This is a very quick guide for anyone who wants to develop blogging as a hobby. After the video on hobby-building for MBA interviews, a lot of students asked for this guide. In this post, I'll share how anyone can start blogging free of cost and use it to showcase a unique skill-set during MBA interviews.
There are 5 steps in this guide:
I. Deciding on a Topic
Never start blogging without knowing what to write about. It is common for anyone to be confused in the beginning, so here is a suggestion on how you can narrow down the list of topics:
This is called Ikigai. For now you can leave "what you can get paid for" and use the other three factors to decide on a topic. Choose a topic that:
You are good at
and, The world needs
To understand this concept in detail, you can read this post. When you choose a topic that is a mix of these 3 factors, you are more likely to remain motivated throughout your blogging journey.
II. Setting Up a Blog
A lot of people are hesitant to start a blog because they don't want to invest in it. Let me give you a good news, you need not spend a single penny to start your own blog - you can do it for free!
Each blogging platform like WordPress or Wix offers a free version as well. All you need to do is to sign up. The free plan doesn't allow you to earn through ads but it doesn't restrict you from getting the traffic and I will prove that in the 4th step.
To set up a blog, first you need to choose a website hosting platform. The blog you're reading was made using Wix. You can choose any platform of your choice. I have shared some Wix Tutorials if you end up choosing Wix.
My suggestion would be to not spend too much time on the design of the blog. You can always change it over the course of time as your blog improves. Content comes first.
III. Writing Consistently
"If content is the king, then consistency is the key to his treasure" - over my 10 months of blogging experience, I've observed that if you write consistently on a topic with a set schedule, your chances of going viral increase. It shows credibility to your readers as well as search engines, which then promote your content organically.
There are 5 attributes of valuable content as per Google. It has to be:
useful and informative
better than existing content
If you have never written creatively in your life, I'd suggest to go through these 7 content writing tips. They will help you get started with writing in a structured way.
IV. Building an Audience
Most bloggers give up when they are unable to attract traffic to their blogs. Sharing your blog content with the "right audience" is the only way to sustain traffic.
Often bloggers initially promote content within family and close friends, but it soon disappears due to incorrect targeting. You need to understand where your blog audience might be looking for information.
Some unconventional sources can be Quora, Reddit, Twitter.
But, one of the sources that I particularly rely on is Google Discover. If you have no idea about Google Discover or how it works, I'd recommend starting from here.
And now, to tell you how a free website can also fetch a lot of traffic - this is an example of an IIM-A student's free WordPress blog that got featured on Google Discover a few months back.
You can read more about her blog feature here. The point being, you can still get noticed by Google, appear in search engine results and garner a huge amount of traffic despite a free blog. Nothing is stopping you.
V. Developing the Skill-Set
Now, coming to the main point. How can you use blogging as an added advantage during MBA interviews? Writing in itself is a skill but blogging requires more than just writing.
It develops persistence, ability to understand the psychology of your readers, skills of marketing and building credibility, an analytical mindset for your website traffic and a cult following which you can use to prove your knowledge in a particular domain.
In an earlier post on who gets into IIMs I had shared the importance of identifying that unique skill-set that you can add to the batch and bring value to the table.
By blogging on that unique topic, you can show the interviewers your level of knowledge, how consistently you've been reading and writing about it and how well you own your domain.
When I had appeared for my IIM Ahmedabad Interview, I had shared that I write on marketing, in fact in one of the interviews, I was also asked to show my answers on Quora.
So, you can use blogging as a proof of your abilities and nurture it as a hobby for MBA interviews.
Hope this post helps you get started with blogging. I you need any other piece of advice on this topic, you can visit Cursive Impact, which is another blog that I write on content writing and blogging. That might help.