How blogs make us leaders

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I’d like to write and talk to all of you this week about a topic that I think about fairly often, particularly as I read my favorite blogs and then again when we have discussions about leadership. The main point here being, how do blogs make leaders out of ordinary people in unexpected ways?

I read several blogs, typically about interior design and travel, two of my biggest interests. I’ve noticed that some of the blogs I read reference back to others fairly frequently, citing ordinary people as leaders in a particular niche or field. What’s so fascinating to me is that just a few years ago, a lot of the people that write blogs like this one, Young House Love, were actually employed in other fields and have since made blogging their full-time job, devoting much of their time and resources to it.

I realize that the blogs I’m pinpointing here aren’t exactly journalistic or heavy in any way. However, they are well organized, well-written, and, most importantly, extremely impactful in a certain field. The authors of Young House Love used to work in advertising as a copy writer and account executive respectively. When they moved to Virginia from New York City and the wife started working from home, their blog started gaining momentum as she had more time to devote to it and build a community among their readers.

After being featured on a wide variety of other significant home improvement, do-it-yourself, and interior design blogs (like this one), Young House Love became a hub of knowledge on home improvement and the husband quit his own, secure full-time position at an ad agency to work full-time alongside his wife on the blog!

I think we can learn a lot from this blog and others like it. Here are a few key points that I’ve gleaned from reading their blog for the past two years:

  • Organization develops strong leadership skills. The Petersiks write the blog, edit their own posts, respond to comments, shoot/edit videos, and are even writing a book all while raising a baby girl and a chihuahua! They’ve got a lot on their plate, but because they stay organized, they’re able to establish a certain posting and commenting schedule and stay accessible to their readers.
  • Leaders learn and lead by trial and error. One of the biggest reasons I think this blog is popular in this niche is that the authors are so open about their triumphs and mistakes. When one of their ideas works, they share step-by-step how they installed their own dishwasher or how they successfully remodeled their kitchen. Then, if one of their ideas fails, they share those details, too. Their forthcoming attitude is not only endearing, but also honest and truly helpful.
  • Communication and a sense of community can do wonders! People look to this couple to answer their own home improvement/DIY/interior design questions because they know they’ll be honest with them and because they’re accessible. The comment section on their blog is its own mini-online community and their Facebook page is a place where ideas can be exchanged in a free and safe way.

I think it’s vital to recognize the power of the Internet and blogging to build community and create leaders out of all of us. Sometimes leaders come from the most unexpected places and don’t expect to become leaders. When they do, though, and fully embrace their new role, then they can have a real and lasting impact in whatever community, niche, or organization they find themselves. Here’s one example of how they “lead” their readers–DIY home videos with their personalities shown throughout! I think it’s just another of the reasons people trust them so much.

So here’s a question for all of you: are there any blogs you read daily in which the authors are recognized as leaders in their field? Are they the same kind of unexpected bloggers as the Petersiks? Blogging can lead to some truly fascinating jobs/leadership roles!