Save Your Career, Start a Blog

Layoffs. Layoffs. Layoffs. Those three words seem to be more certain these days than death, taxes and change.

I lived through several rounds of layoffs during the infamous bursting of the Internet bubble. I watched the agency I worked at go from a hotbed of buzz to a morgue.

It wasn’t great.

And now, history (as it always does), is repeating itself across the board. So, if I may, a suggestion that may not help you keep the job you have, but may help you get the next job-and help you keep it.

The advice? Start a blog. Start it now. I’ll give you 10 reasons why:

1. You’ve always wanted to better understand conversational marketing, a.k.a. social media, a.k.a. Web 2.0. Here’s your chance. The only way to understand change is to be a part of it. Your longevity in this business will depend on your ability to have a better grasp of the seismic shifts occurring before your very eyes.

2. Blogging = market research. In my experience, blogging keeps me smart. It forces me to be active within my community. It’s amazing how much you’ll discover by plunging down the rabbit hole of links. Blogging is the new account-planning function.

3. You’ll also gain the unique and differentiated insights that give you a leg up on your colleagues. In the game of Cubicle Survivor, there’s no prize for second place.

4. You’ll establish yourself, prove yourself and position yourself within the community.

5. You may become a titan. Take David Armano, for example. His blog, Logic + Emotion, is a must read. Before, he was a nobody (to me, that is). Perhaps crayon will be able to afford him one day.

6. You could become the go-to resource for all things new, emerging and/or mystifying.

7. If you’re a CEO, you’ll demonstrate leadership from the top down and the inside out. Sure you’ll get lambasted and taunted from the likes of George Parker, but you can prove your staying power.

8. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you get to bypass the boss who’s been keeping you down and get noticed by the muckety-mucks who are more concerned with big ideas than bullshit bingo.

9. You might find yourself getting hired. Both Greg Verdino and Adam Broitman are now crayonistas and I can say 100 percent it’s because of their blogs. Your blog is your resume. It’s that simple.

10. If starting a blog is too much work short term, you can contribute to or comment on the blog or podcast of the person (and thus, company) you’d like to be working for next.

Although I wrote these 10 points in a somewhat lighthearted manner, I cannot stress enough how powerful an established and Google-juiced blog can be for yourself and, ultimately, your company. Google doesn’t discriminate in terms of how it rewards relevance and resonance, and you’d be surprised how many leads, press inquiries, resumes and business-development opportunities will present themselves through blogging.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, I recommend the following five steps:

1. Do due diligence. Find three to five blogs or bloggers that you’d most like to emulate. Subscribe to their feeds. Note when they hit the mark and when they miss. (Typically this will take the form of a number of comments.)

2. Don’t let your company own your blog. It’s your personal asset and equity. And through the separation of blog and job, and with the appropriate disclaimers, you get to say what’s really on your mind. A note of caution: Don’t be a dumbass and say stuff that will get you and your company into hot water.

3. Find your authentic voice. Blogging is like keeping a diary or journal and sharing it with a million of your closest strangers.

4. Bring something new to the table.

5. Begin in stealth mode. When you’re ready to “come out,” send the link to 50 of your closest friends and colleagues. If that goes well, extend the invite to bloggers with whom you have an established relationship. Although there’s a natural competitiveness within the blogosphere, there’s also a terrific sense of camaraderie and willingness to help. There’s also the power of “link love”: By adding bloggers to your blogroll and linking back to them, you’ll get their attention, comments and, if you’re good, mucho traffic.

I’m sure there are points I’ve left out, but hopefully this will get you going in the right direction. During these challenging times, you need to be master of your destiny and the best way is to do what your customers are doing: building direct, authentic, relevant and influential relationships with their communities.

Blog on!

blogs REFERENCED IN THE ARTICLE:
Logic + Emotion, David Armano, darmano.typepad.com
A Media Circ.us, Adam Broitman, amediacirc.us
Adscam, George Parker, adscam.typepad.com
Marketing, Media &Trends, Greg Verdino, gregverdino.typepad.com

Joseph Jaffe is chief Interruptor at crayon and author of Join the Conversation. He blogs at www.jaffejuice.com and can be reached atjaffe@crayonville.com.