A month ago, when I wrote about blogging, most of you probably thought, sounds interesting but, nah, I have nothing to say.
When you go on an interview, you are asked plenty of questions. Your replies serve two functions: it shows your technical skills and reveals if you will fit in with the organization (or at least with the person hiring you). Blogging is merely a way to demonstrate both without the pressure of doing it in real-time. It’s kinda like talking about work at a party or family gathering and, for the most part, the same rules apply. In a formal interview, I would never use the word, “kinda.” In blogging- it’s okie-dokie. (Yeah, that phrase would also not appear in my annual report to the C-Suite.) Blogging is all about style. Therefore, there are very few hard rules. It is more a world of suggestions.
(1) Keep it short. About 600 words. Once you have a following, 1,000-1,100 words. This trains you to focus on your message and avoid falling (or diving into) rabbit holes. If you cannot contain the blog to 500 words, break it into a two- or three-part blog.
(2) Focus on the title. Use a number in your blog title. “4 Takeaways from the new CSA Regulation. “10 Ways to Optimize Loss Investigations.” It sets mile markers for the reader. It gives permission to skip to the next point rather than walking away from the blog. Use humor in your title. “The Good, The Bad and The OSHA.” Your readers are using your blog for a diversion from what they are supposed to be doing. Make it fun.
(3) Avoid controversy. A controversial statement may win one person over, but it may come at offending your next employer’s screener. I recently had the cover story of CLM Magazine reviewing the 2021-2022 U.S, Supreme Court session. The Court’s big decisions involved abortion and gun rights. My review focused on how the overall term would impact the claims and risk management industry. Neither of these major decisions affected the industry, so I was able to very successfully avoid the controversy. It made the difference between getting the cover story versus having the article rejected.
(4) Have someone read your blog before posting it. This blog was reviewed by the members of the PSGCNJ board. Not only will your test audience catch the spelling and serious grammar mistakes, they can tell you whether your posting made a point or was just a string of words. I am amazed at how many times I explain something and then forget to put the “closing” sentence to the thought.
(5) Keep it positive. You can criticize something, but do it professionally. There is a difference between, “Can you believe how stupid these people are?” and “I don’t believe the decision will be affirmed on appeal.” No one likes a whiner. A professional blog that is negative will hold you in the worst light with a potential employer, not the best light.
(6) Don’t try to write the perfect blog the first time. My first drafts usually run 1,500 words. I then cut sentences and paragraphs that are repetitive or stray from the central message.
(7) Post your blog on LinkedIn. When I first started blogging, I set up my own website. Big mistake. If you are monetizing your blog, you want your own website. If you want your next employer to see your blog post it on LinkedIn. When you post on LinkedIn, your entire community sees the blog. When someone gives you a thumbs up, everyone in their community sees the blog. BTW, when someone gives you a thumbs up, thank them. When someone makes a comment about the blog, acknowledge it and try to turn it into a public discussion.
(8) Try to end your blog with a question. Encourage a public conversation. It keeps your name in the public in a positive fashion.
So there’s my blog. How many rules did I follow while teaching you how to blog? (Yeah, I know I just did Rule #8.)
About The Author:
Jeff Marshall is a senior-risk management and claims management professional. His roles have included claims manager for Mars, Incorporated, director of risk management for the School District of Philadelphia, deputy director of risk management for the State of New Jersey, and senior trial counsel/section manager for in-house counsel of a major workers compensation insurance company. Jeff is a widely-published authority on risk and claims issues including, the cover story of Claims Litigation Management (CLM) Magazine’s July 2022 issue ( The U.S. Supreme Court Decisions that could affect insurers) and presents on the national Claims and Risk Management stage including his October 2022 Ted Talk-style presentation at the national ClaimsXChange conference on reducing and eliminating opioids in workers’ compensation claims. Jeff’s original participation with the PSGCNJ was in 2015.