Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from the folks at Bigger Pockets.
Sometimes blogging isn’t fun.
It’s not often you hear that, but I’m being real here. Sometimes you sit down at the computer and just think to yourself, “I don’t want to write another word! I’m not getting anything out of it!”
Perhaps you’ve been blogging for months (or years) and haven’t seen any direct return on your investment, or perhaps you’ve just started and are beginning to realize the truth that all the gurus make it sound way too easy. Maybe you want to quit? After all: What good is blogging if it doesn’t produce solid income?
The problem with that question, I believe, is rooted in the desire for instant gratification. Seasoned bloggers out there recognize that “instant” and “blogging” are not synonyms. Blogging is a long-term commitment with no guarantee of financial success. I’d even go as far as to say the vast majority of bloggers will never make any life-changing income from their blog.
So why blog?
I’ve identified eight non-monetary benefits to blogging. Next time you are feeling fed-up with blogging and think that blogging isn’t doing anything for you – review this list to help jog your memory and motivate you to keep pressing forward.
1.) Organization of Your Thoughts
I’m not the most organized guy. Okay – it’s worse than that. I’m probably the most unorganized guy you’d meet. In fact, I’m sitting on my couch right now writing this post and I just realized I took my sweatshirt off and threw it on the ground. Yeah, I’m that kind of organized. My desk in my office tends to look like the inside of my head – completely unorganized and scattered.
As you can probably identify with – I have a million ideas and strategies rolling around in my head at any given time. I’ve tried notebooks, programs like Evernote, and implementing the Getting Things Done system. Sure, they all have some value and do help my stuff get more organized – but when I began daily writing, however, I realized that something changed – my thoughts became organized.
I don’t know why this isn’t the most talked about benefit of blogging, but for a guy like me – that organization of thought became life changing.
In fact, as a real estate entrepreneur and blogger – I completely redesigned my entire life’s investing strategy after writing an ebook about investing. Before this time, I had been buying rental property and living off the extra monthly income and I thought I was doing pretty good. In writing this ebook, however, I realized the tremendous upside I was missing by living off my profit rather than re-investing it into bigger and better properties.
Blogging continues to help me clarify my thoughts and organize that mess in my head. This post is a perfect example – these thoughts have been rattling around for months. This post for GeekEstateBlog.com is helping me clarify these thoughts – and as a result, I get to share a part of my now-organized thoughts with you.
2.) Accountability For Your Business
One of my heroes in my real estate investing niche is a guy named J Scott. J runs 123Flip.com, a blog that documents his house flipping business in step-by-step, down to the penny detail. While “flipping blogs” are nothing new – J’s site is different. He doesn’t up-sell you.
- There is no $997 course to take
- No $10,000 bootcamp
- No $30,000 coaching.
So without a big up-sell or major monetizing strategy, why does J do it? It’s pretty clear – accountability. By letting the world know what you are doing, it encourages you to do better work, be more efficient, and make more money. J’s site is a great example of using a blog as an accountability tool and not just a monetizing strategy. J may be a great blogger – but he is an incredible house flipper. Blogging is a way to hold him accountable to being great.
The same principle applies for any area of you life. Do you struggle finding the encouragement to work out? Why not talk about your journey like Pat Flynn did when he did P90x? There are tons of ways you can use blogging as an accountability partner. What skills do you want to get better at? How can blogging help keep you accountable?
3.) Building Your Personal Brand
Blogging allows you to craft your personal brand and expand it further than you ever thought possible. You may move from company to company, site to site, but your brand is an intrinsic part of who you are. You might live in a small town – but when you blog you are living smack-dab in the center of the largest city on earth – the world wide web.
In the real world, your personal brand is defined by your life experiences, your job, the people you hang out with, and your attitude. Online, your brand is established by the content you produce, the image you project, and the connections you make. By blogging, you are able to define your personal brand yourself, starting immediately. Do you want to be “the SEO Real Estate guy?” Then start building that brand. Do you want to be the “Short Sale Realtor?” Then start building that brand. Be that guy (or gal.)
4.) Helping Others While Building Your Self Esteem
I’m not going to lie – blogging makes me feel good. Do you agree?
When people I don’t know leave me a comment or send an email, letting me know about something I said that made a difference in their life – I’m overcome by that “warm and fuzzy” feeling. You know – the one you get when your random act of kindness just made someone’s day. It’s a terrific feeling that we often don’t get a chance to feel in the physical world. Blogging let’s you experience that feeling every day when you provide great value to the web.
5.) Bringing Your Passion to Passionate People
Does your Mom care about your passions?
How about your close group of friends or even your Facebook friends?
If you are like me – chances are the people you hang out with probably don’t care too much for your passions. For most people, investing in real estate is about as interesting as watching paint dry – so I don’t blame them for not rejoicing over my newest real estate acquisition or killer blog post about renting your house out. I accept that – I’m in a niche. Can you identify with that feeling?
While your family and friends may not get excited about your interests – there are probably thousands of people across the globe who deeply and passionately care about the same things that you do. Blogging brings your message, and your personal brand, to the people who truly care and can benefit from your ideas. You can become an industry leader in your niche by blogging about the things you are truly passionate about.
6.) Networking through Community
Yes – the notion of an “online community” is a little weird – but another terrific non-monetary benefit of blogging. I feel a strong bond with many of the people in my niche because of the relationships I’ve built through blogging. Most of these individuals I have never met and probably won’t – but the relationship exists none-the-less. These people help to shape the kind of person I am and the kind of person I’m going to be.
Additionally these connections may prove invaluable for moving forward within your niche. The relationships you build can help you gain popularity, build your brand, and reach more people. Social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are great tools for this, as you are able to engage in real-time conversations with the leaders in your niche and start building your reputation and brand in front of them and their followers.
7.) Gaining New Skills
A year ago I was operating on a tiny, old and crappy netbook. I didn’t know what WordPress was, how to write for the web, and definitely didn’t know how to use social media correctly. Today I am the social media manager/senior editor of a massive online community, I’m writing blog posts in html, and I’m guest posting on GeekEstateBlog.com! This past year has been explosive in terms of building skills and I’ve loved every minute.
I’m not saying this to build myself up or pat myself on the back – (because trust me, I have a long way to go!) but to show you one of my favorite benefits of blogging – the ability to gain new skills. The skills I’m learning today on marketing, communication, design, networking, psychology, and writing will propel me into new and uncharted territories in my own life. I didn’t need to pay for these skills or attend a college class. This is true on-the-job training in the best form. I love what I do, and I do what I love. That’s the power of blogging.
8.) Creating Bigger Opportunities
Finally, for all the reasons outlined above, blogging can open doors that you didn’t even know existed.
You may not be actively looking for a future job or business opportunity – but when you become a blogger, your brand is on display for the world to see. You don’t know what the future has in store for you – but blogging can bust open your horizons and create new and amazing opportunities. This last benefit rings especially true for me recently, as I was able to transition from my small real estate blog to my current leadership role on a website 100 times bigger than my own. Talk about amazing opportunities!
What Will You Do?
So what will you do when you don’t make money with your blog?
Will you continue? Will you quit?
I hope I’ve convinced you that blogging for money is only part of the game – and if you only play for that reason – you are going to be either:
- disappointed, or
- very bored.
Honestly, I think people are far too consumed with the money-making aspects of blogging and ignore the rest. If I was guaranteed to never make another dollar from my blogging efforts – I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so in love with the non-monetary benefits of blogging that I couldn’t imagine life without my daily writing and networking.
I believe the difference between those who “make it” in this industry and those who quickly come and go comes down to recognizing these non-monetary features for what they are: benefits.
What other non-monetary benefits to blogging have I missed? Let me know in the comments!
Photo Credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com