I’ll be honest - having been a blogger since 2009, I was shocked to find out two things:
1) So many people do not have their own blog.
2) So many people question the benefit or “payout” of having a personal blog in this day and age.
As someone who has put hours and hours of her heart and soul into blogging over the past 6 years, I cannot imagine what my life would be like or where I would be professionally if I had not started a blog. The blogging world has opened up so many doors for me both personally and professionally - I know that I have a life & career that I never would have had if it were not for my blog. But even more, having a personal blog has also introduced me to people that I would now consider to be close friends, in real life!!!! (yes, we don't all just sit behind a screen and type things. Sometimes us bloggers actually see other bloggers in person!)
So is starting and maintaining a personal blog worth it?
I emphatically say YES!!!!!!! It is SO, SO, SO worth it.
I actually wrote about this exact topic in 2011/12 (you can check it out here and here and here). Some of the advice is a bit dated (I mean, I literally wrote "The chances of you becoming an expert on tv, a go-to for newspapers, or writing a column for a magazine are slim. The chances of blogging becoming your full time job are very slim." Fast forward a year or two and that is exactly what happened to me as a result of my blog) but the general idea of why blogging is awesome remains the same.
So yes, I think having a personal blog where you lay it all out (or lay out whatever you are interested in laying out) is worth it.
But don’t just take my word for it. I reached out to a few of my blogging friends to ask them about their personal experience(s) with blogging and why it has been beneficial to them. Here are their answers:
Kate from This Mom Loves:
My blog has changed my life. It began as a way to share my writing with the world - though nothing too personal, as that's not my style. As I became published in print magazines, I was able to share links to my work online and keep them all in one place, for readers and editors to check out. It also gave me a push to learn new tech skills - html, working with videos, Google forms, etc. - things I didn't know when I started in 2009. Blogging has also led to incredible opportunities, like free products and trips for me and my family (while I'm not too heavy on PR, I do love to share things that I think would interest my audience), Momterviews (my name for celebrity mom interviews), and behind-the-scenes visits to news and entertainment shows. I also believe that the brand I built with my blog and social media helped me break into TV, as I go on both local and national shows to share education advice for parents. Plus, I've made some great friends...including Sarah (edited to note: THAT'S ME!) whom I never would have met otherwise!
Alex from I Don't Blog:
I credit my personal blog with launching my writing career! It gave me a place to freely practice writing, and connect with other bloggers and writers. The networking aspect was invaluable, and has lead to so many amazing opportunities. A personal blog is also such a great way to maintain a constantly evolving portfolio of work, giving potential employers a chance to see a wide range of your talent, whether it’s related to your line of work directly or not.
Andrea from Mommy Gearest:
To accommodate a more flexible schedule at work following maternity leave, I moved into a less creative role. For me, starting a blog was almost entirely about having a creative outlet. I wanted to write; and they say “write what you know,” so I created a blog about baby gear. Because I owned hordes of it after two kids. I set out to inform parents about gear purchases while dishing out personal anecdotes and humour along the way.
And it grew.
In the 3.5 years I’ve been writing the pages of Mommy Gearest, my site has evolved to include family experiences, food, travel and product reviews for mom and dad, too—not just baby stuff. It’s given my family some incredible opportunities, such as renovating our powder room with The Home Depot and seeing Disney movies before they’re available to the public. We’ve walked the red carpet at TIFF Kids and travelled to some of the most beautiful places on earth, like a recent trip that took us to Turks & Caicos.
We live a pretty charmed life thanks to that little blog that grew.
Chris from Canadian Dad:
What started as a hobby for me has now turned into an amazing part time job, where I get the chance to attend and speak at conferences, consult with brands and bloggers, speak at events, raise money for charity, start a podcast, interview celebrities, skate with Disney on Ice, appear in TV segments and most importantly, give my kids experiences that I would have never imagined possible. I have been inspired on more than one occasion and I hope that I have inspired a few along the way as well. To say that blogging has changed my life would be a gross understatement and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Danielle from This Ginger Rose:
Why create a personal blog? Well, after almost seven years of sinking my heart, soul, creative energy, and so much more into what I often consider to be “my baby” more than my blog, the answer seems to obvious to me. I first started my blog as apart of a Theatre Business course in university where we were instructed to create a five-year business plan for one of our final projects. In the midst of a quarter-life-crisis and a case of theatre school burnout, I strayed from the theatre side of the assignment and decided that the goal of my five-year business plan would be to have a show on the Food Network. Step one on the business plan? Start a blog.
Within less than a month I had already found a loyal following of foodies who would eagerly read and comment on each new post with the same enthusiasm as my own mother! My blog took on a whole new life and found new meaning as it became a safe space for me to reflect on life, share my stories, and pour my creative energy into. Suddenly my goal of having a show on the Food Network didn’t seem as important as it once was as I fell more and more in love with writing, cooking, developing recipes, and playing with food styling and photography, all in the name of my blog.
Before I knew it my blog found its way into my social life as I started to get invited to exclusive events all around the city. More than just an opportunity to eat and drink some of the best of the best, these events allowed me to meet and mingle with like-minded individuals who shared my passion, many of which also happened to be cooks, editors, entrepreneurs, sommeliers, TV personalities, and writers who I looked up to and could learn from. It was from these events that I learned how to network and socialize with confidence, something that I had previously always struggled with. These events also allowed me to also gain access to so many new experiences and places that I may never have had the opportunity to explore, as I was welcomed into test kitchens, expensive restaurants, food factories, wineries, private cellars, and more!
My blog has opened my life up to so many opportunities and experiences that I never would have gotten the privilege to enjoy had I not signed up for Blogger so many years ago. In these seven years my blog, my public diary, has taught me so much about myself and has shaped me into the 28-year old woman I am today.
Natalie from PegCity Lovely:
My blog has been a great catalyst for a passion I always knew I had but never completely explored. I started out with traditional blog posts and have morphed into vlogs, interviews, podcasts and more! I freakin' love it!
When I wrote about some of my health challenges, when i worte about my mother passing away, when I wrote about auditioning for ET Canada, I was able to really connect with many people and a community that is so supportive and understanding. It's like therapy! At the end of the day, it's for you, by you. You report to yourself, you have full autonomy and can be as open or as crazy as you want to be. It's your own personal space online. Do it because you want to, do it because you have a passion for it, do it because it makes you smile! Know your "why" first and revert to that reasoning often. :)
Catherine from Cameron Communications:
To begin with, a personal blog enables us to get to know ourselves better – our interests, our opinions, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our ambitions. In blogging we become better, more thoughtful communicators, honing both our ability to express ourselves and to listen to others, most often our readers. We so often forget that communication is a two-way street and that listening is an important and vital part of communicating. We expand our vocabularies as we search for and use just the right words. Our grammar and spelling improve, or at least they should.
As a business professional however, blogging also enables me to build and amplify my personal brand; to give people a sense of the individual they hope to hire; and to get a first-hand look at the caliber of my written work. In getting to know me, and in understanding my point of view on a range of topics (in my case, healthy lifestyle), readers and clients understand that when it comes to my work, I truly walk the talk. I live the healthy lifestyle I write about; I am connected to the research and voices that matter; and I can tactfully, but firmly share my point of view or perspective on any number of relevant topics.
Blogging opens up a whole world that is fascinating and, in a lot of cases, life changing. When you dedicate yourself to writing (and promoting yourself) in an open space, it is amazing what doors open, what people come into your life, and how you see yourself grow and develop.
Is blogging really worth it? What doors has it opened for you? Where has it taken you?
Leave me a comment with your thoughts!
Leave me a comment with your thoughts!