Someone just starting out as a cosmetic scientist has asked me if they should start a beauty blog. They have been told that they should be careful. What should they do?
So should write a beauty blog if you are a cosmetic chemist?
Well for a start, being careful is definitely good advice. Everything that is put online can stay there for a very long time. You can get yourself into trouble if you write stuff that is commercially sensitive – or can be perceived as commercially sensitive. The company that pays your wages doesn’t do it for you to reveal their secrets to the rest of the world. You can also write stuff that doesn’t do you any favours – if you get something wrong for example. There seems to be an army of people out there just waiting to swoop on a factual inaccuracy.
But having said that there are plenty of good reasons that writing a blog is a great idea. Sure you have to be careful, but you always have to be careful. Here are a few of the benefits.
1. A ready made CV. If you document your progress on your blog, that is going to give anyone who might want to work with you in the future a really good idea of whether you are what they are looking for.
2. Contacts. A blog is a great way to get to know people who share your interests, people you might otherwise know nothing about.
3. Develop your understanding. Einstein said if you couldn’t explain something to a six year old, you don’t understand it. What he didn’t say which is equally true, is that trying to explain something to someone else is a really great way of getting to understand it yourself.
4. Memory jog. I find I often refer back to my blog posts to remind myself of stuff I have forgotten. I have even googled something, and read one of my own posts without at first realising that it was me that wrote it. Not everyone is as forgetful as me, but most of us can use some help sometimes.
5. Raise your profile. If you are lucky enough to get a bit of a readership you will probably be as surprised as I am by how many people notice. It is always helpful if people know your name.
6. Improve your writing. Regularly putting words together is a great training for improving your writing style. Anyone wondering when that is going to kick in with my writing style, all I can say is that if you think this is bad you should try reading what I used to write.
In the end, writing a blog isn’t so very different to other things you might do. The best way to learn is to do it. You won’t get everything right. but if you work at it with diligence and above all persistence it is a skill that is well worth mastering. And remember there are 3 billion people online. There are plenty of readers out there. Some of them will love what you do.