For Cryin' Out Loud... Start Writing!
You Know More Than You Think!
As I stated in my previous post, '7 Ideas For Breaking Into a Career You Can Be Truly Proud Of' (http://www.tonyzink.com/content/7-ideas-breaking-career-you-can-be-truly-proud), once you have identified a field of interest and educated yourself in that field, a great way to get some attention is by sharing your knowledge and skills with others through publishing. There is no better way to let the masses know that you are an expert, and it has never been easier to set up your very own virtual soap box...
For example, if you have an interest in photography, you could start sharing some techniques that you have learned for taking interesting photos, caring for your equipment, or finding camera and accessory deals. If you have an interest in 70s rock music, you could write about rock music trivia, rock collectibles, or 70s rock bands that are making a comeback.
Perhaps the easiest way to get started is to launch your own web log... or 'blog'. Although asking ten different people will probably yield ten different definitions of a blog, you can think of it as an online journal. You can treat each journal entry, or blog post, as a mini article to share your thoughts, opinions, and knowledge with the rest of the world. It is extremely easy to start your very own blog, and once you have, it can become your virtual soap box to tell the rest of the world anything you like.
What If I'm Not an Expert?
If you haven't spent years in your chosen field of interest, no need to worry. One thing to remember is that there is ALWAYS someone who has been at it for longer than you have, and there is ALWAYS someone who knows more than you know. However, that doesn't mean that you don't have something unique to share with the world. Plus, there may be someone in the world who is more of an 'expert' than you are, but if they aren't writing and sharing their knowledge, then they might as well be invisible.
What If I Don't Know What To Write?
In my previous post, '5 Ways That Zooming Out Can Help Your Career' (http://www.tonyzink.com/content/5-ways-zooming-out-can-help-your-career), I mentioned that 'zooming out' can help you to identify interesting topics to write about. Throughout your day, train yourself to stop and think about whether things might be of interest to other people. For example, if you discover the solution to a problem that you have been struggling with, stop to ask yourself whether others may be interested in learning about your solution. If so, then you have a great topic to write about! It doesn't need to be a novel... just something interesting.
What If I'm Not a Good Writer?
You don't need to be an award-winning writer in order to share your expertise with the world, although it definitely helps to have a solid foundation of good grammar and spelling. Start reading articles from magazines or web sites, paying close attention not only to the content, but also to the writing style and structure. Over time, you will most likely develop your own writing style, but in the meantime, try to mimic the styles of some of your favorite writers. It may also help to have a friend review your writing and offer constructive criticism. Finally, for minor grammatical and spelling errors, you can do your writing in a sophisticated word processing program such as Microsoft Word, which will catch many mistakes automatically. Be careful not to rely too heavily on a computer program to catch your mistakes, though!
What If I'm Not a Techno Geek?
You may think that it takes a ton of technical skill and prowess to set up a web site or blog to share your knowledge with the world, but that could not be farther from the truth! Although that may have been true five years ago, today you can very easily sign up for any number of free blogging services, and have your web site or blog launched in a matter of minutes. WordPress, MSN, Blogger, and many other free services are available... just pick one, sign up, and start writing!
A Few Other Things To Remember...
-- Pick a topic and stick with it. If someone finds your blog, it is because they are probably looking for information on a topic that you have written about. To keep them coming back for more, write more about the same topic... not twelve things that are completely different. If you have multiple areas of interest, start a separate blog for each.
-- Traffic will not come immediately, but you can leverage the tools that you already use everyday, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get readers.
-- Stick with it for the long haul. An article or blog post once every week, every two weeks, or every month, when done consistently over a long period of time, will soon add up.
-- Write about topics that truly interest you, rather than topics that you think are hot or trendy at the moment. If you aren't genuinely interested, then you won't stick with it over the long haul.