What I've Learned from 2 Years of Blogging
It’s hard to believe that Communicate You blog turns 2 this week! When I got started in March 2015, I had thought about the blog as an experiment that would last for a couple of months. But somewhere during the course, I began to notice the positive effect it was having on my life. Not only was the blog becoming a useful information source for people around the world, it was beginning to change me in ways I had not expected.
Sure, it was serving its purpose of an online resource about public speaking skills, but far more than that, the discipline of blogging was forcing me to learn lots of new life skills – skills that are highly transferable to other endeavours.
Now it’s time to reflect. In this post, I share some of the important life skills that I’ve developed from blogging.
Skills I’ve Learned from Blogging
1) Writing & Being Creative
Certainly blogging has helped refine my grammar. More importantly, blogging has forced me to formulate arguments and communicate ideas clearly using the written word.
When you blog, you have to think up interesting ways to convey your content to your readers, and you have to articulate your thoughts clearly and express yourself well. After pumping out 60+ articles over the last 2 years, my writing skills are becoming sharper and more natural by each post.
The creative opportunities are endless! In fact, this blogging experience has helped turn me into a bit of a designer. From choosing a colour palette and redesigning the layout of the website, to selecting images and formatting content, I now have more design experience than many people – without even trying!
Sitting at my computer when I created an account for Communicate You blog, I never imagined it would provide such a great opportunity to meet people and develop genuine connections online. But as a result of networking, there are now numerous fellow bloggers around Ireland and further afield that I consider friends.
Along with the standard posts I write about public speaking and presentation skills, I’ve created an interview section on the blog, where I chat with inspirational people who are leading public speakers and trainers on the world stage. I’ve connected with people via Twitter, email, blog posts and Skype. As they say ‘it’s all about who you know,’ and that list of people is growing every single day.
3) Time Management
Family, work, rest, community, exercise, blogging. Striking a healthy balance among each of them is required for long-term success in any of them.
There is no doubt that regular blogging, taken seriously, is a big consumer of time – blogging is almost like a crash-course in time management! It’s not that the writing takes up all the time, it’s all the little things you do in the background – updating the site, responding to comments, building an audience, and more.
I typically spend several hours each week developing Communicate You blog.
Another beneficial part of blogging is that it teaches you how to set deadlines for yourself, which I believe is a crucial skill in the real world. Regular blogging has forced me to divide my list of tasks into more manageable, bite sized chunks.
For example, four times per year I create a content calendar with the full list of blog articles planned for each quarter. One to two months before a post is planned to publish I begin brainstorming ideas and preparing to write.
4) Being an Entrepreneur
Blogging has given me the opportunity to explore entrepreneurial life… and discover the excitement that goes with it. Starting a blog, much like starting a business, involves lots of hard work, the ability to build something from scratch, dedication, staying organised and pitching your idea to others.
Much like running a startup, every time I hit publish on a new post, I take a risk. There is always going to be a sense of risk associated with good writing as it seeks to advance a particular ideal. But the more practice one gets, the easier the risk becomes.
Blogging has taught me the art of marketing – a life skill that definitely deserves to be on this list. Because every day of our lives, we market. We sell our ideas, our opinions, our views, and even ourselves to the people we meet.
There are hundreds of millions of websites. A blog may provide valuable information to readers, but if nobody knows it exists then it isn’t helping anybody. At some point, you are required to promote your work … and that requires lots of confidence!
Over the past 2 years I have attempted to expose myself to my target market in as many creative ways as possible. This is what marketing is all about: spreading the word and getting people interested in what you have to say.
Writing & being creative, networking, time management, being an entrepreneur and marketing – when I started blogging two years ago I was given a wonderful opportunity to develop these highly-transferable skills all at once. And for that, I am very grateful.
Building Communicate You blog into what it has become has been (and continues to be) an enjoyable adventure. Thanks for being a part of it.