A Year Of Weekly Blog Posts - Lessons Learned
With this post, I’ve got a new post up on this blog every Wednesday morning for a year. I’m pretty proud of that! There are certainly more prolific bloggers out there, especially in this space, but for me, this is quite the accomplishment. This is weekly consecutive blog post number 53.
In celebration of getting through a full year of weekly blog posts on topics of PowerShell, DevOps, automation and IT strategy, in this post I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned. This isn’t a big list of everything you need to know to blog, or even things that might work for you, but just things I’ve learned about blogging over the last year.
Not every blog post needs to be a textbook
A lot of people get caught up on what is “blog worthy” and dismiss post ideas because they aren’t long enough, or because the topic has been covered before. Long posts, multi-part series, and other enormous posts are totally awesome. They also tend to be pretty niche and time consuming. There’s nothing wrong with a shorter post - they help people too! There’s also nothing wrong with adding your own unique perspective on a topic that has already been covered by other bloggers, since your commentary can sometimes be just as valuable as the technical content.
Post ideas are everywhere
After a few months of weekly posts, I realized that my daily scope of work didn’t change enough for me to be constantly blogging about what I’m working on. Therefore, I had to look for some new sources of inspiration. I joined the PowerShell Slack channel, paid more attention to Twitter, and started remembering questions my coworkers had and used those as material for my blog. Not only do you get to help someone in the moment, but you get to help even more people through that blog post being up forever (or until you forget to renew your domain or web hosting).
Post ideas come in bursts
When I first committed to weekly blog posts, I had a ton of ideas written down on a OneNote page. I spent a couple weekend afternoons writing about 20 posts, and scheduled them to go public every Wednesday morning. That was awesome, and it meant that I didn’t have to think of any new posts for a few months. When I had about 5 posts left, inspiration struck again, and I wrote another big batch of posts. In fact, I’m writing this exact post about a month before it will go up because this is when I felt inspired to write it. Don’t worry, if I learn anything new in the next month about blogging, I’ll update the post.
Scheduling posts in advance, and having a hopper full of posts ready to go is mandatory if you’re going to commit to a weekly post schedule. Eventually you’ll want to take a week off, you won’t be able to think of a post, or you just won’t have time. In these situations, you’ll be glad that you have a bunch of posts queued up ready to go.
Not every post has to be "on brand"
Over the Christmas season, I was in Mexico, and felt the need to queue up a bunch of posts. The holidays are a time when most of the people who read my blog are away from work, so I felt like I had a little freedom regarding which topics I posted about. Since I didn’t have a lot of PowerShell or DevOps topics ready to go, I posted about what I had been doing in some of my free time, practicing some of my pentesting skills on HackTheBox.eu. They’re certainly not my most viewed posts, and I didn’t get a lot of interaction on them, but nobody complained either. Don’t be afraid to blog about whatever you’re passionate about in the moment. Just because you run a PowerShell/Exchange/AWS/Football/Checkers/PKI blog doesn’t mean you can’t branch out. Blog for yourself first and others second, and you’ll be much happier.