because I hadn’t really experienced that yet.
Make no mistake about it—running a blog can feel like running a business. Eventually, it becomes a business. You are forced out of necessity to come up with ideas, because who else is there?
Ideas for articles, ideas for newsletters, ideas for marketing initiatives, ideas for products or services, ideas for improved user experience, (I could go on and on).
Blogging makes you an idea machine.
Frequent writing does so many positive things to the brain. It teaches you to be more creative, even when you’re not “inspired.” It teaches you to produce quality ideas on a regular basis because you become conditioned to. Research done at the University of Greifswald in Germany in 2014 suggests that the brains of seasoned writers show stimulation in deep parts of the brain while writing, specifically the caudate nucleus which plays an essential role when performing skills that come with practice. That same part of the brain was inactive in novice writers. What that research basically showed is that creative writing, just like other actions, is a skill that can become automatic.
Persistence and follow through are becoming less and less present in our society. As technology continues to advance at a rapid speed, we’re all becoming more easily distracted, and even worse—impatient.
We’re being bred to expect instant results, and we move on to something new if we don’t get that. In sales, there’s a common statistic that on average, it takes coming into contact 12 times with a potential buyer before they buy, so you can see why persistence is important to have—and not just in sales or marketing positions, but in any position. If you want results with anything, you have to keep moving forward.
Blogging is no exception to that. It teaches you to be scheduled, consistent, and to keep going even if you don’t see the pot of gold at the end just yet. I promise you, it’s there.
This is a big one. How do I put this delicately?
Most people suck at writing.
I still kind of suck at writing, and I’ve been at it for a while now. But most people are really bad. You know the saying, practice makes perfect. I don’t know about perfect, but I will say that practice definitely makes better.
Last year alone, I wrote over 50,000 words more than the average person just through blogging and writing It’s Time to Start, and I’m on track to write a lot more than that this year.
Even just looking back at blog posts I wrote early in the year and comparing them to the more recent posts, you can see the improvement—it’s amazing.
As with anything, the more deliberate practice you put into it, the better you get, and writing is a timeless skill that often separates the thought leaders from the followers because thought leaders have learned how to think for themselves and articulate those thoughts so that others can understand them.
No matter where you’re at in your entrepreneurial journey, blogging can help you bridge the gap from where you are now and where you want to be.