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231: From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story

231: From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – One Tech Podcaster Shares His Story

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From Imposter Syndrome to Tech Influencer – A Tech Podcaster Tells His Story

Today’s episode continues our series where I hand the podcast over to you, the listeners, to tell your stories and tips of starting and growing your blogs.

A tech podcaster tells his story

Today’s blogger is Neil Hughes from Technology Blog Writer. Neil shares how he started out writing articles on LinkedIn, and talks about some of his struggles, accomplishments, and goals.

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Darren: Hi there and welcome to Episode 231 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the founder of problogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, series of ebooks and a course all designed to help you as a blogger to start an amazing blog, to grow that blog, the traffic to it, the content on it, and to make some money from it as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com.

In today’s episode, we’re continuing our little series of blogger stories which we are ending 2017 and starting 2018 with in the lead up to our Start a Blog course. My goal in 2018 is to see hundreds, if not thousands, of new blogs started. We’ve developed this great little course which you can find at problogger.com/startablog. It’s free and it will help you, all your friends, to start a blog.

As part of the launch of this new course, we wanted to feature the stories of bloggers who had started blogging and to tell the stories of the opportunities that came from that. Also, to share some tips particularly for those starting out but also for those who are on the journey.

Today I’ve got a tech blogger from the UK who is gonna share some of his tips. He’s actually used blogging, podcasting. He started out on LinkedIn. He’s got some expertise in that as well. He’s really built himself an amazing little business as a result of that, a business that has enabled him to leave his full time job and work for himself. He talks a little bit about imposter syndrome and pushing through that. He gives a brilliant tip that I wanna add some thoughts to at the end of his story as well.

I’m gonna hand over now to Neil Hughes from Tech Blog Writer. You can find his blog at techblogwriter.co.uk. You can also find a link to that on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/231. I’ll be back at the end of Neil’s story to wrap things up and tell you a little bit about tomorrow’s show too.

Neil: My name is Neil Hughes. My blog, podcast, and everything that I do comes into the name Tech Blog Writer. My URL is predictably www.techblogwriter.co.uk. I’m hoping that you know what I do from the title there. That was the idea from the very beginning. My story really began in July 2014 when I published my very first post on the LinkedIn publishing platform. It was a simple post calling out gurus, ninjas and those self-proclaimed influences, you know the kind, the Instagram expert with 72 followers.

The post was called The Rise of the Social Media Guru. This is where my tech blogging journey started. At the time, I didn’t have any objectives, any hopes, goals or dreams for the blog. I just wanted to share my insights having spent 20 years working in IT. I gotta be honest with you, I was originally scared about blogging on the LinkedIn publishing platform and crippled with that self-doubt and imposter syndrome that so many of us go through.

I still, to this day, remember nervously hovering over the publish button full of fears and doubts. What would my professional colleagues, friends, and contacts say? This was my personal brand on a professional platform that everybody would say and judge but obviously, I did hit publish on that post. It was instantly picked up and promoted by LinkedIn themselves. It received thousands of views. More importantly for me, fantastic engagement.

A year later, I had over a hundred tech articles against my name on LinkedIn that seemed to act as my own portfolio and cement me as a thought leader in the tech industry. What was also great about writing on the LinkedIn platform at the time was that they displayed all their sharing and viewing stats for everyone to see so everyone could look at all the articles you’re creating and how many views, how many likes, how many shares that you have.

Suddenly I found myself with one million views and was voted the number two tech writer on the whole of LinkedIn. Quickly I started getting accolades from my way including being named one of the top nine influential tech leaders on LinkedIn by CIO Magazine. ZDNet included me on the list of you need to follow these 20 big thinkers right now alongside from million names which is Jack Dorsey from Twitter, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg and Jeff Weiner to name a few.

I still struggled with that pesky imposter syndrome. When I looked back at the mistakes that I made and I’d advise other people to avoid in their blogging journey, I would say that my biggest mistake was to unwittingly become too reliant on one platform. That platform was also somebody else’s playground. Essentially, I was just a guest there. Obviously looking back, I should’ve diversified my work much soon.

My best advice to anyone who wanna be a blogger is that never have all your eggs in one basket and don’t rely on a game where you’re playing by somebody else’s rules and in their playground. Saying that, but I did make the most of so many great opportunities. My LinkedIn work suddenly catapulted me into the tech writing stratosphere. I now have columns in Inc. Magazine and The Next Web. Millions of article views no longer excite me, it was finding other ways to meaningfully engage with those million readers.

I launched my own podcast around the same time that Darren launched his ProBlogger podcast. I still remember, on launch day, we were featured side by side on the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes. I tweeted Darren a pic which he immediately replied to. This is where things got really exciting. Fast forward two years, I’ve now performed over 400 interviews with the most significant tech leaders and startups in the world such as Adobe, Sony, Microsoft, IBM, writers and even TV chat show host, Wendy Williams and movie star William Shatner.

I still have to pinch myself. This work has enabled me to leave my day job as an IT manager and setup my own business. I’m now living by my own rules and doing something that I love to do. I guess worth pointing out, for me it was never about the Neil Hughes show, it was about me sharing insights and my guest sharing insights.

I’m then throwing it out there to all the people listening and reading and consuming my content and asking them to share their stories. This was always my biggest motivation because if we think about it, our ancestors thousands of years ago went from town to town exchanging stories around the campfire. We’re doing the exact same now but around virtual campfires. We’re tearing down geographical barriers and stereotypes by talking, working, and collaborating with each other. That’s what this recording is doing right now, isn’t it?

My number one tip for any new blogger would be don’t get carried away with this age of instant gratification where everyone wants instant success, [inaudible 00:07:27] solution but it doesn’t exist. Do not believe anyone that offers you a shortcut. Remember, we all digest content differently. If you wrote two blog posts per week, you can also turn those two blog post into podcast and to videos too.

After one year, you could realistically have 100 articles, 100 podcasts and 100 YouTube videos. If your audience likes to read, listen or view their content, you’ve got all bases covered. Most importantly of all, think of the SEO there because all of that content is against your name. That will cement you and your reputation as a thought leader within your industry.

Think of the SEO on iTunes, on Spotify, on YouTube and your own personal blog as a hundred pieces of content that sits next to your name. However, most people will end up doing 5 to 10 pieces of content in the New Year and say this is a waste to time and give up by the time they hit February or March. It’s that grind of getting 2 of pieces of work against your name every week until you have a 100 or 300 if you repurpose your content. That’s where the value is.

I think this is the only real secret to success. It is hard work. As Gary Vaynerchuk often says, “Don’t complain that you haven’t got a few hours to spend each week when you binge watching TV shows on Netflix.” My number one tip for new bloggers in 2018 is two blog posts per week every week. Two per week becomes eight per month and that becomes a hundred over a year.

Along the way, don’t forget to build on your success and grab opportunities along the way. Just like a snowball rolling down a hill, your content and your portfolio will get bigger and bigger. That’s it for me. Guys, what are you waiting for?

Darren: That was Neil Hughes from techblogwriter.co.uk. You can again find the links to Neil and his blog on today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/231. I loved Neil’s story today. I love today that we’re talking a little bit about a podcast as well because I think a podcast is essentially, whilst a lot of people would differentiate it from a blog because they would say a blog is a written content, a podcast is an audio content.

In many regards, they’re a blog, they’re both a blog and they share many features, they’re both presented in chronological order with dates and usually with show notes and comments. I generally would say it is an alternative to a blogger and a nice addition to a blog. I love Neil’s story for a number of reasons.

Firstly, he mentions the imposter syndrome there. I know many of you who are thinking about starting his blog in 2018 are probably wrestling with that right now. There are others of you who have already started your blog, this is a very common thing to wrestle with. You have fear, you have doubt about whether you really have the credibility to say what you’re saying on your blog, whether anyone is gonna listen to you. It’s something that we all face in different stages of our blogging and podcasting career.

If you’re struggling with that, can I really encourage you at the end of this podcast to go and listen to Episode 121. In that episode, I gave you seven strategies for really dealing with imposter syndrome. It is something you need to push through. In that episode, I gave you some practical things that you can do to really push through that imposter syndrome. That’s Episode 121.

I also love Neil’s story because he mentions there a mistake that many bloggers make and that is becoming too reliant upon a platform like LinkedIn. This really could be any platform at all that you don’t have complete control over. Neil mentions there that he really built his asset, he built his archive of articles on someone else’s playground.

LinkedIn owns LinkedIn, LinkedIn ultimately controls the content that he put onto LinkedIn. With the algorithm changes that’s on their domain, ultimately what you’re doing by building on LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or any of these other places is building someone else’s asset. You put yourself at the mercy of other people.

This is something a lot of bloggers who are starting out fall into the trap of. They see a tool like Medium or LinkedIn’s blogging tools or even Facebook and they’ll say, “I can just blog there.” There are certainly some advantages of using these types of tools because they can help you to get some exposure. If that’s all you do, if all your eggs are in that basket, you’re setting yourself up for trouble down the track and you put yourself at the mercy of their algorithms and their rules and there are limitations on what you can do.

What Neil did in starting his own thing, in his case it was a podcast, in many other cases it’s a more traditional written blog, in other people’s cases a video blog. Setting something up of your own that you have control of on your own domain, on your own service is one of the best things that you can do. Certainly I’m not saying you shouldn’t be involved in these other platforms.

I think LinkedIn is certainly a place that some of you should be working and building a presence but do it to build your own presence as well, drive people back to your own blog, your own podcast, your own email list and build the asset there. I think it’s great to do those things in conjunction. That’s what Neil is doing today.

I also love Neil’s tip there of not getting carried away with instant gratification, there are no shortcuts in this. Do what he said, his great call to action there. Create two pieces of content every week, two blog posts every week and then repurpose those two blog posts into two audio files if you can or two videos. You have 100 articles by the end of the year if you do that. I think that’s a brilliant goal for a new blogger just starting out, 100 articles by the end of the year.

As you get going, you might wanna then start repurposing and aim for 200 pieces of content with 100 articles and 100 podcasts or 100 videos as well. Start with those articles, start with the medium, I guess, that you’re most comfortable with. In most people’s cases, that does tend to be a written content but you might wanna start with a podcast as well and then learn how to repurpose those things.

Ultimately, that grind of creating that content every week is going to pay off in the long term because you’re gonna end up with an asset. The asset will be, if you set up on your own blog, in your own home base, something that you control and gradually over time, that asset builds. Every one of those articles is a new doorway into your home base. It’s a new potential reader who you can get the email address of and you can build a relationship with.

Over time, the more articles you’ve got, the more doorways you’ve got into your site. It doesn’t happen overnight, there’s no instant gratification here. This is something that does take time to build but it’s an incredibly powerful thing. It can open up opportunities for you in the ways that Neil has talked about in new relationships in building a business as well.

Also, I love that he said that we all digest content differently. This idea of not just creating written content but also exploring some of these other mediums is a very powerful thing as well. I know many of you who are listening to this podcast today have already got blogs. Maybe 2018 is the year where you need to explore that idea of podcasting for the first time or maybe you do need to start creating some videos in some way as well.

I hope that you’ve got some ideas and inspiration from that. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve already got this amazing archive, hopefully, of hundreds of articles that you’ve written. It’s not too hard to repurpose those in today’s other mediums. I encourage you to explore that in 2018.

Again, today’s show notes are at problogger.com/podcast/231. You can find our Start a Blog course. We’re just two days away from launching that course now if you’re listening to this in the day that this episode goes live. You can find where you can signup to claim your spot in the course at problogger.com/startablog. If you’re listening after the 10th of January 2018, then that course is, hopefully, live now for you to go to as well. If you go to that URL, you’ll be at a signup and start that blog as well.

As I’m recording this, over 1300 people signed up already for that course. There’s a whole group of people going through it together. We’re gonna have a Facebook group where you can begin to interact with one another, support one another, ask questions. We’re also going to help you to launch your blog as well. I’ve got some great things planned where we’re going to feature all the blogs that start as a result of this course over on ProBlogger and hopefully find you some new readers as well.

Again, problogger.com/startablog. I can’t wait to get going with that course in the next couple of days. I hope you are finding some inspiration in this series. If you wanna listen to a few more stories of this series that we’ve been doing, every episode between 221 and 232 which will be tomorrow’s episode will be these blogger’s stories. Thanks for listening today. We’ll chat in the next few days.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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