Many articles on blogging tout benefits like increased website traffic, corporate branding, product marketing, increased revenue, and even self-expression. However, there are many other less obvious reasons you should blog. I have listed nine of them below. I'd like to hear your thoughts. Post comments below and tell me what less obvious benefits you have experienced. Here is my list:

1. Thorough understanding
I have listed this benefit first because I feel it is the most important benefit I have experienced. We have all heard it said that, if you really want to understand something, teach it to others. As with teaching, blogging forces you to think and express your thoughts in a simple and organized manner. Blogging helps refine your thoughts and forces you to thoroughly understand your subject matter and your point of view.

2. Greater awareness
Blogging well means having something interesting, noteworthy, or educational to say. In order to keep fresh ideas flowing you will likely develop a habit of paying closer attention to what is occurring around you. You will listen to conversations more intently, you'll watch TV differently, and you'll read articles differently, you will always be looking for something to which you can add value by relating the subject matter to your own specialized field of knowledge. You will find this to be an excellent source of new ideas in your professional life as well.

3. Deep thinking
Surprisingly, although we live in a knowledge worker society, deep thinking is still rare. Many people still come to the office and go about their daily tasks without thinking deeply about anything. It is easy to become a creature of habit and just go about our daily routines. Writing a good blog entry requires you think deeply. You must consider other points of view and how you will defend your point of view when it is questioned. In the end, you will be better versed in your topic than you were before you wrote the blog entry.

4. Original thoughts
Original thoughts are even rarer than deep thinking. A lot of what we know we have acquired from our surroundings. If you force yourself to blog regularly and blog well, you are more likely to foster original thoughts as a result of the greater awareness and deep thinking that comes with the territory.

5. New relationships
Putting yourself out there for the world to read can be a bit intimidating. However, one of the benefits of doing so is discovering people like minded people. While not all people will share your opinions, most are open to dialog. If you make yourself accessible, new relationships can be fostered.

6. New opportunities
As a follow-on to number six, with new relationships come opportunities. We all know that we are more likely to do business with people we know. Discovering new relationships sometimes results in new opportunities.

7. Keep up with Internet innovations
I have stated in previous blogs that at the rate the Internet is evolving, if you are not making a concerted effort to stay up-to-date, you are likely falling behind. New online tools and services are being released seemingly every day. Blogging will keep you in and around Internet innovations where you are more likely to stay abreast of what's new and what's coming.

8. Leadership
I have heard it said that real leaders share their knowledge because they want to make those around them better. We all have unique knowledge, backgrounds, experiences, personalities and points of view. Your opinion is unique and valuable. I encourage you to share it.

9. Personal branding
Everyone has a personal brand whether they know it or not. I have heard it said that your brand is the assumption people make about you before you walk in the room. Blogging can help shape your brand. The content of your blogs can help you brand yourself as funny, sassy, intellectual, helpful, etc. Be careful, however. Your brand must be authentic or you will brand yourself as dishonest and manipulative. My suggestion here is just be who you are and put the readers needs above your own. Then, your brand will happen naturally.

What are some other less obvious benefits you have experienced? Do you agree/disagree with any I have listed? Sound off.