As an early stage startup, it’s not enough to promote your product into the market, you also have to promote your self, your business, expertise, and values, all of which may attract funding and new customers.
That’s why there’s a new initiative at Kinde, where everyone sets aside time each week to create content and share our expertise.
As a pro content creator, it’s a delightful green light for me to finish one of the 872 blogs I’ve started. But I could feel many of our developers wince when the idea was announced, and that’s perfectly understandable.
Creating anything from scratch is hard and starting with a blank page can be a trauma that takes us right back to exams at school. Here’s some practical techniques for getting started with blogs, that I’ve shared with my team. Maybe this will help you too.
Start with a simple listLink to this section
Instead of dreading the page, just write a list of what you did this week. Pick one of the more difficult things. Try to remember how you learned to do that thing. What are the concepts, the steps, the challenges? Are there easy ways and hard ways? Are there right ways and wrong ways? Faster ways and slower ways? Write some real world examples and scenarios.
Don’t stop now, you’ve got most of a blog.
You have specializations, a lot of knowledge, and you know your stuff. Instead of thinking “why would anyone read about widget-dancing”, remember that you didn’t always know about widget-dancing either.
Choose from a big list (or ask someone else to)Link to this section
In a wild contradiction to the blank page dread, comes the opposite horror of “too many ideas to choose from.” If your ideas are more like a lengthy Arya Stark hit list, you might need to pluck one or two ideas out, and slaughter everything else in another blog. But how do you choose?
Try this. Shut your eyes and just point to something on your list. If you like where your finger landed, start a new page with just that as a topic and don’t look back. If you don’t like where your finger landed, cross it off, shut your eyes and try again. Keep going until something appeals to you. This is how to trick your brain into choosing what you want.
If you truly have decision paralysis, ask someone else to pick for you. Just make sure you commit to writing about the topic they choose. This technique removes the choice (therefore removes the paralysis).
Follow the formula of threeLink to this section
If you find yourself waffling on or unable to stretch a point, think of the writing rule of three. Our brains seem to love things in threes, so develop content with this rule in mind: three main points, three examples, three sections, three ways to do something, three challenges of, etc.
If you are a methodical type person, this sets a boundary around the topic and gives you small goals to reach as you write. It can feel like you have better control when writing to a formula.
Say it, then write itLink to this section
Tear the blank page up and find a microphone. Record audio of yourself talking casually about a topic. You can even write a set of questions for yourself to answer. Don’t worry too much about the structure or how you talk, just explain like you would to a colleague. Then get AI or some bot to transcribe for you. Then shape and edit the text. Voila!
Make up a problem and solve itLink to this section
Pretend someone is having a problem with the thing you are trying to write about - how do you help them? You can even write a fake question, like: What advice would I give people who don’t know how to start writing blogs? Then just answer the question.
Pair writingLink to this section
Why not take advantage of your equally brilliant colleagues and write as a team. Pair writing is a fun, chaotic collaboration that can help progress ideas and content really fast.
- Agree on an idea and an approach
- Set aside a time and work together in the same doc (pref on a call) - 30 - 45 mins max
- Keep discussion minimal (save that for later)
- Assess how far you get in one session and possibly have more sessions
- Then do pair editing.
Ask for feedback. Always.Link to this section
There’s nothing better for your work - no matter how experienced a writer you are - than a second opinion. Fresh eyes see patterns, holes, ideas, strengths, weaknesses, inconsistencies, and a whole lot more.
Seek feedback at any stage - blank page or finished product - it will always help. I guarantee it.
Last stop, AILink to this section
Yes. Of course. There’s always ChatGPT or other AI tools to help get you started or give you inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you do still have to come up with an idea and feed it suggestions for improvement. Also be sure if you go the AI route that you check all the facts, review how it’s written (does it even sound like you?), and change it enough to not be indexed and ignored as AI content by search engines (yes, this is becoming the norm).
Blogging isn’t the only way to create content. But it is still one of the most shared forms of content in business and professional communities. You might be more suited to creating videos, but that comes with its own challenges - there’s a blog coming about that too.