5 steps to get started -- and keep blogging

January 2022

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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