Why I've decided to start writing online
I've put this off for years. Three years to be exact.
When I moved to San Francisco in 2017 to pursue a career as a growth marketer at a tech startup, I wrote articles about conversion rate optimization, app store optimization and some broader growth topics, and published them on Medium. Some of the articles I wrote got attention from recruiters and founders, and were often mentioned throughout my interview process.
Once I started working, I promised I'd keep up the pace and would keep publishing articles because of how helpful it was when I was looking for a job. But, I didn't. It’s far easier to not write than it is to write, and there’s a certain level of vulnerability that comes with putting my voice out there. So I stopped.
So here we are in 2020 and I've decided I'm going to give my writing a home by creating a website, put together a consistent publishing schedule, and set some writing goals.
So, why am I going to start writing?
Writing online can accelerate your career
When I was trying to break into tech, writing and publishing articles about my areas of interest showed upfront value to my future employers.
Not only can writing help you land a job, but it’s also a great networking tool, connecting you to new peers and potential collaborators.
I treat content creation as an investment. The value just compounds itself.
There are billions of queries punched into the internet every single day, which means that people are looking for answers to an endless variety of questions. Being able to share your knowledge by publishing articles is an incredible vehicle to connect with others. These connections can land you podcast appearances, speaking gigs, new projects, invitations to events, mentors or mentees, advisor roles, investment opportunities, and so much more.
Writing helps you brush up on other skills
I have not stepped foot in an office in over 4 months.
Now more than ever, effective communication is an incredibly useful skill. The transition to remote work was extremely challenging to me, as I used to often depend on in-person meetings and whiteboarding sessions to keep all of my teammates on the same page.
Now, I’m forced to change the way I communicate. For the most part, that comes in written form, through:
- Collaborative Documents: weekly updates, product requirement documents, experimentation documents, etc.
Most recently, I transitioned out of the marketing department and into product management. In this transition, I'll be giving up some acquisition channels like Search Engine Marketing (SEO).
One of the pillars of SEO is content.
So in addition to helping me improve my written communication skills, publishing articles here will force me to stay up to date with the latest and greatest in the SEO world.
Plus, writing on your own personal blog pushes you to learn about websites. Even though I’m not an engineer by training, I want to make sure I’m always looking at the latest platforms and software. That’s why I’m building this website on Webflow, despite the fact that I’ve never used it before. I've had very little experience with it, but I love how quick and easy it to get an amazing site out. Treating this site as my own personal product will require me to brush up on other important skills for my professional job, just in an entirely different context.
These are just a few of the many other skills I'll get to work on as I ramp up online publishing.
Writing helps you learn
Studies have shown that it’s easier to recall information when we’re forced to re-write it in our own words after we learn it. So the more I write here, the more I’ll learn and remember and be able to break these concepts down when I explain them to other people.
Creating interesting written work requires you to focus on connecting different information or insights, which can come from books or articles, podcasts or audiobooks, videos, so on and so forth.
In addition to focus, to put out high quality work you need to do a lot of research and think much deeper. Before heading down the rabbit hole, you must be able to outline what it is you are going to cover pinpointing what you should focus on.
Writing builds valuable online real estate
Consistently writing around topics that interest you allows you to build off your previous work and develop your ideas on a grander scale. This becomes the distribution of your publications and it's what will go on to create the opportunities that will accelerate your career.
As such, you want to make sure your articles are associated with your name. By having your own website and domain, you make it easy for people to find you and your writing all in one place.
Your own website then becomes the home of your online brand..\
It’s important to own your own website and domain because you are trying to build your online real estate. Previously I wrote on Medium because it was easy to pick up readers and increase the chances of being discovered or “going viral,” which is every blogger’s dream. But, these quick wins are outweighed by the costs. Medium isn't great for SEO, you don't own your content, and they do everything they can to surface more content to readers, taking them away from your work and diminishing the chances that those readers will become loyal followers.
Online writing is making me face my fears
The last few years I've really shied away from improving my writing skills because I've always thought that I don't have what it takes to be a good writer.
With many other topics I'm happy to dive in, find online courses and dig deeper into an unfamiliar subject. But with writing, there's always been something. I've always thought about taking writing courses but never have pulled the trigger. The only writing I did was personal, such as journaling or morning pages.
No surprise to become a better writer, you need to write.
Rather than being paralyzed by the perfect sentence structure or word choice, I just need to get the word count up.