I am very excited to introduce this week’s visitor to QUAKE Books HQ, Antonio Cangiano, author of Technical Blogging, blogger over at Programming Zen and the man indirectly behind the professional and sleek headquarters you are currently enjoying.
Without further ado, this interview is for all those QUAKE Books Agent out there looking to establish themselves as a blogger…
1. Antonio, as you know I am huge fan of your book, as it was THE book that helped give our headquarters the slickness and efficiency we enjoy today. For the sake of our newer recruits however, could you first tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to write a technical blogging book?
I’m a software developer and technical evangelist with IBM. I’m passionate about programming but, perhaps uncharacteristically, I also enjoy marketing. Over the years I’ve started several blogs, some of which are still online over a decade later. I experienced first-hand the incredible benefits you can achieve when skills meet large exposure. You can do great work, but if nobody knows about it, you won’t maximize your potential. I wrote Technical Blogging with the intention to fix that.
2. What kind of people should read Technical Blogging and what would they learn from it?
Having seen developers and other highly technical people struggle with their careers due to their inexperience (or aversion) when it comes to marketing themselves, I figured I would write a book that specifically targeted this audience.
Yes, there are certainly other books about blogging out there, but rather than write a book for the general population, I decided to specifically speak to programmers, engineers, and startup founders.
My examples, and the language I use, are highly relevant to such technical individuals, though truth be told, the book is still general enough to be of use for anyone who is serious about starting a blog. From the book they’ll derive a roadmap on how to go from zero to an established name within the community of their choosing.
3. What are the two biggest mistakes bloggers, particularly those who have never run a blog before make? How can they limit such mistakes or at least reduce their impact?
I would argue that the two biggest mistakes are related to each other. The biggest mistake is being too broad. Rather than focusing on a topic, people tend to cover too much of a spectrum from the very beginning, and as a result, they run the risk of not really be appealing to any reader.
And the second mistake is not broadcasting through your domain name, title, design elements, etc, what your blog is about and who it is for. I say it’s related to the first point because it’s hard to make a compelling argument that your blog is a must read when your content is all over the place.
4. What advice do you wish you had received on launching your first blog? How would that have changed the game for you?
I wish I had discovered the importance of newsletters and aggressively promoted sign ups years ago. Had I done that, I would probably be living off blogging by now. 🙂 The money is truly in the list.
5. How do you see the future of blogging? Is the market saturated? Will there ever be too many blogs? What will the future blogger’s role be to generate change in society, if any?
I think blogging is a slower medium than, say, Twitter or other (newer) emerging forms of social media.
This has some disadvantages. For example, it requires more effort for both the author and the reader. And it’s easier to break news on Twitter where people are quick to retweet you.
However, the conversation has far more depth on blogs. It’s a longer term investment. As such, I don’t see blogging going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon. There will always be room for interesting and informative content that’s being published with regularity by a voice that you trust or are familiar with.
I don’t think that the market is saturated. If anything, blogging appears to be in slight decline, but personally, I’m not worried about it. Blogging will transform itself perhaps, but as more people abandon it in search of instant gratification elsewhere, there will be more room for people to stand out and influence their large audiences.
6. Apart from your own book, which books do you recommend to enhance a blogger’s understanding of marketing, business and writing skills/ideas?
Two authors I like when it comes to modern day marketing are Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.
My suggestion, however, is to not limit yourself to books that are about marketing (though those are useful, too, of course).
Blogs are read by humans. Understand humans and you’ll understand blogging. Read about art, biographies, self-help, business, popular science, etc.
7. Seeing as this is QUAKE Books. Do you have a QUAKE Book? What does the book say about you?
I’m a prolific reader, so I’ve read many books that I would classify as QUAKE books. Three recent ones that really resonated with me are:
* Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
* The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
* The Originals by Adam Grant
I think the effect that these books had on me clearly points out that I’m the kind of person who actively seeks to improve themselves, make an impact on the world, and consciously aims to eliminate cognitive biases.
I also like to think that Technical Blogging is a QUAKE book. Not just because it’s on your site :), but also from the feedback I’ve received from my readers. It seems to have really affected people for the best, opening them up to some possibilities they hadn’t considered. And that’s all I can really ask for. I think this says that I’m a person who loves to share their insight and who is not afraid to face a tough crowd, especially if doing so can benefit them.
Thank you so much Antonio for agreeing to this interview. I really hope my Agents achieve as much as I did with your book and find your insights here helpful.