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Postscript: Why YOU Should Become an HR Blogger…and How

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to be able to attend the 2014 HRPA Conference as a blogger to observe and share my thoughts on this year’s keynotes, sessions speakers, trade show vendors and after-party shenanigans. It was awesome (thanks HRPA and Achievers), and proved to be excellent inspiration for a handful of blog posts over at LiveHR.ca. By far the most read and most shared post I wrote was based on Bonni Titgemeyer‘s great session about becoming an HR blogger (republished below). I got lots of comments on Twitter, retweets and favorites, and many of them were from non-bloggers. Clearly Bonni’s presentation, and my post, struck a nerve. I can’t help but think that there are many HR folks out there (possibly lurking in shrubberies) who love the idea of blogging and are looking for their chance to dip a toe in the water.

I’m about to tell you about that chance!

David D’Souza, blogger at 101 Half Connected Things, author, speaker, tweeter, and recovering Justin Beiber fanatic, is publishing  a second collection of HR blogs as a follow up to the wildly successful ‘Humane Resourced‘, an e-book anthology of HR blogs which peaked at #1 Human Resources business book in the UK. As with the first publication, proceeds for this installment will go to charity, so the opportunity to be part of a project with some of the most witty, progressive HR thinkers, practitioners and bloggers on the planet is merely icing on the cake.

David has extended the deadline for submissions until the end of February, which gives you about two and a half weeks to get your act together and submit a blog post for inclusion (instructions can be found here). As David says: “it’s all for charity, no experience required, don’t be scared”. I urge you to take this opportunity to get involved with a tremendous group of bloggers, whether it’s your first blog post or your 1,200th. If this is your first foray into blogging, check out the great tips that Bonni shared with her HRPA conference audience below (post originally published at LiveHR.ca). If you still have nagging doubts or questions before you take the plunge, ask them in comments below, e-mail me via this blog’s Contact Me page, or DM me on Twitter @jsarahwatsHR. I will answer. Let’s do this!!!

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Why YOU Should Become an HR Blogger

Why should you think about, even just for a second, becoming an HR blogger?

Bonni Titgemeyer is particularly qualified to answer that question. She started her blog site the EOList in 2010, and it became a genuine phenomenon, connecting HR professionals from all over the world to each other and to great HR opportunities, as well as hosting outstanding HR blog content generated by an array of rotating guest bloggers, and Bonnie herself.

Bonni’s HRPA 2014 Conference session on Becoming an HR Blogger provided some great reasons to for you to consider joining the vibrant HR blogger community:

  • A blog can raise your profile and contribute to your personal brand
  • If you’re a consultant, it can showcase your business offerings and establish your credibility and expertise
  • It gives you a voice to share your viewpoint
  • It connects you with others who read HR blogs, as well as other HR bloggers

I can honestly say that I’ve met some of the most valued, incredible people in my network because of my blog Talent Vanguard. It’s difficult for me to fully articulate the profound sense of community that blogging has created for me. When I started out in 2011 and every day since, other HR bloggers and readers have been incredibly supportive and encouraging, sharing my posts with others and telling me that what I was writing was worth reading (which is the fundamental ‘big scary question’ when you are creating something that anyone, or no one, might read). Today I know many of those other bloggers, some in person and some from the regular exchange of thoughts online.  Truly, my life is richer because I chose to put my opinions and viewpoint out there via blog. Professionally, it has given me a renewed sense of connection and enthusiasm for HR, because it reminds me that our profession is much bigger than what I happen to deal with between 9 and 5 on any given day.

So that’s the why. What about the how? Bonni has good tips on that too.

What you need to get started:

  • A decision to blog
  • A good blog name
  • The ability to write
  • Time and commitment to post regularly
  • A degree of comfort with your subject matter
  • A commitment to experimentation and to make connections with others
  • A platform (WordPress and Blogger are popular. I use WordPress and find it fairly straightforward)
  • Channels to share your content and draw readers to your site; pick one or more: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ (Twitter works best for me, although I do get traffic from Facebook because my Mom shares my posts with friends and family. Embarrassing blogger secret…)
  • Your own unique voice as a blogger. As Bonni pointed out, this can be less formal than your usual ‘at work’ writing style. Reading others’ writing can help to establish what kind of style and tone you are drawn too. I think voice evolves over time too, so don’t get stuck on this.

Tips for blogging success from Bonni:

  • If you want to test the waters, offer to guest post on an already established blog, or contribute writing to a workplace or association newsletter.
  • Share other bloggers’ posts that you enjoy. This contributes to the sense of community, is good online etiquette, and is often reciprocated.
  • Be careful about confidentiality and professionalism. Like Miley Cyrus, we’re role models whether we want to be or not. So keep it classy HR.
  • Look for inspiration everywhere – current events, articles, books, songs, movies, pets, and your colleagues. Consider book reviews, interviews.

And a few tips of my own:

  • Be grateful. When people read, comment, or share your writing make sure they know that you appreciate it. They could’ve read US Weekly instead.
  • Flickr Creative Commons has tons of great photos you can use for free, as long as you provide an image credit on your blog. Check the license first.
  • Follow Michael Carty on Twitter (and everywhere else…except to his house- that’s creepy). Michael is a superhuman connector within the HR blog world. He shares great content, links likeminded folks, and I suspect he is in contention for nicest human being. He suggested that you follow the #hrblogs hashtag on Twitter, and check out these other posts about HR blogging:

Good blogging to you!

Image credit: Edinburgh City of Print via Flickr Creative Commons

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