Why you should turn your conference talk into a blog post

If you’re a software engineer who has presented a conference talk, it’s definitely worth writing it up into a blog post and sharing it at a relevant Subreddit (like r/programming), DEV.to, and Hacker News

You’ll certainly get your ideas in front of more people—on the Internet, text still travels faster than podcasts or YouTube (on average)—and can draw more people into the conference talk itself. 

Outside of authoring Creative Doing, I’m also the editorial director of Wonder Shuttle, where my team and I have helped organizations like Shopify, Flipp, and Wealthsimple coach and collaborate with engineering teams on their writing at their engineering blogs. I’ve seen a blog post published at Medium get over 100x more views than the corresponding conference talk at YouTube.

If you want to DIY, here are some ways to speed up the writing process:

  • If you recorded it, get your presentation transcribed and use the transcription as a first draft. Edit and rewrite it from there. (You’ll probably need to cut a lot of words!) 
  • If you didn’t record it, just take an hour and present it again and record yourself this time. (I prefer Otter. Or click this referral link if you want to support my work.) Present it to a rubber duck
  • Or, if you want to sharpen your writing skills, reference your deck and write it up an outline, then expand that outline into paragraphs. I’ve written about how to write faster here. You can also warm up using copywork.
  • When in doubt, just make it an introduction and your thesis, three supporting points, and then a conclusion. That’s a good starting point—not necessarily what your final draft will look like though.
  • Circulate it to your colleagues or peers for editing.
  • If you’re too busy to edit, hire a freelance editor to restructure the transcription into a blog post. You’ll want to make sure they’re a technical editor, or at least somewhat technically literate, unless the piece is very general about leadership. You should still revise it after they turn it back over, obviously.
  • Publish it at Medium, so you don’t need to set up or maintain a blog. I’ve written there for 9 years now.
  • Share it! I’ve written about how to distribute your writing. Michael Lynch has a quick, helpful, course on promoting your work

If the opportunity cost to write a blog post is high (e.g., If you know an engineer or eng leader who is a slow writer who dislikes the process, who is blocked, and will take months to put a blog post together—if ever!), please feel free to send my team at Wonder Shuttle a message.

P.S., If you read this and aren’t an engineer, pat yourself on the back for making it all the way down here. And, you should still definitely turn your speech into a blog post. Did you know Gary Vaynerchuk’s debut business book Crush It! started as a talk at Web 2.0 Expo 2008?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *