Apparently there's only one reason to write a blog – to build a 'platform', which you can then convert to customers to buy your 'product'.
Aside from the fact that anyone who thinks of their potential readership in those terms doesn't deserve anyone's time or money, thinking of your blog in terms of 'platform' is a little like obsessing about how to get published before you've learned to write.
So before you start putting the cart before the horse - or worse, giving it up before you even start - here are five reasons to write a blog even if no one else ever reads it.
Having to produce something of quality regularly can be quite a challenge, but it's an excellent habit for a writer to form. Whether you blog daily, weekly or monthly blogging requires discipline to compel yourself to do it – and that discipline rubs off elsewhere.
'But I already produce 5000 words a day. I don't need more discipline' says the failing writer. Ok, but there's a big difference between producing 5000 words of drivel no-one is ever going to read and a taut 500 words that will be published online and possibly read by everyone.
You're only as good as your last piece of writing.
Regular blogging instils the need to keep producing consistently readable stuff, and with that need you are compelled to develop skills that improve consistency: style and voice, the ability to make the mundane interesting, the obvious less so – all of which is useful wherever and whatever you write.
Once you start publishing blog-posts for others to read, you start caring about your readers – what they want, what they like, what interests them and what they respond to. You start to realise that your headline not only needs to be attention grabbing, but that it also needs to indicate the content of the post. You start to understand that writing isn't about pontificating about what you think you know, but about what you can say and how you can say it in such a way that your readership actually gives a shit.
And how the hell to you know when you're starting to succeed at all these things? When people start (and keep) reading what you're saying.
Probably one of the most useful things about having to find something to write about regularly is that you learn to germinate ideas rapidly and repeatedly. This coupled with the skills outlined in point 2 means that everything starts to become potential subject-matter. It can seem daunting to have to come up with post ideas all the time, but for a writer to be in the position where she doesn't know what to write about it or how to write about it is never a good thing – regular blogging helps you get over that.
There's nothing like realising how little you understand something the moment you try and explain it to someone else. There's nothing like realising how badly formed your ideas are when you start to articulate them in writing - you learn to smarten your ideas up pretty quick. Blogging doesn't mean you have to be the authority in the area you blog about – you can use it as an opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in a subject you'd like to understand more about. You want to know about early nineteenth century armadillo racing? Then do some prep and write a blog-post about it – and do it in such a way that's interesting and compelling.
Isn't that exactly what writing is all about?