Have you, a magazine writer (or soon-to-be), ever questioned yourself why you should have a blog?
I mean, you’re meant to be a writer, not a blogger. So why bother, right?
Lemme tell you. I’ve been freelancing since 2012 and blogging since 2016. And the one thing I regretted was that I didn’t have a blog to promote my job as a magazine writer earlier. Not until 2017.
Back to 2014 when I was studying in Sweden and tried to approach some potential clients here, THIS was what I called a portfolio and confidently sent to every single contact person I knew at that time:
It didn’t score me any job. Of course not! Actually, as of now, I would be surprised if it did.
The idea here is, even if you’re the best magazine writer out there with outstanding writing skills and so on, not having an online portfolio nowadays will make it extremely difficult for you to showcase your works with potential clients.
You may still have writing gigs here and there from your existing clients since they know you well. But think about the new ones, and other writing-related jobs you may have if you can tell people what’re doing.
In case you’re still unsure, I’ll give you eight reasons why you should have a blog!
8 reasons why magazine writers should have a blog
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1. Practise your writing skills
This is utterly true with newbie magazine writer or those who want to become a magazine writer.
Having a blog for yourself and write, then later publish your blog posts, is the best way to practise your writing skills.
Many people will say they don’t need a blog to write and practise their skills. It’s correct, but it’s not enough.
Compared to traditional writing (with pen and paper) or writing on a Word file on your computer, owning a blog can help you share your works with other people and let them spread the words. Word of mouth still works.
2. Stimulate your creativity
Let admit it: Not everyday you’ll have something to write about. Become a magazine writer means that you may have a lot to write one day, and then nothing to write about the other day. It all depends on how many clients you’re handling at the moment.
After almost ten years working as a freelancer and having met many writers in different fields, I’ve noticed that the best writers may or may not the ones who wrote the best articles but the ones who wrote most often.
The theory behind it is that your writing skills need to be stimulated also. Think about professional athlete. They don’t just train for the game but everyday, to keep their body in form and always be prepared.
So does daily writing to your brain.
3. Be yourself
Not all the time your articles will be exactly the same as they were when you sent them to the editors.
Sometimes they made the right decisions. Sometimes not.
I cannot remember how many times I got crazy because the editors changed the title, cut off some paragraphs, or even replaced the photos of one place by another totally different place, just because they thought that photo was better than this photo!
The more you’re in this industry, the more frustrated you’ll get. And then one day, you’ll realize that having a blog to post all of your original articles on and enjoy reading them is one of the best feelings you’ve had. EVER.
4. Have your portfolio
This is undoubtedly the biggest reason why you should have a blog as a magazine or whatever writer: to make it your portfolio.
A blog will save you and the email-receivers a lot of time browsing through your published articles, testimonials, and so on.
Time is money. Don’t forget that.
5. Become an expert in your field
Let’s say becoming a magazine writer is your goal. But hey you, aim higher! How about becoming an expert in your writing field?
I started my writing career as a travel writer with a solid focus on Europe travel. Later, I wrote more about lifestyle and food, but still with Europe as the main theme.
In 2016, when I launched my European travel blog, I gradually got more clients interested in my special topics. After years, I’ve become an expert in this field, by creating a niche blog and writing specific content.
So now, when people come to me for my writings, they trust me and my writings more than before, because they know I know my stuff very well.
6. Build your network and community
I will keep it short here: You simply cannot live and work without any network.
Back to the story of how I scored my first writing gig in 2012, thanks to the network I had since the good old days in the university. Once one thing kicked in, other things will later.
Besides the network, a community of people who support you will eventually become a nice readership of the blog. They will be the ones who read your articles, give you feedbacks, and somehow even become your friends.
Moreover, if you decide to monetize your blog, they will be those who are likely to buy from you or at least bring traffic to your blog (meaning money from ads).
7. Have something on your CV
Besides being your portfolio per se, your blog can also be a part in your CV as a special skill you’d like to share with the recruiters.
Did you know that I scored my first full-time job as a Marketing Coordinator in Norway partly because I have a blog?
During the interview, the Marketing Manager also said that he was impressed and chose me as a candidate because he liked my blog and how much work I must have poured into it. Yes, a lot of!
Another friend of mine who is living in Stockholm, also told me she got her job at Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) after the recruiter had a look at her family lifestyle blog and thought she was perfect for the position!
As you can see, opportunities are everywhere since you have a blog and invest your time (and a little bit of money) in it.
Therefore, my dear, blog wisely!
8. Have a side hustle
That sounds interesting, doesn’t it? 😉
Well, the truth is you will not be able to make money overnight. However, without having a blog, there is, well, no chance that you can make money from your blog, right?
With the huge impact of the pandemic, people obviously see that the world we’re living in is quite unsure! Your very secured job today can turn into nothing the day after without any warning sign.
Before turning to blog full-time about… blogging, I had a Europe travel blog, which brought me a nice small extra income monthly.
Once the pandemic hit Europe and the entire world, that side hustle’s become a pain in the arse, which brought me $0 in revenue yet some bucks to maintain it every month.
The same goes to everybody’s daily operations. People missed their jobs, but they still had bills to pay. That was devastating.
But at the same time, that was how I realize that’s actually a brilliant idea to have a blog for yourself, regardless what of job you have. It can be a personal finance blog (if you happen to work in this field or have experience), traveling, lifestyle, food, etc.