What if You’re Not a “ProBlogger”? Five Great Alternative Reasons to Blog

by Ali on November 1, 2012

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Reasons to blog - even if you're not a Problogger (image shows keyboard with coloured pencils)

Image from Flickr by Danddalf

A fair amount of conventional blogging advice is aimed at people who see themselves as bloggers (rather than writers – or even business owners) and who want to build and “monetize” a blog: often called “ProBlogging”.

While some people do very well from this type of blogging, you don’t have to be a self-styled ProBlogger to use the power of blogs. You don’t even have to identify as a “blogger” to get a lot out of blogging … and you don’t need a massive blog stuffed with adverts in order to make money.

Here are five alternative reasons why you might try blogging (or why you might already have a blog) – along with tips specific to your situation.

Reason #1: You Want to Start or Grow Your Small Business

Blogs themselves don’t make money – businesses do. While you can turn a successful blog into a successful business (through advertising or affiliate sales), the most effective way to start making money online is to have an actual business.

Your business will probably involve at least one of the following:

  • Freelancing – working with clients to provide a particular service. For us writers, that could be copywriting, producing web content, editing client’s work, coaching/mentoring, or proofreading.
  • Selling digital products – producing ebooks, ecourses, or other downloadable resources, which you can promote through your blog.
  • Selling physical products – this could be anything from reselling wholesale goods to creating your own hand-crafted items.

Your audience: Whatever your business sells, whether it’s a service, a digital product or a physical product, your intended audience should be your potential customers. You may well get a few peers or industry experts dropping by as well – but your posts shouldn’t primarily target them.

Key tip: Make sure your audience know that you have something to sell! It’s easy to get caught up in building a popular blog … but don’t forget to mention your services / products once in a while. (The end of a blog post is a great place to do this, with a call to action.)

Reason #2: You Want to Build Your Profile in Your Industry

Twenty years ago, becoming well-known in your field meant attending conferences (and eventually speaking at them), writing journal articles, and perhaps having a book or three published.

Today, it’s a lot easier to get attention. With a blog, you can publish your best work for the world to read. If, for instance, you’re a literary agent, you can blog about industry news, and produce useful resources for both potential clients and for other agencies.

Your audience: You’re aiming your writing at fellow professionals in your field. This probably means having a keen eye on other blogs in your industry – along with breaking news stories.

Key tip: If you feel that you don’t have much expertise of your own, borrow some! Find great quotes or advice from people higher up than you in the industry, and collate these into one great blog post. (Make sure you clearly cite your sources, linking to blogs / Twitter accounts / etc where appropriate.)

Reason #3: You Want an Outlet for Your Thoughts and Ideas

Not everyone wants to blog for business or career reasons. Blogging started off as a hobbyist medium … and there are still plenty of bloggers who write simply because they enjoy being able to share their thoughts and ideas with an audience.

You can get a huge amount from this more personal style of blogging if:

  • You’d like to build a strong writing habit
  • You find that having responses to your writing encourages you to keep going
  • You want to help family and friends keep in touch with what you’re doing (maybe you’re travelling, or live far away from them, or have a new baby, etc)

Your audience: Unlike other bloggers, you don’t need to worry too much about pleasing your audience – you’re blogging primarily to please yourself! If you blog about your family / friends, though, you may want to disguise names or change details of incidents, to prevent hurt feelings…

Key tip: Some personal bloggers like to use a pen name, so that they’re anonymous. If you emphatically don’t want family and friends reading your inmost thoughts, this is probably the best path to go down!

Reason #4: You Want an Online Platform to Reach an Audience

This isn’t too dissimilar to Reason #1 … it just involves looking ahead a bit further! If you don’t yet have a service or product to sell, you may still want to blog with business in mind.

Let’s say you’re writing a book. You’ll need to be able to reach potential customers for that book once it’s finished – and that applies whether you’re self-publishing or seeking traditional publication.

Agents and editors will be keen to know whether you have a blog, Twitter following, or other online presence – and having a strong online platform could just make the difference between a “not quite right for us” and a “yes please!”

Your audience: Like freelancers and business owners, you’re aiming to reach potential customers. Think about your book’s likely readership – what sort of content could you write that would connect with them? With fiction, this might be reviews of books in your genre, or posts about some aspect of your story.

Key tip: Build your platform before you need it. Your blog is unlikely to take off overnight – and the sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the benefits. (Having supporters cheering you on as you write your book can be hugely motivating!)

Reason #5: You Want to Meet Likeminded People

The blogosphere is a social place … and some people get into blogging as a way to connect with others who have similar hobbies, passions, or interests.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan of an obscure 80s band or a passionate advocate for a particular cause, blogging can be a great way to meet likeminded people from all around the world. Your blog can be a place to report news, round up other people’s posts, or to simply invite comment and debate.

Your audience: Other people passionate about the same thing as you – whatever that might be. Writing posts that you’d love to read will almost certainly help you engage with them.

Key tip: Make the most of the social aspects of blogging – find blogs to comment on, use Twitter and Facebook to connect with others, and encourage comments on your own blog.

 

 

So … over to you! Do any of the above reasons match up with your blogging goal? (You might find that your blog falls into more than one category.) Or do you have a completely different reason for blogging? Let us know in the comments…

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Joel D Canfield November 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I’ve blogged for one or more of these reasons since I started my first blog over 10 years ago.

Today, one reason I *should* blog daily is to keep in the writing habit. Though, I guess on days I actually work on a book, I can skip blogging. But on days I skip working on my book . . .
Joel D Canfield’s last blog post ..A Profound Truth About Coming Unglued and Getting Unstuck

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Ali November 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Habit is a great reason to blog — I don’t think everyone needs to write every single day, but it’s often good to be writing at least most days, especially for us more established writers.

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Priska November 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Right now I am blogging for reason #5 and loving it. Before I started blogging ‘I thought that it was just me’, it’s great to connect with like minded people.
No doubt, in the near future I will be moving to reason #4.
Priska’s last blog post ..Blogging Boomers are Blooming.

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Ali November 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I think #5 is a wonderful place to start — and it should give you the beginnings of a great platform. Connections are such a big part of blogging, and it’s a shame when some bloggers get very focused just on money or business objectives, at the expense of building genuine and rewarding relationships.

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John Holton November 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I started blogging about a year ago because I found a number of writers’ blogs and it looked like so much fun, I just had to try it myself. I guess that puts me in the #5 camp.
John Holton’s last blog post ..#ROW80 Round 4 2012: Trick or Treat!

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Ali November 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I think blogging for fun is a great reason! That’s how I first started experimenting with blogs, many many years ago. :-)

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Icy Sedgwick November 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I started blogging to share my writing and then I just found I enjoyed it, so I think I’m in camps #4 and #5!
Icy Sedgwick’s last blog post ..#FridayFlash – Forever

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Ali November 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

They’re great places to be! :-)

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Archan Mehta November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thank you, Ali, for contributing this wonderfull post: as usual, it feels great to read your writing.

These are great tips to keep in mind. Even as a child, I always loved to write. English literature was my favorite subject in school. Although I could not pursue it formally, the love of language has stayed with me through the years. “My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky” could have been written for my love of the arts too.

I have guest blogged on several sites and, quite frankly, I have enjoyed this experience, but I am not a serious blogger. In fact, I want to cultivate writing as a hobby and not pursue it as a career. I find it difficult to stick to a schedule and write only sporadically: it is difficult for me to sit in one place and keep the writing habit alive.

However, I am overjoyed to learn that you will be a new mum soon. Congratulations to you and your husband that a baby is on the way and you will be proud parents. This will be a new chapter in your life and doubtless full of challenges. Raising a baby is never easy and there will be sleepness nights and worries. In the end, you will thank your lucky stars that you had this opportunity and were blessed by your princess charming. Cheerio.

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Ali November 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Thanks, Archan! Yes, it’s an exciting time for us — my bump is growing bigger by the day. :-) We’re very much looking forward to being parents.

I think guest blogging is a great solution for those who don’t want to commit to keeping up a blog long-term, and who only want to write when inspired; a lovely way to get your work in front of a wider audience.

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LycoRogue November 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Ever since I started up my own blogs a few years back I have been firmly placed in Reason #3. In fact, even though I haven’t even hit 30 yet I’ve been very slow on picking up the professional influence in the blogosphere. I honestly didn’t pick up on the fact that the majority of blogs are “professional” until about a year ago.

Then, after reading more and more posts here, I realized that my current blog is unintentionally Reason #4. I saw other fanfiction writers posting in their site profiles information on when they’ll update next, or ideas on an upcoming project. I wanted to do the same for my few fans and thus created my blog. Now it’s about 1/2 random outlet for my thoughts and 1/2 building a platform for my writing.
LycoRogue’s last blog post ..Happy Halloween!

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Ali November 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I think #3 is what gets a lot of writers into blogging .. and #4 is a great way to take that to a more strategic level.

My suspicion is that there are an awful lot of blogs that are much more personal outlets than “pro” blogs … it’s just that those don’t tend to get written about so much, and they perhaps tend to have smaller readerships.

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Linda November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I’m blogging for reasons 1 and 2, and so far doing OK at blogging every week, but do wonder if/when I will run out of steam!
Linda’s last blog post ..Last thought on Hallowe’en!

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Ali November 6, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Linda, congrats on keeping up the weekly blogging so far! I find that the best way to stay energised to blog is to make sure I have a comfortable blogging routine (the right posting frequency for me) and that I spend plenty of time reading other blogs and coming up with interesting ideas that I really want to write about. :-)

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Rebecca November 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I did the livejournal thing in my youth – more of a ‘woe is me’ space than anything else.

I’ve just jumped into real blogging – trying to find a routine and set topics to write about. I tried to keep detailed notes when I was worldbuilding and novel planning and that’s created a few back-up drafts of posts for when I get into a rut.

Since serious blogging can be a serious time investment, I’m sticking with a small tumblr space until I’m confident that I can keep up posting. At that point, I’ll hopefully be able to move onto a more professional, and better designed space.

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Ali November 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I think Tumblr’s a great option for quick updates and a simple blog — hope you’re enjoying it, Rebecca. :-) And welcome to the “serious blogging” world!

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Craig McBreen November 8, 2012 at 3:20 am

Hi Ali,

Already in it for #1 and it does help drive traffic to my business. I have product ideas in the queue as well.

And I can honestly include parts of 2-5 as well. The practice of blogging has helped me build a strong writing habit; I not only want to build a business; I aim to build a platform, and I’m always on the lookout for new people to share ideas with and learn from.

Every morning I spend at least an hour banging away at the keyboard. I never really considered myself a writer, but now enjoy the process more than just about any other pursuit.
Craig McBreen’s last blog post ..Why our blogging hive is your creative spark plug

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Ali November 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm

For my money, Craig, if you’re writing, you’re a writer … though I know not everyone’s quite comfortable with the title. I think that seeing your blog as a way to build a platform and not just a business is a great approach; you never know what opportunity might be round the next corner!

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Michael Guidera November 8, 2012 at 4:29 am

Hi Ali
when so many sites are talking about blogging as a step towards taking over the world its good to read about blogging for other, saner, reasons. Your post helps me to focus on how blogging is always about the writing, regardless of my aim.
Thank you
Michael Guidera’s last blog post ..Learning from Love and Death

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Ali November 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thanks Michael! I’m glad this could come as a breath of fresh air … I think blogging’s brilliant, but some people perhaps get a wee bit too hyped-up about its possibilities.

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Katherine Elizabeth November 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Hi Ali

I would say my reason for blogging falls under number 3 and 5 – my blog is mostly for my thoughts/ideas and for documenting my life, but I’d also like to find others who feel the same, and perhaps help them in some way by giving my opinions. I also find it a great way to practice writing. Saying that though, I have been blogging for a very short time, so perhaps in the future the other reasons will be relevant to me too :)
Katherine Elizabeth’s last blog post ..My Big Decision (to change my life)

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Ali November 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Katherine, I think many people do find that their blog evolves and grows along with them — both in terms of topics and also goals. It’s great that you’re keeping an open mind about what the future might bring! :-)

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Lahaul Seth November 16, 2012 at 12:02 pm

You have pointed out some good topics. I first started blogging a year ago to showcase my programming knowledge to my friends and too earn some money using advertisements which was pretty stupid actually when I think back now. But I’m sure glad I started it. Now-a-days I don’t feel like showcasing myself to others. Rather I blog because I like the idea of it and it’s now one of my favorite hobbies.
Lahaul Seth’s last blog post ..Why you should join Blog Engage ?

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Ali November 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Lahaul, it’s great that you’re having fun with your blog. I don’t think trying to earn money using ads is stupid, but I do think it’s a much slower and harder process than many beginner bloggers believe! Hope you continue to enjoy blogging. :-)

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Rose D'Andrea November 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Wow. Great post.
You may think this is a little strange, but I think my reasons for blogging are a mix of all 5 categories.

#1) I have a book of poetry written, and will be publishing on Amazon in February (fingers crossed). I, also, have a suspense novel in the works, that hopefully will be ready for release around the 4th of July.

#2) It’s been fun to share my ideas of the writing craft with people. People other than my family. So far they have all been sweet and claim I’m not annoying them with my happy updates, but I would rather that not be the only thing I talk about. Having a place to discuss this process with other writers has been a blessing.

#3) Who doesn’t want a place to put their odd thoughts and ideas? A place to say what’s on their mind, crow about a great day of writing, or just ask a bunch of relative strangers an odd list of questions.

#4) Was my initial reason for starting this blogging adventure. Just another part of my platform from which I will sell millions and millions of my books ;) . Little did I realize that in just one short month it would become so much more. Blogging makes me happy. :)

#5) I did not realize there were so many people with my specific sense of humor.
I also did not realize the amount of people on this rock we call Earth who are also looking to become authors. This is a good thing. The more the merrier. It’s encouraging how many of us are willing to put aside competition and help our fellow creative geniuses.

Through the process of learning how to blog I have met some amazingly helpful people. It is truly boggling to think of how much I did not know before I started on this journey toward becoming a published author. I still have not reached the ultimate goal of selling a book, but in time this will change. Right now, I am enjoying the company of fellow writers.
Rose D’Andrea’s last blog post ..Who Knew?

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Ali November 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Thanks Rose! And wow, good on you for hitting all five reasons … I guess you’ve got plenty of incentive to keep blogging. ;-) Congratulations on how far you’ve come so far, and very best of luck as you move toward the eventual goal of selling a book.

Hope the poetry launch goes well in February, and the suspense novel later in the year: keep us updated!

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