Writing blogs requires (a lot of) sustained effort and unless you’ve got a large following, there’s often little immediate return or feedback after posting. While that can be demotivating at times, I think it’s still a worthwhile endeavour. Here’s a few thoughts on why I write.
Reference: When talking to someone about something you’ve written about, it becomes very easy to just point them to your blog on the subject. In many cases written words can convey things much more succinctly and coherently than conversation.
Structuring thought: The exercise of structuring your thoughts in itself is quite useful. For projects specifically, by taking the time to reflect and write about them, I understand them better, have some form of closure and actually look at them back more fondly later.
Recognition: If even just a few people find something useful in what I share and give some form of reaction, that gives me a great sense of accomplishment: what I have to share is worthwhile.
Isn’t my blog post just stating the super obvious? Something I often spend way too much time worrying about. Tweet
Serendipity: I’ve been surprised by how projects I’ve made public have a tendency of coming back to me in some positive way months later: new job opportunities, project options, public speaking, etc. It’s hard to quantify whether those projects then really make a difference, but it does feel that way.
Giving back: I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth by virtue of others. If I can pay it forward by writing and do something similar for others - however small that group - I definitely want to try.
Smart people say it’s good for you: A lot of people I deem successful tend to write and recommend doing so (for many of the same reasons listed here). I wish I had a few good references here, but I don’t 🤷♂️. Just google “why you should write”.
I didn’t get these from anywhere specific, these are just things I came up with and seem to work for me. I remind myself of these tips often - but also have plenty of examples where I didn’t apply them.
Keep it short: Somewhere between 750 and 1000 words is my target. I typically don’t have patience to read long-form text and as a result I read most things diagonally. I assume my readers are the same. Exceptions exist.
Make it dense: Ideally your words should just convey the essential information and string together interesting tidbits in rapid succession. It’s way better to remove a part that you spent a long time writing if it’s too wordy than to keep it in for the sake of the effort you put in.
Cadence over amount: If you’ve got a few posts ready to go, space them in time to optimize reader engagement. You can write in bursts, but that doesn’t mean you have to publish in bursts. Follow a loose schedule: my target is to post once a month. Keeping a time-lag between writing something and publishing it will also improve your post as you tend to review it a few times before it goes out.
Perfect is the enemy of done: Getting something out is far more important than getting the perfect piece out. You can always make edits or do a follow-up post.
Use formatting: Nobody likes a wall of text. Break up your post with bullet points, headers, video and images (especially images).
Social media matters: Take some time to think about how/when you’ll be tweeting. Adding images or social previews helps to drive readership.
Not adding dates: While I often check for dates on blog post to see if they’re recent, I decided not to do this as to not shy readers away because of the post’s age or that I haven’t posted in a while. I don’t like this, but it’s a trade-off.
Creating social previews like this one for my blogpost Top Media Picks, Edition 2021 can sometimes take almost an hour between coming up with a design, finding images and then laying it all out. Worth it? Not sure yet, but it definitely makes the post look better when shared (and in the posts overview page).
Minimize “I”: Try stating things more as facts - the opinion is implied, it’s your blog after all. People are more naturally critical when you use “I think”, “I did”, “my thing”. Writing this way is hard (as demonstrated by this very post!).
Pick topics deliberately: I try to interleave posts about my hobbies with more professional posts. I believe that keeps things light and makes sure my blog doesn’t come off as a resume, while still allowing me to build a bit of a professional online presence.