There are many reasons why a professional may feel the urge to blog about topics in their areas of professional expertise. For instance, countless professionals are innovating, conducting notable research, sharing transformative ideas and being a source of uniquely valuable information. However the absence of a personal brand cause many of their efforts to be buried under a growing mountain of their peers' impressive professional and personal achievements. Even worse are when their achievements and discoveries are attributed to a more renowned figure in the industry. In addition to building a brand, a blog can be a tangible first step toward building their own practice. Once a professional has demonstrated consistent knowledge and admirable skill suddenly a field that appears crowded is welcoming you with open arms and eager customers or clients are enthusiastically clamouring for your services before you've even opened your practice.
Apart from building a brand or marketing, professionals may simply want more influence in their field or community, more influence on public policy especially to advocate for government funding or grants, be more accessible to the demographics they serve, open the door for networking opportunities or the passion drives them to share their professionally acquired knowledge through a blog. Starting a blog in your area of expertise can be exhilarating, moreso if backed by passion about a project. But if your execution is dissatisfactory and devoid of careful thought, your budding blog has the potential to damage your established career.
The resources that professionals have in their disposable are invaluable for blogging. Professionals have already earned the credentials and experience that many bloggers crave and must work towards for years before being trusted. For example, a public health professional’s blog would hit the scene with legitimacy, while a blogger who can only claim passion would not only be limited on the topics she could post about but would be forced to contemplate how to narrow the topic to fit her lack of an accredited credential. In addition, bloggers who are solely backed by passion but dare to blog about serious topics are challenged relentlessly. In the time a passionate blogger has to invest in building trust and arguing their points is the time a professional can get their articles ranked and build a following.
These credentials, proven skills and experience that garner trust are well deserved because ethical professionals who earned their degrees honestly are equipped with deep knowledge that even the most passionate hobby blogger would struggle to compete with. The education allows professionals to organize their information more strategically, provide more valuable knowledge and bestow insights that only those inside the industry have access to. In addition, those who have professional experience have built connections with people who can share the blog and perhaps even add to it. This word of mouth marketing can be more useful than any social media marketing which is less resilient to new competition and easily swept away by new trends. In addition, a professional’s colleagues can inspire content.
Research scientists may want to use their blog to explain dense material to a broader audience who are unfamiliar with the research topic. If successful, researchers can generate more widespread interest in their research and attract more funding.
However professionals should be aware of the added stress of simultaneously guarding their professional trajectory while growing their blog. These values and goals can conflict with one another. Any unintentional misstep can be a blight on your professional career. For example, you can risk cheapening your brand and image by selling yourself short. While many hobby bloggers offer much of their information for free, you can damage your personal brand by offering information for free that should be exclusive. Professionals should be prudent in deciding what information should be freely shared, how it should be shared and when it should be shared. Avoid being tempted to share key industry secrets and insider knowledge without the proper compensation.
Professionals should also understand that once their ideas are released for public consumption, your ideas can be repurposed or even usurped by those who are less experienced and appropriated by unsavory characters. This can sting deep if the concept that is being casually repurposed by a content scraper was a concept that you invested tremendous amount of time and resources in. Recognize the stage of your projects, concepts and ideas and determine if they are more than just a professional endeavor but instead a heartfelt part of your identity. Then proceed with caution...if at all. If you decide to proceed, you need to be savvy about your brand strategy so that your ideas spread in conjunction with your brand and blog and not apart from it.
However in some cases, a professional’s ideas can be considered so controversial that they inadvertently marginalize themselves from their own industry and professional career. Your risky ideas that deviate from the norm in your field can cause you to lose legitimacy among industry leaders. If you have a growing and popular audience, you can be accused of selling out and touting unethical ideas just to build viewership. Your beliefs or knowledge can be demonized as inauthentic when in reality you may have not had a platform to share your long held unorthodox views. This controversy can end your professional career and even dismantle your blog if you readers are convinced that your critics are right. In cases such as these perhaps a separate blog can be created for these controversial thoughts or a social media platform apart from blogging may be more accommodating to this particular situation. It is important for professionals to outline their values and goals for their career and blog beforehand to prevent being at the crossroads without knowing which way to turn.
Are you a professional who wants to start a blog while maintaining the integrity of your career? Do not hesitate to email me at [email protected]. Thank you for reading!