Third in a series of three blog posts, this post highlights content from our session “Take Your Thought Leadership to the Next Level” at the recent Trailblazer Summit, where about 150 Trailblazers from around the world gathered for two days to network and learn about how to take their community leadership to the next level.
When I started learning Apex, Salesforce’s proprietary programming language, all of the resources I found catered toward people who already knew how to code — and I didn’t. I grappled with how I could help others who didn’t know coding, learn the skills I did to launch my career as a Salesforce Technical Architect. I was far too timid to contribute through the more popular channels like social media and YouTube. But, I was a good writer, so I decided blogging would be the best platform for me to give back to the Trailblazer community. I created SFDC99 to help Salesforce Admins who don’t know how to code, gain the skills they need to master Apex.
Why get into blogging?
Blogging is so straightforward for me; I write about what I know. I don’t need to woo sponsors, attract speakers, or secure venues — all I need is a keyboard and some pizza.
My blog has opened so many doors for me. It has led to life-changing experiences like my job at Google, dinner with Marc Benioff, Salesforce MVP status, Golden Hoodie awards, and new friendships within the Trailblazer Community.
And you know the wildest thing I’ve learned from this journey? If I can do it, so can you! Here are my top tips on how.
1. Dominate a niche
You must choose a small target market for your blog. You can’t possibly market your blog as something that covers everything in the Admin world. It’s better to focus on a niche such as reports and dashboards, Process Builders, or Admin certifications.
You will generate more engagement and gain more followers by writing about your expertise rather than stretching yourself too thin by writing about the topics you’re not so well-versed in.
Here are some examples of niches you should start with versus those that are too broad.
2. Focus on content, nothing else
SFDC99 is my second attempt at a Salesforce-related blog. The first time I created a blog, I Googled “how to write a good blog” and was overwhelmed with the number of articles on how to appear high in Google search results, how to interpret analytics, and how to increase my number of subscribers. I spent all my time on these distractions, and the blog never took off.
The SFDC99 you see today is the product of focusing on quality content and nothing else — and I still do that today. When you focus on quality over quantity and always keep your reader in mind, you will see success over time.
Just do these three things to start your blog:
- Register your domain
- Find a blogging platform that works for you
- Write a post every week for at least six months to build a cadence
3. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
You will burn yourself out if you spend a lot of time writing a massive blog post and have it reviewed by ten of your peers to ensure it’s perfect. Focus on providing your audience with helpful information — you don’t need to be perfect.
Post frequently and consistently to find your voice and fine-tune it over time. If you’re not posting once a week, you’re trying to go too big with each post. Break larger topics down and post in small chunks each week. When you establish a steady cadence, your audience will keep coming back for more content.
4. Learn from your community
After a few months of publishing technical content, I decided to experiment with writing posts to inspire other Trailblazers, and my readers loved it!
I learned just how much my audience loved my new content when I made it easy for them to have a conversation with me. Here’s what helped me engage with my audience:
- Set up an email for your blog so readers can contact you directly
- Make it easy for people to comment by removing any form fills
- Reply to every comment to incentivize more comments
Nowadays, most of my ideas for content comes directly from my readers.
5. Draw inspiration from everywhere
I always look for inspiration from what I see in movies and on YouTube. The idea for my favorite blog post I ever wrote came right after I rewatched Mulan. Since my blog is educational, I’m always watching “how-to” videos on YouTube to understand how others are positioning their content.
Whatever your style is, there’s someone out there you can draw inspiration from. And once you get your blog up and running, I hope to draw inspiration from you!
Always remember, it doesn’t take a genius to make a big difference in the Trailblazer Community. Focus your efforts on quality over quantity and a consistent cadence of posts, learn from every post you create, and soon you’ll be doing things you never imagined you were capable of. You’ll reap the benefits of helping others and making new connections in the Trailblazer Community.
Read the first blog posts in this series to learn how to share your Trailblazer story and build your brand on social media. And keep up with SFDC99 for resources to help you with your Salesforce certifications.