As a software house, our primary blog content should be related to technology. This gets us to the issue - how do we get our developers to write?
We try to do our best at maintaining a good blog here at Netguru. It's for you to judge if we are doing well or not, but either way, it sure is a hard task. We’ve learned a lot (like SEO, readability, etc.) about building a blog, but content has always been and will always be king.
As a software house, our primary content should be related to technology. This gets us to the issue - how do we get our developers to write?
Many developers don’t write because:
- They are scared somebody will ridicule their ideas
- They are scared somebody will ridicule their poor English
- They think they have nothing interesting to share
- They think it's hard and they don't have time for it
- They think it's a waste of time
Now, this particular blog post was supposed to be an email to our team, but for the sake of transparency and trying to be as open as we can, it ended up here!
Developers, your fears about writing are imaginary. There's a few reasons why your voice matters and it ain’t so bad to share once in a while. Here's why:
Not many people share, and you know that sharing is always good. Just like with opensource code, it's always better to share something rather than nothing. How scared are you to share code because you think it's poor? (All developers do, all the time, by the way.) For the same reason, share your ideas and you’ve already contributed. You are already winning, and in event of an attack, remember - keep calm and ignore trolls [edit: as noted in comments sharing is not always good - think virus, or bacteria]
It's ok to ask for proofreading - internally we even provide a native speaker to help our developers get the language right. It's not shameful to make an error in a language which is not your primary one. Or hell, even your primary language. Just like learning new programming language, you get compile errors at the beginning all the time. Someone is there to pick up the pieces.
You have interesting stuff to share because there are fewer of you. For some time now our blog contains of almost solely practical things we do at work - there is nothing seemingly special about it. Everyone works. But you’re a developer and you have insights that many others do not.
Just like writing tests, it's hard and timely in the beginning, but with a little practice it becomes natural, quick and easy. It's ok to ask for help with expressing your thoughts. Tell me what you want to write and I or someone can guide through the process.
It's not a waste of time. The rest of this post covers this misconception.
"Material" benefits to developers writing blog posts
Career Boosting. Your current employer is looking to raise wages and reward those who are smart and exceed expectations. There is no easier way contribute extra than some well-thought ideas put into writing. At Netguru, we promote the best people from developers to senior developers. It’s based on the extra miles they go to make our team, company and community better - and sharing your knowledge, ideas and thoughts through blog posts is one of those things.
Online Traction. If you find yourself ever looking for a new job, there is no better way for people to get to know you than through what you did and made public. Developers that shared their work through opensource and get good offers. Developers who shared their work and their way of thinking get the best offers. This is my linkedin inbox after two months of not looking into it:
I don't like the part of social media it represents, but I can't ignore the fact that the number of offers from headhunters on it has doubled since I started actively writing. I'm not changing my job, but it's good to know.
- Company. It’s a measurable way to contribute to the company. This is why we are trying to get you to write in the first place! We have clients who choose us just because of our public brand, of which major part is our blog. And when we are doing better as company, we are able to pay you more.
Cognitive benefits of you writing blog posts:
- Your thoughts on a given subject get clearer when you put them on paper - this makes it easier to discuss it with others. This is something that happened here, I was able to put together my thoughts on writing blog posts not because they were nicely grouped in my mind, but the other way around. They got grouped because I started writing them down.
- When you are trying to write about it you will do some research and learn new things. This will make you smarter, guaranteed.
Social and community benefits of you writing blog posts
- Think of all the tutorials you read to get to this point. They are there because somebody was open enough to write them. Do the same, share it, and the community will get better, just like when you published that awesome OS library.
- It's easier to talk to people if they can read you first. They will trust your opinions more and will share their point of view more often. That's very useful, for example, when working with client.
TL;DR? Writing makes developers rich in mind and pocket. This is what I do to make our blog even better and get our developers to write more.
We'd love to meet you on Twitter - @netguru