As an FPGA consultant, writing my blog must be the thing that requires the most self-discipline for me. It’s not easy to come up with subjects to write about, it takes time and its doesn’t have an immediate dollar value like client work does. However, I write a blog and it provides me with huge benefits that I couldn’t get without spending large amounts of money on advertising. So why do it? In few words, writing a blog creates a face for you, it shows other people in the world who you are and what you are offering. Here are the main reasons I recommend you do it too.
1. Build your credibility
As consultants, we’re selling ourselves, not some fancy product, so we need people to know who we are and what we know about. By sharing our knowledge and experience on the web, we show people that we’re knowledgeable and competent in our particular field of expertise. You might share your CV online and think that it serves this purpose – believe me, people don’t read it and those who do don’t makes purchasing decisions based on it. They want to see more, they want to see that you’re expert enough to write a whole page on one topic of your specialization. They want to see what you’ve done and they want to see the details that allow them to compare you with the hundreds of other consultants out there.
2. Be likable
A good friend of mine who happens to be a marketing consultant once told me that one of the most important things to being a consultant is being likeable. The same goes for people going to job interviews: likeability is key. When you write a blog, your personality comes out in the writing and you can’t help it. This is a good thing, it shows people that you’re human and gives them the opportunity to like you (or not). Try to achieve this from a CV alone and I promise you’ll have a very hard time (maybe try mailing them with $100 bills attached?).
3. Get found
I’m talking about SEO. Search engines generally like dynamic websites where the new content is available on a regular basis. If you can regularly create new and relevant content, the search engines will see you as an authority in your field – and if the search engines see you as an authority, potential clients will too. It’s great that you have a website that lists your services, but to take full advantage of the web, you need to get page rank and to do that, you need to regularly create new relevant content. A blog is a great outlet for your stream of new content and if you do it right, it will gradually build your ranking in the search engines and more potential clients will find you. There’s just one rule, the content you write has to be relevant to what you do.
In my personal experience, my blog has brought the best clients that I have ever had. There is tremendous value in a client that has found you and not the other way around. The client that found you is someone who searched for exactly what they wanted and decided themselves that you best fit their needs. Compare that client with the one who’s door you knocked on, who’s arm you had to twist, whom you had to convince that you fit their needs. Here’s a concrete example of how my blog has benefited me. Last year I worked on a project involving the Zynq FPGA from Xilinx. The Zynq being relatively new, I was learning a lot about it at the time and so I shared the experiences on my blog. It didn’t take long until I was contacted by another company who consequently gave me another Zynq project. They searched for people with experience on the Zynq and they found me, only because I took the time to share what I was learning on my blog.
Spend some time on it and you’ll be surprised the benefits you can get out of it. I hope I’ve twisted your arm.