Sharing your expertise is almost as important as gaining this expertise. Popular tech bloggers have a pipeline of companies and individuals reaching out to them. This creates brilliant career opportunities — tech bloggers get dream job offers and consulting contracts more often than “silent” techies. Many people are aware of it but simply don’t know what to start with and how to allocate the time. In this article, I will share some best practices that we use at Mad Devs to encourage blog post authoring and public speaking.
If your idea is not documented, you will forget about it in a week or two. Create a task description for yourself, put it on the tool that you use for work quite often (you can start with a task tracking software, i.e. Atlassian JIRA, and then switch to Google Docs, Notion, or any other popular text editor). Allocate some time for it or set a calendar reminder if you cannot start working on your blog post immediately. Set a deadline for when you want to have your blog post live on the website.
At first, your topic might be very wide and vague (let’s say, you want to blog about the best practices for quality assurance). The opposite is also possible — you might want to write about a particular obstacle you have run into while doing your job. In both cases, it is important to research things and have a look at the existing articles on the desired topic. You will discover gaps to fill and find some good articles to refer to. Anyway, in most cases, you will not be the first to tackle a problem. To prove your expertise, you will need to demonstrate knowledge and awareness of other authors’ works. You might want to argue with your fellow authors or agree with them quoting their blogs or recommending them. This will help you to come up with the exact topic you are going to cover. I.e., instead of “best practices for QA” you will decide on “when auto-testing is not good and why”, which will narrow your focus down to a particular problem.
For example, Mad Devs CTO Andrew Minkin wrote about how he had spent about 14 hours to realize running GeoDjango on Elasticbeanstalk container using Python 3.6.
Once the main problem is clear to you, start work on a plan. Your goal is to lead your reader to a solution you can recommend to them. (You might also refer to other people’s solutions and opinions, however, it is super important to share your own way out, workaround, tool, or a combination of tools and approaches. People need to see your contribution.) Outline what you are going to tell. Every paragraph should have a clear name included in the outline.
For example, the below article told us when to build our own solution for implementing Audio/Video Calls using WebRTC from scratch, when to use open source alternatives and when to order a custom solution from a third-party vendor.
If you are not a native speaker of English and have doubts about writing in it, you might start blogging using your mother tongue. It will let you focus on the content and structure of your blog post. It might be easier for you to translate them using DeepL, Google Translate, or other SaaS services for automated translation. It doesn’t mean that you may fully rely on them. In many cases, automated translation ends in distorted facts and vague messaging. Allocate some time for fact-checking. Use backward translation to make sure that native speakers of English will get you right. You might also want to hire proofreaders, and scribendi.com might be a good solution for easy and inexpensive proofreading.
Modern copywriters and bloggers use special tools to improve the clarity of their text, detect typos, and overly complicated sentences. Hemingway Editor will help you avoid wordiness. Getting rid of large and unclear phrases is especially important when you describe tech solutions. If you cover complicated things, it’s better to use simple language.
To pick the most attractive title for your article, you may use CoShedule or another headline analyzer. Do not underestimate the power of the right title — most of your readers are pressed for time. They simply scan headlines until they find something really outstanding. Research popular questions on StackOverflow and Quora — they might already contain something close to your future title. You can also do quick keyword research to see which word combinations are more popular. This part of work might look boring and unimportant to tech-minded people, but this can increase the visibility of your blog post 2x or even 10x. Your goal is not just to describe your experience, you really want to make the most of your time and effort — so don’t neglect SEO stuff and keep an eye on what’s hot in the industry. Tag your blog post with relevant categories to help your readers to navigate through your blog.
Even if you are a seasoned professional, you cannot be an expert in everything. Code review is a good practice when it’s properly done. Why not have an extra pair of eyes to also check your blog posts before publication? If you have highly skilled professionals in your company, reach out to them for help. Together you’ll find loose points, which will help you avoid a lot of trolling from your competitors. If you have a group of reviewers, it will be even better — a team is normally smarter than a person. If your company has a group of copywriters or editors responsible for the quality of content, let them do their job, too.
Publish your blog post and make sure that you also share it around the right way. First, put it on your own social media accounts to have your colleagues and partners comment on it. Second, try to distribute it not just on your website — many tech outlets are in search of good content, try pitch your blog post to them, or simply register a guest account. Think of starting a series.
If your post is well-received, think of a blog post series (if not — try to find out what prevented it from being a success). Make a plan for article 1, article 2, etc. A series will expand your footprint and attract more readers. People like things to be continued — they will be more likely to add your blog to their bookmarks if you announce further blog posts in advance and will stay committed to your “roadmap” for future blog posts. Don’t get disappointed if your first effort will bring you less than you expected — experienced bloggers say that one needs 60–80 articles and around 6 months of hard work before your effort converts into real success. So start series one, series two and series three to become an expert in your desired field and try various content distribution channels.
After a while, you will find that the outcome from blogging has made a difference — you will get new connections, opportunities, and new topics for your blog, too. Have a happy start as a tech blogger, it’s never too early or too late!
Previously published at maddevs.io.