Ask the Expat Freelancer: Has Your Blog Helped Your Career?

August 15, 2011

in blogging, career, writing

Just wondering, I know people blog for personal reasons, but has having one helped you get writing work? — Anonymous

In the summer of 2008, I saw an ad for a women’s news blogger on AOL.

At that point, the only blogging I’d done was for my little-read Blogspot blog on which I ranted about various things going on in the world and for the web site of the physical therapy magazine I edited. The ad asked for two samples showing your style and humor. I remember one of the two I sent: a short post comparing Philly mayor Michael Nutter to Shock G (with the nose and glasses) of Digital Underground.

The AOL editor thought this was hilarious and gave me the job. I ended up blogging for AOL’s Lemondrop right up until I left for Australia, and it was one of the best gigs I’ve had to date in terms of variety of blogging I did and the high-profile promotion of it.

So, yes, my blogs have helped me get work.

This current blog is a bit different in its purpose. I do have it largely for personal reasons, but it’s also helped launch me into another niche of blogging: travel. It helped me develop relationships with other bloggers and learn what people like to read and what they don’t.

I think more than anything, this blog has made me a better reflective writer. My background is in journalism, and I used to be a “just the facts, ma’am” writer. In fact, when I got the above AOL gig, the editors constantly told me I should work more on my “voice.” It took me a long time to develop my voice and even longer to talk comfortably about feelings as I do on this blog.

I’ve seen it written many times before that blogging is all about navel-gazing. For someone who came from the other side, the newsier, bare bones style of writing, I’m all about exploring this navel-gazing. If I ever get a column on a major web site or publication or write a memoir, I’ll have the writing I’ve learned to do on this blog to thank.

Other bloggers out there, has your blog helped your career?

6 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Andrew

    Absolutely. In both of my last two jobs, my employers have been more intensely focused on a small news blog I wrote for a few years about a neighborhood park than anything else I’ve done. I think they were impressed at the level of community engagement it demonstrated–actual off-line community as well as on-line.

    Andrew

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Cheers for the comment, Andrew. That’s a good point about demonstrating how you handle audience and community when blogging. It’s another piece of the puzzle that deserves attention aside from the actually writing itself.

      Reply
  2. Caz Makepeace

    Great post. I can really see how blogging can help with freelance work. I’m always envious of journalists who turn to blogging as they seem so far ahead with techniques, structures and my least favourite- grammar!!
    Blogging is different in that you do have to bring a different voice and journalists once they do that can be very powerful!

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks for the comment, Caz! I can see, especially lately, how your blogs have furthered you along in writing and travel. I think, too, that while things like grammar are important, having a voice and being able to tell your story can often matter more to the reader.

      Reply
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