By Kaly Sullivan of KalySullivan.com
When I started my blog, I didn’t have a plan. I had reached a personal and professional impasse, and I needed a focus for my creative energy. My intention was to practice writing and get more comfortable sharing about myself. I was not thinking long-term or about forging a new career path.
After three years of consistent blogging, I found some success submitting to other sites, but my blog never took off. I kept blogging, but I wasn’t getting the traction that I thought would naturally come if I just stuck with it.
And, I was burnt out. Even if I could piece together a few paid submission a month, it wasn’t near the amount of money I deserved for the work I was putting in.
Last fall, I took a long hard look at what I had been doing, and I accepted that being a blogger in the popular sense wasn’t what I really wanted. I decided to use what I learned blogging as a springboard into a new career path.
In December, I started a job as a content marketing consultant for a small company. And this is where it gets interesting, because all that time I was working on my blog, practicing writing, listening to podcasts, taking free webinars, and fighting with WordPress, I didn’t realize that I was cultivating high-demand skills.
I had put myself through Content Marketing University (but with wine instead of keg beer).
How to connect and engage with customers through content is at the forefront of every marketers brain right now. And if you’ve been blogging, you’ve been doing exactly that.
Companies are looking for writers who can understand the goals of their business, identify what their audience needs, and build content that speaks to that need.
My blog launched me into a whole different career path, one that aligns well with my natural storytelling talents and uses the skills I’ve picked up blogging.[bctt tweet=”‘My blog launched me into a whole different career path’ @kalysullivan”]
Maybe like me you’ve tried blogging and it’s not turning out exactly as you expected. Do not hit the panic button. You have not been wasting your time.
If you’re interested in using your blogging experience to jump-start a new career, here are a few things I picked up along the way:
Drop the cutesy blog name.
I’ve noticed quite a few bloggers are ditching their cute blog name for First Name, Last Name, Writer. Don’t let the name of your blog limit your opportunities by type-casting you.
Turn your blog into a portfolio.
Think of your blog as a website to showcase your best work. Not just your writing, but your knowledge of social media, website design, email campaigns, and using content to tell a story.[bctt tweet=”Blogger Tip #2: Turn your blog into a portfolio @kalysullivan “]
Diversify what you write about.
If you’ve been trying and struggling to find your blogging niche, you can end your search. Use your blog to practice writing about different types of topics and show your range instead.
Find your voice and define it.
There are defining characteristics to how you write. Identify them, be able to articulate them, and then be consistent.
Understand your end goal.
Be honest with yourself – do you want to be a star blogger? Do you want to write for a living? Do you want flexibility? Or a regular paycheck? Once I was honest with myself about my end goals, it made focusing on my next steps much easier.
Figure out what you’re really good at, and share it.
Define what you bring to the table. And then turn that into a pitch. Mine is, “I can help you tell your story in a clear, relatable way that connects you to the people you want to reach the most.” And now that’s my job–to find stories within my company and share them with our customers.
You’re a writer. Your resume should kick butt.
Put time into your resume. Post it to your website on your Hire Me page. Don’t have one of those? Get one.
Remember not everyone can do what you do.
Your ability to tell stories in a relatable way is your greatest strength. Flex that muscle.
Do not underestimate how rare that ability is.[bctt tweet=”Your ability to tell stories in a relatable way is your greatest strength @kalysullivan”]
You don’t have to be in an expert in everything.
Be very candid about what you do and do not know, but remember that you’re resourceful. Just like you taught yourself how to blog, there is little a job can throw at you that you can’t figure out.
Have a position on things that are buzz worthy.
SEO, Snapchat, whatever the latest buzz is about, do enough research to have an opinion so you can make thoughtful observations and recommendations.
You know more than you realize.
You know the blogging world, because you’ve embedded yourself there and you’ve surrounded yourself with bloggers. Most people don’t know 1/20 of what you know about blogging. This gives you a huge advantage and should also give you a ton of confidence.
Get excited about writing about something outside of your own world.
The great thing about using your writing skills within a company setting is that it’s not personal which can be very freeing and offers a new kind of challenge.
Place great value on yourself and others will believe it.
Use your blog as a staging area to gain confidence and find your voice. And remember, that you have invaluable skills that brands trying to build connections with their customers want.
Congratulations! You have graduated Content Marketing University with the highest of honors. This is not the end, but the beginning. Now get out there, show the world what you can do, and make us proud.
When Kaly doesn’t have her nose in a book, she wrangles and referees two elementary age boys and blogs at KalySullivan.com about her humorous efforts to lead a mindful, connected life. She’s the author of Good Move: Strategy and Advice for Your Family’s Relocation a book about the craziness of moving with kids. Her writing has been featured on Mamalode, In The Powder Room, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Scary Mommy to name a few. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram and Pinterest are her favorites.