Those who can, teach in their blogs



March 4th, 2011 by Kat Kingsley-Hughes

I get asked very often how to set up a blog, what to talk about, and inevitably how to get to the top of Google. As I said in my previous post How do I make my blog work for me? you need to think carefully about what you mean by getting to the top of Google and secondly you need to write.  The next thing I hear is: What should I write about?

The answer I always give is:

Write about what you know

That is often answered with a shuffling of feet or a sudden interest in shoes.

Very often people are brave enough to write a book, make a film or start a band but they're not brave enough to say how they did it.
Why? Because they feel that their experience of doing whateveritis is inadequate. They are scared that detailing the ardous journey they have travelled will reveal that they are not the possessors of innate talent. They are afraid that they don't have enough experience and they don't know as much as the guy who wrote this book, or that film ... yet.

My answer to that is:  GREAT!

If I wanted to read that guy's book I wouldn't be trawling the internet searching for 'experiences of starting a band' or 'beginners how to direct a film' or whatever-it-is.

Inspiring is advertising!


Mostly people want to be inspired. And this is where you are an expert. You know what it's like to put your first animation up on YouTube because you are right there in the middle of it, doing right now or very recently. So by sharing that experience you not only advertise yourself and your project, you inspire someone else AND you may make a friend along the way too. When that person you've inspired writes their blog they'll be referring readers back to yours and singing your praises for having inspired them right when they needed it most at the start of their journey. Wow wouldn't that feel great?

Never be afraid to teach!

A lot of bloggers are worried about this because they fear some experienced, knowledgeable person will come along and call them out on their lack of knowledge. This practically never happens! Sure there will be other sites and books etc that will explain the subject in greater depth than you can. So put in a link to help your reader progress from your page to theirs - this not only helps your reader but it makes you look like you are in the know with all the best sites to go.

You remember how it feels to start out!

From a teaching AND blogging point of view this is invaluable information!

Put yourself back in the shoes of the person starting out at whatever-it-is and remember how you felt reading that in-depth stuff at the start. I bet you probably felt pretty out of your depth when you first started learning! That is great, because very probably the people who wrote the in-depth sites and books and courses about your subject don't even remember how it feels to be starting out. It can even be said that very often teachers have forgotten the most basic skills and theories that underpin their subject. This is often because they learned those things and came to accept them so long ago that they might not even be able to recite the basic principles now. This happens a lot! I speak from experience here both as a teacher and as a learner. Here's why it happens:

There are four stages to learning.

As you read these four stages, remember - if you can - when you were first learning to swim or ride a bike:
Unconscious incompetence - You don't know just how much you don't know about the subject because whatever-it-is is all so new to you.
Conscious incompetence - You are starting to learn, but you are also startling to learn just how much you don't know yet and just how much more you have to learn about whatever-it-is.
Conscious competence - You keep plugging away at it, learning whatever-it-is and you're even starting to do really well, but you have to concentrate really hard to get it right. Very often in this stage you will find yourself dreaming about whatever-it-is at night.
Unconscious competence - You could do whatever-it-is with your eyes shut and one hand tied behind your back! Pretty soon you can't remember how it felt not to be able to do it!

Find me on Google!

That last step is the doozy!

Now of course it's great for you because you've learned a new skill but it's lousy if you want to teach anyone else. Your brain has no need of the experience of learning the skill so it ditches it all and your perspective changes.

So, start blogging when you start learning!

My Tip is to begin documenting your progress from day one. This will not only help you to help other people but it will provide an invaluable record of your journey, giving you a lasting empathy and insight into the world of the beginner. In the long term you will find you can inspire a lot more people.

And remember, inspiring is advertising!

Good luck!

This entry was posted on Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 12:13 pm and is filed under Flotsam, Web Dev. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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