Okay, I have a confession: I used to think that blogging lacked prestige. I thought that getting my byline in some big, nationally-renowned publication like a print newspaper or magazine would be far more impressive than creating a blog on the internet.
Boy, was I wrong.
Becoming a full-time blogger (yes, that’s a thing!) has shown me the many, many advantages that come with running a blog.
#1: You have a direct relationship with your audience.
If you write for a newspaper or magazine, your article may get read by thousands of people -— but those people don’t develop a relationship with you. They don’t want to learn more about your life. They don’t follow you on social media or reach out to you with questions and comments and notes of appreciation.
When you write a blog, everything changes. You’re the protagonist of the story, the omniscient narrator who guides your audience through whatever topic you cover, whether you’re writing about food or fashion or travel or camping. Your audience isn’t reading an anonymous article; they’re learning about you. They’re discovering what you prefer to eat when you’re on long flights. They’re learning what national parks and campgrounds you prefer to visit. They’re reaching out to you with questions about how to pack, plan, and prepare.
Your blog is a two-way conversation with your audience. That’s a kind of magic that writing for other publications doesn’t quite capture.
#2: You expand your circle of friendships.
Many of my friends are also bloggers. When I travel to a new city, I’ll reach out to the bloggers who cover the same topic who live in that location, and we’ll grab lunch or coffee.
Bloggers love hanging out with other bloggers. It’s nice to connect with people who can relate to the experiences that you’re going through together: people who understand what it’s like to have an inbox full of emails from strangers who know your life story, or who are closely following the same topic with the enthusiasm and vigor that you are.
Thanks to my wide network of blogger contacts, I have a much wider circle of people I can visit, everywhere from Oregon to Florida.
#3: You have creative control.
You decide what topic you’ll cover. You choose the length and level of detail of the story. You’re in charge of your own style. You pick the photos. You choose the links. You pick the design of the website. You post to social media.
In short, you’re in charge of every single creative decision. You have complete creative control, and your blog is your own artistic creation.
Likewise, the way that you make money from your blog is also under your control. You could display advertising on your website. You could put affiliate links on your website, from which you earn a commission when someone uses the link to buy a product or service. You can accept sponsored posts. You could sell your own products or services.
You might choose a smattering of all of the above. Or, if you prefer, you could choose to focus your energy on one primary method of making money, and forgo the others. Your entrepreneurial decisions are within your own control.
You call the shots on everything. You’re not just a writer—you’re the publisher and CEO.
I used to think that getting a byline in a major newspaper would be a career highlight. I don’t aspire to that anymore. Now my focus is as the writer, publisher, and CEO of my blog, and that’s a more fulfilling role.