Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Corporate Blogging Offers a New Job Opportunity for English Majors

“What are you going to do with a BA in English?” If you’re an English major or any other Arts and Humanities major, you’ve probably heard that question a million times. If you’re more concentrated in the sciences, you might have asked someone that or wondered it yourself. While it may be true that a liberal arts majors don’t exactly lend themselves to a concrete post graduation plan, they do offer flexibility in the job market. Now, with the increase of blogging by various companies and corporations, English majors can find a whole new realm of job opportunities. 

Blogging Has Changed Over Time

The Weblog Handbook Cover
Photo Credit:
When blogging began, it was just a way to hyperlink to helpful information. In The Weblog Handbook, professional blogger, Rebecca Blood, details the rise of blogging and its original purposes. She explains that blogs formerly served the purpose of filtering information and linking to other useful websites (8).  They have certainly grown a lot since then. Blogs now serve as a form of self-expression, a way of keeping in touch, a place for information sharing, and an opportunity for reputation building (Blood 12). 
As a result of this change, many companies are now looking to incorporate blogs into their own websites. 

These corporate blogs become a way of keeping in touch with consumers and expanding the company’s online presence. Mark Schaefer, the Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, sees blogs as a powerful way for companies to promote brand presence in the online world. In his article “The Top Ten Best Corporate Blogs in the World,” Schaefer lists his favorites and then dissects what makes them so successful. 

For example, Mark believes the grocery store chain, Wegman’s, runs a successful company blog. Mr. Schaefer explains:
"The company has managed to attract a loyal and engaged audience through posts from president Danny Wegman and other store employees on ideas for entertaining at home, recipes and nutrition. I saw one post where the deli chef was responding to questions by telling customers which aisle to find ingredients for some tasty muffins. I love the fun, down-home and authentic engagement on this site!"

Essentially, Mr. Schaefer believes that company blogs should focus on their particular audience and reach out to them as a means of expanding their brand. But who is going to write these blogs? That’s where the English major comes in! 

University of Maryland and Other Academic Institutions Now Offer New Classes in Blogging 

At the University of Maryland College Park, one Associate English professor strives to prepare students for this future career opportunity. Dr. Marilee Lindemann educates future bloggers in her class, ENGL488B: Writing for the Blogosphere: Prehistory, Theory, Practice. 

Dr. Lindemann came up with the idea for the class after spending a few years writing her own blog. She saw the potential for an advanced writing course focused on blogging in addition to a way of examining new media as she explained to me in an interview: 

While this course may seem unique to the University of Maryland, other campuses are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Montana State University now offers a class about blogging specifically on Wordpress, a popular blogging platform. This class realizes not only the importance of writing on a blog but also the importance of layout and graphics. 

In an effort to merge the worlds of blogging with Journalism, Syracuse University now offers a Blogging 101 class as well. The class hopes to examine how journalists can utilize blogging in the field as a means of reaching out to readers. Blogging doesn't just affect journalists; it affects other fields as well. Going back to the idea of a company blog, PR majors are seeking to learn more about the effects of blogging and social media. One class at St. Edward's University now runs its own class blog about the topic.

All of these classes acknowledge the fact that blogging offers an easy way to improve your writing. Laura Cathcart, a doctoral student enrolled in ENGL488B, believes that this class has made writing easier and more natural for her as she expressed to me after class:

Jess Esteves, a senior English and Theatre Major sees the potential for using the skills learned in ENGL488B as a part of her post graduation plan:

English Majors Play a Pivotal Role in Successful Corporate Blogging. 

Classes such as ENGL488B and similar ones at other universities provide the key foundations for creating a successful blog. Blogging is a blend of pictures, links, and videos, but the most important element is writing skills. Style, a distinct voice, and a well written post are all markings of a successful entry.

Northeastern University and Backbone Media recently partnered in order to research what makes a successful corporate blog. They studied such companies as Adobe, Microsoft, Stone Creek Coffee, and more. They've outlined what makes a blog successful:
Elements of a Successful Blog
Photo Credit: ScoutBlogging.Com
A large part of the outline includes skills that English Majors encounter on a daily basis. Writing papers requires strategic planning just like blog posts. Critical thinking skills come in handy when reading other blogs. Writing quickly becomes a hobby and habit for English Majors, so writing often for success is not a problem. Clearly, English Majors are some of the best candidates for running and maintaining corporate blogs as their skills make them well prepared.

Based on this growing trend, answering the question “What are you going to do with a BA in English?” just became a whole lot easier. 


  1. This blog post was so informative and is so highly relevant to today. It was really cohesive and easy to follow. The titles were very explanatory too which made things easier to understand. The video of your professor also gave a lot more insight about the future of blogging, overall a great post!

  2. This was a really interesting and informational article to read. You had a lot of good citations for your material and made a great effort to keep the reader engaged through examples that people could relate to, such as the Wegman’s example. The video interview had a lot of great information and I think she was the perfect resource for an article such as this. The only things I saw that would need work in the video was the lighting (the light from the window behind the interviewee) and the positioning of the subject (Dr. Lindemann could have been a little more to the right). The audio interviews were also really well done. I liked Jess Esteves interview and her statement of making herself a “brand” through the use of blogs and social networks, this is true for actors as it is their personality that they are marketing for the masses.

    This overall is a really great post. You started your post with a question, and through the use of media and supporting materials, confidently answered your question by saying that English majors have more options for future jobs. This post changed my view of English majors by showing how growing trends in technology are opening new doors for writing and literature.