In March, 2015, I attended the MACUL Conference in Detroit, MI, where George Couros was the keynote speaker. I attended a workshop with George entitled “Blogging as a Portfolio” and was convinced that blogging would be a fun outlet for my personal learning as well as a repository of resources I collect in my professional development as an educator. George Couros has a great blog here which contains more resources from his sessions.
After leaving that seminar, I picked up Paid to Speak at the public library and found the chapter on blogging by Jeff Korhan to have some great tips for getting started. Korhan suggests the following reason to blog:
1. To Showcase Expertise: A blogger ought to figure out what they are good at and stick to “solving specific problems for a defined group” (p. 197). A blog is not a place to brag, but a place to encourage others to learn what you’ve learned.
2. Talent Development: Whether a blogger aspires to be a writer or speaker, blogging is a great outlet for practice. Blogging allows a writer to think through content and present it in unique ways–both prerequisites for good speaking. “Writing talent and speaking talent go hand in hand” (p. 199).
3. Reputation Enhancement: Blogging is a modern way to get one’s name into his or her industry of interest. A blog becomes an archive of information about the blogger and his/her interests, and is essentially an ongoing resume. With the ability to attach content, blogs allow the author to maintain an online portfolio for any interested party to see.
4. Engaging With the Community: A common ability among great speakers is engaging the audience. Maintaining a blog is excellent practice for learning how to welcome readers, solicit comments and feedback, and attract readers and followers. Learning how to connect and communicate with an audience, whether in person or on the web, is a vital skill for any professional.
Korhan (2011) also offers these 9 practical steps and questions for getting a blog started:
1. Define the community.
2. Know why you are blogging.
3. What do you most want to write about?
4. What is not being done that could be of value?
5. Choose a descriptive title for your blog.
6. Write a compelling bio that captures your expertise and personality.
7. Choose a blog platform that is right for you.
8. Start writing. (see above link to George Couros for more tips)
9. Blog consistently and never stop learning.
Korhan, J. (2011). Four big reasons why speakers should blog. In Paid To Speak (Conner, S., Parus, B., & Poinier, J, Eds.). Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press.