What is a technical blog post?
That’s the question I ask myself after I get questions like:
How do you write a technical blog post?
Can your team write technical blog posts?
Can we help you write technical blog posts for us?
I’ve gotten this question for the lifetime of Ghost Blog Writers. For awhile I didn’t give it much thought. I figured every blog post was the same. You have an audience. You have a business. You have a question the audience is asking and you have the answer the business or writer provides with the post.
To me, there was nothing technical about it.
But now I’ve learned that there is something to the idea of a technical blog post. Most often when I’m asked this question the context is that the business is in a technical industry. One that requires more than basic knowledge or more than really good researching skills.
Some examples of technical industries in this context:
- IT (Information Technology)
- Software (in certain cases)
Actually, in certain cases can apply to all.
So let’s say you’re in one of these industries or in something else that could considered technical.
How do you write technical blog posts?
Here are the steps.
Step 1. Start With The Fundamentals
The audience includes knowing the person you’re trying to earn the attention of. It’s knowing that person’s level of understanding of the industry. And it’s knowing what questions this person is asking.
This is the basic beginning of any blog strategy. When I get asked about a blogging strategy this is where I almost always begin.
It’s the same for a fashion brand as it is for an IT consultant. You always have a target audience. You always have a brand that wants to earn that audience’s attention.
The best way to do that is to educate and entertain.
Many brands that start blogging strategies or content strategies overlook or overthink this step. That’s like starting to play basketball before you practice and become adequate at dribbling the basketball.
You can play basketball without dribbling, but not very well.
You can blog without understanding your audience and the questions they’re asking, but you’re going to be disappointed with the results.
Step 2. Find The Key Sources
This is part of every blogging strategy too, but it comes to the forefront with technical blogs seemingly more often. It’s due to the fact that technical posts usually have a smaller audience with an unusually higher level of understanding of the topic.
It doesn’t have to be necessarily technical. It’s just that the audience is relatively small and those in the industry have a lot of knowledge.
So you need sources of information that can educate the audience. A person without the same knowledge as the audience may struggle, but they can succeed with the right sources.
And in fact, an outsider can provide great insight into a technical field. They bring a new perspective to the industry, but they need to have the right sources.
What are potential sources?
They can be people. They can be industry magazines and blogs. And even a few other things like podcasts or YouTube channels and things like that.
People is a big one. Often when we’re writing technical blog posts we’ll connect with the CEO and a few other team members. They’re too busy to write posts. They often don’t like writing posts. And because of that they’re not good at writing blog posts because they don’t do it all the time like we do.
So we’ll brainstorm 10-12 titles at a time. We’ll get their thoughts. Then we’ll ask them for some key points, notes or whatever on those topics.
It might take 30 minutes to do that. And if you’re writing weekly posts that’s about two months worth of blog content for 30 minutes of the CEO’s time.
With that information the writer can do the rest of the work and it’s still on a level that can educate and entertain the audience.
Step 3. Identify The Appropriate Medium
We’re talking about blog posts here, but I want to mention that before you start blogging it’s good to understand what the correct medium will be.
The first factor will be what the content creator wants to create or what they’re good at. If you hire a blogger that person probably loves blogging. They’re likely to do all they can to write great blog posts.
But maybe you have someone on your team that loves video or podcasting.
I believe the number one thing with content is going with your strengths. Even before you identify where the audience is spending their time. If you want to create content you have to figure out the type of content you’re most likely to enjoy creating. Because it’s tough and if you don’t like it you will stop.
That being said, where your audience is does matter. If your technical field audience loves YouTube to the point that 90% of them are using it and not really reading blogs then you need to find someone that loves creating YouTube videos to create your technical content.
Step 4. Find The Vetting Balance
Usually with technical blog posts and fields you’ll find that people want to micromanage the process. I understand it. You don’t want content that doesn’t reach the level of the audience to be released.
So there needs to be a certain level of vetting. Especially early in the process.
But there is a balance. If there is too much vetting the blog will never get off the ground. I’ve seen it happen. If you’re too busy to write a post you’re probably too busy to review and edit blog posts. You’re probably even too busy to provide regular feedback on blog posts.
The early process of blogging is about making sure that you have the right writer and the right sources of information. Then you have to trust that 90% of what they write will educate and entertain the audience. With all blogs, some posts will miss the mark. You can learn fro those and close that gap.
Don’t let the 10% deter you to the point where you stop doing it because in the long run you’re winning when 90% of your content is hitting the mark with your audience.
Step 5. Make The Process As Efficient As Possible
Finally, this builds a bit on the last one and really on all the previous points.
Once you get through the blog strategy and the first post or two then you want to streamline the entire process. You want to remove as many people as possible. You want to remove as many barriers as possible.
Editors, uploaders, picture finders, etc.
Resist the need to micromanage it. Check in from time to time and provide your feedback, but let the process become efficient.
Technical blog posts are different than regular business blog posts. I’ve come to realize that there are technical areas. But this can be overcome with the right approach. If you really see the value in content (and if you don’t your competition will) then follow the process above and give it time. In the long run you will find success. I see it happen all the time.