2 Undeniable Reasons Why You Need to Blog as a SharePoint Professional
It was the New Year’s Resolution of many an established SharePoint professional to start their personal blog. On this blog, they would post slidedecks from events they’ve been Guest Speakers at, they would solve long standing cryptic SharePoint error messages, share code that would indeed change the world and deliver screenshots that would solve world hunger.
Granted, we all have grand aspirations when starting a personal blog for SharePoint professional usage, but there is a larger segment of the SharePoint community that exists.
This is a group of people who are technically proficient, and handle their role and responsibilities with ease. Some are Project Managers, Architects, Admins and Devs. They have resolved SharePoint 2010 issues that have not been documented, the projects they’ve completed would make a top notch case study if someone took the time to write it. The bottom line is: they get the job done effectively and typically view blogging, community events to be ‘extra work’ that they are being recognized and/or compensated for by their employer.
Let’s face it, in a world of increasing sharing and social networking awareness, employers are slowly starting to understand the value that each SharePoint resource has towards the growth and prolonged strength of their respective Microsoft or SharePoint practice. It is your best advantage to prepare for the changes in your practice before they arrive.
Performance reviews are starting to include criteria such as:
- Community involvement
- SharePoint certifications achieved
- Conferences participated
- Technical Websites and/or blogs managed
2 Undeniable Benefits to Blogging as a SharePoint Professional
1.) Reinventing the Wheel Stops Here – Blogging Provides a Personal Knowledge Base that Helps You and Others Fact: In most SharePoint projects around the world, proper configuration management is not practiced. Starting and maintaining a blog is the best way to ensure that the work that you’ve performed is carried on throughout your career.
You have the liberty to add your comments around that particular implementation and the potential to gather additional viewpoints through your blogs comments section or by submitting your post to social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, where the SharePoint community maintains a ever-growing footprint.
2.) Carve out Your Professional SharePoint Niche Every SharePoint pro goes through the phase where they are first overwhelmed by the new features and functionality within a new SharePoint release. The turning point comes where that individual decides that they cannot master it all and the decision is made to focus on their strengths as it relates to SharePoint. Establishing yourself as a SharePoint Specialist is the fastest way to separate yourself from the masses of MCTS in SharePoint, which are growing more and more in numbers with each passing day. The great benefit of a blog is that you can provide up-to-the minute opinions on newly releases Service Packs, features, and methodologies as they are released. This approach quickly establishes you as the go-to-guru for your areas of focus. We live in an era of on-demand education and searchability. Taking the steps to carve out your voice will lead to increase in your demand as a professional.
Overcoming Common Obstacles and Limitations
I’ve listed the most common obstacles that befuddle and ultimately stop most SharePoint professionals who have a wealth of knowledge to contribute, but fall short.
1.) I’m too busy doing ‘Real Work’ to focus on a SharePoint blog
There has long been the struggle between focusing on billable work vs. personal development tasks, which blogging clearly falls under the latter category. In order for communities to grow, there need to be contributors. Since launching his blog in mid 2010, SharePoint Technical Lead Fabian Williams has transformed from a professional who is widely regarded as one of the best Developers in the SharePoint industry to quickly becoming one of the most referenced blogs on SharePoint 2010 troubleshooting (break/fix), development, and other areas. Fabian is in the unique position of being exposed to dozens of new SharePoint environments each and every year in his billable work with his company, so his insight and exposure to new environments helps others, as evidenced by his usage of Facebook and Twitter as a Knowledge base of sorts to help other SharePoint community members with their daily issues.
2.) I don’t know enough about SharePoint. So I don’t feel my blog posts would be worthy enough be read.
Reason #2 is the most common logic that I hear from the majority of professionals who have the know-how but have not crossed over into the world of SharePoint speaking at community events and/or blogging. For those individuals I offer you this: Perspective is the most valuable asset you’ll possess in your career in SharePoint.
Blog ideas that you can write include:
- My experience installing SharePoint
- Here are my reasons why this third party tool is effective
- How I solved a SharePoint error
- SharePoint 2010 features that I like the most
- SharePoint blogs that I read and why
3.) I’m not getting paid to blog. So I won’t
As I outlined in Reason #2 to blog, we live in an era of searchability. Companies are looking to hire professionals to solve their business needs each and everyday. The more actions that you take to establish yourself as a credible subject matter expert, the more clients you will and land either for yourself as an independent consultant or through leads generated by your company. Secondly, through maintaining a consistent technical blog, you can also monetize your site via targeted ads and/or sponsorships to increase your revenue. In a few select cases, your employer may notice your blogging efforts and sponsor your blog. Stranger things have happened.
Photo Credit: Lady Madonna under the Creative Commons license
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