5 steps to get started -- and keep blogging
Great question! It’s been a winding path to get here, but here’s what’s working for me. :)
Step 1: Start with your what: what’s motivating you to write?
Ever since I started my consulting business in 2015, all I’ve heard from everyone is that you need a blog for SEO that will drive business to your website. But I don't find that as motivating...
It wasn’t until October 2019 that I found what motivates me to write a blog post: eliminating meetings that could have been an email. :)
Because i don't write for SEO, how did you find this blog post? Did I share the link with you? :)
Step 2: Then the how: how does this work in practice?
Step 2a: Picking Topics
As a mentor, advisor and consultant, I’m always asked to “jump on a call”. Unless I’m having a 20-minute virtual coffee to catch-up, I ask for a meeting agenda or set of questions to be discussed. No agenda/questions, no meeting.
Ahead of the call, I prepare a draft answering questions, then discuss my input on the call, and take notes.
Next time I get asked to cover the same topics on a call, I write-up the key points, takeaways and recommendations in a blog post – and share it, instead of scheduling the meeting (!).
Step 2b: Drafting Process
I start with the end goal: what problem is my blog post trying to answer?
In my case, I try to help my audience:
understand the nuances/trade-offs of an ask, to help make the best decision for them, or
take the next smallest step on a topic with a steep learning curve, that will get them closer to a solution to their problem, or
lean about "best practices" from my many lessons learned (usually the hard way!).
I then draft my blog post in a Google doc, and share it with a close friend for input, before it goes live.
Step 2c: Blog Frequency
With the aim of quality over quantity – and not SEO -- my goal is to publish 1 blog post a month.
Step 3: Find your Style
It’s taken me a while to find my style. I aim for scannable, short form with takeaways, typically bulleted.
Step 4: Finding your First Topic
What motivated me to finally write my first blog post (Breaking into your First Data Role: Tips to Tackling the Cold Start Problem) in October 2019, is that it was the most frequently asked question I got from the audience every time I attended a (virtual) event or gave a talk – and I already had a canned answer.
What is the #1 question you get asked about?
Step 5: How to Keep Going
Remember: No blog post is set in stone. As my answers to published blog posts evolved over time – I edit the blog post.
Whenever I’m asked a thought-provoking question, play devil’s advocate, or start thinking about my point-of-view on a topic, I quickly jot down my key ideas/thoughts – and add it to the backlog of blog topics to choose from. I pick one per month that I expand on -- and publish.
Over time, I’ve seemed to settle into 4 types of advice I share:
Advice for data professionals around breaking in, developing data products and putting them into production
Advice for founders around getting started on the start-up and product journey, developing data-driven products and iterating on product-market-fit
Advice for consultants on getting started
Advice for leaders around hiring, 1-1s, compliance and product management that’s tied to business objectives and impact
What’s motivating you to write your blog posts?
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Write Well by Julian Shapiro, recommended by Michael Kaminsky