I still remember my very first blog post. After it was finished I read it like 5 times before I finally dared to push the publish button. It’s certainly not the best blog I’ve written. But that doesn’t matter at all. That’s not the point. It was the start of a journey for me, the journey to build my online profile and become a contributing member of the information security community.
I often notice that people go through the same process. When talking with them, they tell me the same as I experienced back then. They want to contribute, but for different reasons they are reluctant do it.
Don't be afraid to share content
After many blog posts and a few conference talks (together with my mates of The Beerfarmers) under my belt, I can guarantee that that first post and everything what followed was more than worth it. I even regret that I didn’t start creating and sharing content earlier. You don’t have to do blogs or conferences if that’s not something for you. There are many ways you can get your message across. For example via video tutorials or podcasts. And it’s not only about creating your own content, just sharing insights on news stories via social media like Twitter can be educational for yourself and for the people following you.
You’ll notice that by sharing content you will get feedback that you otherwise wouldn’t get. But this feedback is unfortunately what withholds a lot of people.
“What will other people think about my article/video/…?”
Well, as some of you reading this might know, I’m from Belgium, so English is not my native language. When I finally published my first blog, I was not only concerned about the reactions about the content but maybe even more about my English writing skills.
It turned out that my fear was unfounded. I can’t remember getting any remarks about my English and I didn’t get a lot of feedback on my article either. Maybe not so strange, at that moment I had no more than 50 followers on Twitter, my main social medium to share my blogs.
Fast forward to now. I have a decent following on Twitter, which implies that more people read my blogs, but I still almost don't get remarks about my English. It’s far from perfect, but I learned that this doesn’t matter. It’s a lot more important that my content is build up in such a way that my story is well structured. I also get more feedback on the content I write and that only helps to improve myself and my future writings.
Another very common reason people don’t create content is the following one:
“Someone else has already written about the same, why would I still write an article about it?”
I personally find it very interesting to read, watch or listen to content about the same topic, provided by different people. Keep in mind that the content you create could give people new insights on a known topic. Not everything has to be brand new research. And after all, creating and sharing content forces you to get your facts straight and enormously improves your knowledge and writing skills.
Just push that publish button!
Dare to promote your content
Now that you got the thing published, it’s time to share it with the world, or at least your target audience 😉. When you start building your profile this audience is small. Don’t let that discourage you. Keep releasing content. People that like your content will share it with their followers and you’ll get new followers because of that. The more followers, the more feedback you’ll get and the more you will improve.
Don’t be afraid to share the same content several times. I share my blogs several times on Twitter. Keep in mind that your audience isn’t always online and even if they are, they might not have seen your posts. Depending on your audience you can also use other social media. I personally generate the most traffic from Twitter and mostly don’t even bother to put it on other social media. Do share via different platforms and see what works for you.
Now that I have written more blogs, I notice that I can often link some of my previous blogs in the articles that I write. This is another easy and good way to promote your content.
But find the right balance
You can ask people specifically to share your content or ask for retweets, but I try not to do this too often. First of all, I firmly believe that good content will be shared anyway and secondly, I don’t want that people feel obliged to share something that they might find not good after all.
Also don’t hijack other people’s social media conversations to desperately plug your latest blog post or video. It most likely will not be appreciated. For more about do’s and don’ts of twitter interactions, see also this post.
Just dare to create and share. It doesn’t matter if there’s already a lot of content available about a particular topic. Even if no one would read, watch or listen to your content, you still improved your knowledge by creating it.