At eimagine, we want everyone on our team to feel comfortable writing blog posts to be published on our corporate website. So this post is for you, the teammate at eimagine, who may have written one or two posts or maybe hasn’t written one at all.
If you have any technical questions about how to use our platform to log in, write, edit, use the various plug ins, etc. feel free to contact any member on the Social Media Team or email [email protected] for documentation or a walkthrough. We’re happy to help. But for us technical types, this is hardly the hurdle which trips us up the most.
The biggest blocker for most people is determining what to write about. Another big blocker is being able to find your voice. Both of these take practice to sort out.
What do I write about? At eimagine, we normally divide blogs into two types, technical or non-technical. Technical blogs are those that are related directly or closely to your profession. Normally for developers some code snippets are included, but not always. Project managers tend to write about aspects of the job that require technical expertise.
Non-technical blogs are normally unrelated to your profession but something that has impacted you in some way, either professionally or personally. Let’s consider ideas for non-technical blogs first.
What books have you read lately? Are there any other blog posts someone’s posted that you either agree or disagree with or would like to add to? Is there someone that you feel you owe a debt of gratitude to? Is there a mentor that you admire? Do you have an interesting hobby you’d like to share? Is there a current event you would like to explore? Did you find an interesting list on Wikipedia?
It is best to avoid topics that involve religion, and politics. If you chose to write about what someone else has written a blog post you disagree with, it’s best to keep things very civil and non-judgmental, but the list for ideas is pretty open-ended. Feel free to bounce your ideas off the Social Media Team.
Technical blogs come in many shapes and sizes and this works for non-technical blogs, too. Here’s a partial list to whet your appetite:
- Pro and con list for a given technology, pattern, or idea. For instance, what might be some points of comparison between MySql and Sql Server?
- Top X list. This could be either things you like or dislike. For instance, your Top 10 things you learned in gaining your PMP certification or the Top 5 things you regret about not having read Code Complete sooner.
- How to. This is probably one of the more common but most problematic to write. What I normally do is when I come across an interesting problem I make a note and document how I solved it. As a professional this should happen fairly often. Keep a file. Not every idea will become a blog but some will.
The best thing you can do when it comes to searching for ideas is to make it a habit to notice them when they arrive. Have a systematic way to jot ideas down, whether it’s on a notepad, phone app, or whatever. When you’re feeling more creative, review your list.
So now you know what to write about. How do you write it?
- Consider who your audience is. Who do you want to write to? Just because your blog post can be read by everyone doesn’t mean it has to be written for everyone. Does your audience need much background information or can you get straight to the point?
- Consider what your audience knows and what you want them to get out of your writing. Think of your blog post as a map from where your audience is to where you want them to be. This should help you narrow down what you want to bring across and help you remove that extra fluff that only gets in the way.
- Outline your post based on those first and second points. Create a skeleton for your post you can hang some meat on. This will keep you focused and directed and following the direction you set for yourself.
- Try to write in small, edible chunks where you can. Don’t write walls of text. Break out your thoughts into paragraphs of a few sentences each. Judicious use white-space will make your text appear more visually appealing and inviting.
- Read what you’ve written out loud to yourself. It’s hard for us to find our own mistakes and reading out-loud is a good way to catch what will go by unnoticed when reading silently. Reading aloud will also highlight sentence constructions that may not seem awkward to you until you hear them with your ears instead of your inner-voice.
- Have a trusted friend or coworker give your post a once-over. Have them check for grammar, spelling, and factual errors. As I noted earlier, it’s always easier to spot someone else’s mistakes than your own. Take advantage of that.
If you feel your writing skills need some work, don’t let that be a hindrance to writing blog posts. This is exactly the exercise you need.
I hope this helps you to find your inner writer. You will find out things about yourself you didn’t know and sharpen your skills by revisiting past problems and their solutions. You may even find yourself referencing your own posts when you come across another problem in the future.
And, as always, your Social Media Team is ready and willing to help every step of the way.