“When Should I Start Blogging?” and “Is It Too Late To Learn Blogging (or SEO or PPC)?” and “How Much Business is My Company Losing?” and “Something Happened Six Months Ago (or Three Years Ago), Can You Tell Me What?”
These questions from puzzled people are sometimes calm and sometimes asked in pain. I put them in the category of “I would like to change my life, but not now, not this month…”. They are similar to asking a dietician when to go on a diet, or a personal trainer when to start exercising regularly. Personal life questions that are individual but also reveal environment change. Gaining weight or not feeling strong and in top physical shape is our own issue, but our lifestyle is usually the cause. The changes in technology and how we use new products are environmental ones. The world is adapting communication using smart phones. Massive open access to information and knowledge is a global trend moving faster by the day. This means we eventually need to choose: adapt to a new reality or stay as we are. Are we going to join the open free information age or not? Once you look at blogging, social media, marketing automation and even a well-developed website as environmental changes, understanding your position is clear. Once you say to yourself “everybody in my industry has a better site than mine” or “I thought that blogging was hard, then I saw a small competitor with one…” you are starting to think of the changes around you. That is our environment today. Information, engagement, influence and simply interaction is moving faster to a broad audience.This brings you to the question at hand: “is it too late for me to start?” Most people avoid modern changes. They usually need to feel outside pressure (i.e. peer or competitive pressure) to make a move. Sometimes they are tempted by opportunity: making more money, getting attention or impressing a boss. There are rare instances where someone just does something new because it makes sense. Usually because it seems like a tempting opportunity. The way to answer the question about getting started, is to look where you are. Compare what you are doing with the rest of your environment: personal, work, school and social world.
What Can You Do? and How Well?
In today’s technology rat race, you can evaluate your adoption by what kind of computer or phone you have, your proficiency and skill level at certain ares (writing, publishing, programming), what applications (i.e. mobile apps) you use? what is your engagement of peers or customers (how do interact directly and in social media)? and even your individual (or company work) identity (i.e. thought leadership, personal branding).
What Do You Know? How Do You Work?
Starting with “what is on your hard disk” (Apple asked this in an ad about the iPod years ago) evaluate what you know. From books to digital publications, what do you read? How is your knowledge expressed in your work? Is the news and evolution of ideas and trends a part of your professional and personal life? The technology world is made up of many non purely technical professions (i.e. programmers, designers, operators, technicians). The work they do from management to marketing is crucial to keep products and markets running. Here knowledge and experience is just as useful as technical skills like programming. Researching, seeing market trends, analyzing leading companies (i.e. case studies) is crucial to making companies effective. The same goes for keeping up with market trends: consumer preferences, market changes, regulatory and policy changes are all crucial to keeping a technology company moving.
What Changed (for You)?
If you go back even a few years, you will remember a change. It could be the way you communicated with people and their response. It could be the effectiveness of your work. I heard many people say that suddenly everything went quiet. I also heard a few times people tell me: the people who know us, still call and respond, but we are not getting anyone new. In a well respected electronic control company with hundreds of machine automation and robotic customers, they missed the drone (UAV) technology era. They are still not clear why.
To recap, if you think it’s too late for you to start, or you are not sure how “far back” you are in your professional ability: evaluate your skills, assess your knowledge and summarize your experience. Compare your work to the environment you see around you. Also look at other professional’s skills and recent work, LinkedIn is a good place to start. Even if you are not updated your skills recently, it does not mean you can’t get started b learning. If a decision to start a long (usually formal) training program is holding you back, start by doing your own work, testing the water, assessing your specific environment (competitors, peers, similar organizations). There is more than programming and editing graphics in today’s world. Also, pay attention to your knowledge, keep up with trends and techniques. Read and understand the way the business-technology world works today.