This guest post by Jovell Alingod is #5 of 28 daily prize contests. Read to the end for your chance to win!
Labelling yourself a professional is an act many bloggers for hire won’t immediately embrace.
Mind-chatter like “I don’t have enough writing samples” or “my posts don’t get a lot of engagement” fuels a bloggers’ belief that you can’t —or worse, mustn’t— call yourself a pro.
But what does being a professional blogger really mean?
Do you need to have written X number of articles before you can call yourself a pro blogger?
To answer these questions, let’s dig into the habits and characteristics of well-known professional bloggers, and compare them to your own distinguishing traits.
What Do the Pros Do?
Thesaurus.com tells me the synonyms of the word “professional” include skilled, trained, competent, efficient, proficient, learned and experienced.
Research by a global executive search and assessment firm called Russell Reynolds Associate analyzed what differentiates top CEOs and qualifies them to be called pros and be the leaders of the pack. Their key findings were summarized in 9 attributes:
- Willingness to take calculated risks
- Bias toward execution
- Ability to efficiently “read” people
- Forward thinking
- Intrepid (the ability to perform effectively in complex and difficult environments)
- Team building (the ability to achieve success through others)
- Strategic yet tactical
- Tough yet emotionally sensitive
- Decisive yet inclusive
Aside from having common executive skills like good communication skills, initiative, and accountability, these top CEOs —the most pro of all pros, if you like— manifested traits that allowed them to conquer what Steven Pressfield, in his book Turning Pro, called resistance (fear, self-doubt, or self-sabotage).
In a nutshell, they chose to develop these mindsets and habits because they were determined to succeed. They chose to block out all distractions that could sway them to give up their goal of being learned, proficient, and competent in their industry.
You and What You Do
“Those are CEOs and they may have gotten a lot of training to accomplish that,” you might say [or insert your preferred self-limiting statement here].
Okay, I hear you.
But answer these blogger-specific questions first:
- Are you specializing in blogging for a specific niche?
- Can you write fast or are you practicing to write faster?
- Do you do what you can to drive traffic and engagement to your posts?
If you answered yes to any of these then you have my permission to call yourself a professional blogger now.
Because you’re officially doing what professional bloggers, and professionals in general, do.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at these 3 top bloggers:
Carol is a Seattle-based freelance writer and I gather she doesn’t have a journalism degree. But she didn’t allow this lack of credentials to stop her from pursuing blogging and writing gigs with top business websites like Forbes and Entrepreneur.
As she’s had experience writing about business in print media, she specializes in blogging about business topics. Specializing and consistently writing about a particular topic gears you to becoming an expert in that field. In other words, you become an industry pro.
Daphne has had her share of working for corporate print publications. This experience made it quite easy for her to transition from managing print articles to working online as an editor. But however related writing and editing might be, Daphne found writing to be more tedious than editing when she was a newbie.
In this post, she admits she previously considered writing a hard task. But through dedication, practice, and using proven techniques, she won the battle against writer’s block and is now able to write fast all the time. She’s even coaching other writers about it now. Do you have the same commitment to become better (and faster) at writing for the web? If so, then you’re a pro.
Kristi started out as a hobby blogger. She wasn’t blogging to get writing jobs. She was blogging for fun. In fact, she liked joining blog contests. Eventually someone noticed her writing skills and she got her first paid gig. Her desire to win in blog contests helped Kristi develop strategies to promote her blog content to reach as many readers as possible. This strategic and tactical approach helped her win those contests and is still helping her now when she promotes her posts.
As a writer, she knows it’s heartbreaking when nobody seems to be reading the piece you’ve poured your heart, mind and energy into. So the answer to that is to promote the heck out of it. If you’re a smart marketer like Kristi, who after writing a post continuously pursues blog post promotion methods, then you’re a true pro. You know that great article you’ve written deserves to be read, you just need to make it as visible as possible.
Are You a Professional?
Having even one of the attributes I mentioned makes you a professional blogger.
Do you need any more convincing?
If so, when will you allow yourself to be called a professional?
Today is the best time. You know you deserve it!
Comment to Win a Blog Post Analysis
Too many writers worry that their blog posts aren’t good enough. It’s hard to know what clients and blog editors consider a professional standard, especially when they don’t always have time to explain it to you.
Today’s prize is a blog post analysis, normally worth $65. We’ll choose the winner at midnight (Pacific time) on December 25th, and Sophie will work through your blog post to give you feedback and advice on how you can make your blogging skills shine.
For your chance to win, leave a comment with a link to your post for review (if it’s unpublished, link to a publicly viewable online version of it such as a Google document or a PDF). You get a bonus point for every extra comment offering constructive criticism of the other entrants’ posts!
Image: david drexler