What can you do besides online events?

With most of the world in lockdown due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), most organizations switched to running online events. IBM Developer SF team has been running online events for almost two years so the switch to online-only was simple for us. I shared before how online events allow you to scale.

Not everyone can or wants to run online events. You might be in a place where internet connection doesn’t permit to produce live high-quality events. You simply might not be comfortable doing live events. And that’s fine. The good news – there are other things you can do.

Content

This is a good time to publish that article or blog post that you always wanted to publish but didn’t have time. Digital content (articles, blog posts, tutorials, how-to’s, etc) is a superb way to reach developers anywhere in the world. Good quality content can provide value for a long time.

Consider writing a step-by-step tutorial which shows how to solve a particular problem you recently solved. If you are browsing Stack Overflow or any other community web site and find an unanswered question you can write a blog post answering the question. Then go back to Stack Overflow answer the question there and reference your blog post. I shared more content ideas in my a year of blogging every week post. If you are really out of ideas, consider borrowing brilliance from other folks.

You could also consider writing a series of tutorials or articles, such as introduction, beyond the basics and advanced topics.

You can also republish or syndicate the content you publish on to different platforms. For example, Dev.to, is a great and welcoming developer community. Dev.to makes it easy to pull content from your blog and republish it on their platform (keeping canonical link pointing to your original content).

Content creates content flow

One of my favorite how content creates content blog posts shows how to syndicate content and share content on social media.

Video

If running live online events is not an option, consider recording videos and then uploading them to your YouTube channel. A YouTube video is easily embeddable which makes is a great content for a blog post. With YouTube being the 2nd largest search engine, videos are a superb way to reach developers anywhere and anytime. A good-quality video can deliver value for a long time.

My favorite type of video is short, between 10-20 minutes, and usually shows step-by-step how to build, code or solve a problem. When 20 minutes is not enough, consider recording a series of videos. General overview videos are also excellent. For example, if a service has a dashboard, you can record a video which shows the various views/components of a dashboard.

Now, you don’t have to produce studio-quality videos. My advice is to start with existing recording software you have on your computer. For example, on macOS you can use QuickTime. I’d rehearse a few times and try recording. Don’t worry if you make mistakes – that makes you human (and humans make mistakes). As long as you can recover, continue recording. If you record a 15-minute video – that’s all it takes which is very fast. In fact, it’s probably significantly faster than writing a similar tutorial.

Getting started

If you are still struggling to get started, I’d advise to set a time every day (or week) for writing. It’s easy to push writing to be the least important priority “…I’ll do it later when I have time”. And then say the same thing happens next time. Producing a high-quality tutorial or a video is as important as running an in-person event or going to a conference. In my opinion, such content should get high priority (if not the highest) as it allows to scale, it’s available to anyone and anywhere. It can bring value to developers anywhere for a long time.

In addition to allocating time to write, I’d also encourage to set a publish schedule. For example, commit to publishing once a week or twice a month. The frequency you start with is not as important as keeping the commitment and publishing on regular bases.

I hope this blog post will help you start creating interesting content.

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