Every single admin has valuable knowledge to share.
Whether it’s recommending a brand new app, a helpful Excel tip or how to handle a situation with a difficult coworker, there is so much we can learn from each other.
If you have ever considered starting a blog, the founder of Administrative Sparkle and myself are here to share our top tips to help encourage you to go for it!
Advice from Administrative Sparkle:
Real estate is your online presence, brand, and personality that you wish to convey to your readership, fans, followers, prospective employers and the rest of the world. In essence, your website is your online real estate that is yours where you hang your shingle for the world to view your resume, CV, and the repository of your work and talents.
Choose WordPress, bar none! There are many new competitors coming out all the time saying they are comparable or better than WordPress. WordPress itself is free and “Open Source,” which means it is always being updated and relevant. The cost is in the hosting and WordPress is the platform.
Using WordPress.org (Wordpress.com is not the same thing; similar, but still not the same) requires that you have a paid host. When negotiating features (that affects the cost of hosting), opt for https over http for security reasons. Https was developed by Netscape Corporation to allow authorization and secured transactions. Determine the extra cost based on the level of security you are comfortable providing your clients, visitors, and as the website owner.
In the beginning of your venture into blogging, start out with a free theme. You will discover what you like and don’t like along the way. You will find out quickly if it works for you or not, but don’t rule them out especially when you are first starting out. Initially, they teach you how to navigate Wordpress until you have developed your taste and style.
My point… you don’t need to break the bank! Pay for the host and extra security of https. Start with all the free stuff. There is a lot of stuff that you can get sucked into buying that will elevate the cost of owning a website. Initially, you just need to hang your shingle. Click the link for a resource on the most essential Wordpress plugins to get your website setup and secure.
Content writing tools - Grammarly and Word
In utilizing one or both of these tools, you will be checking for (the obvious) spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. BUT, in Word, you also have access to thesaurus and readability statistics; which, aside from the counts and averages, provides Flesch Reading Ease, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, and passive sentences scores (must be activated in your preferences). Grammarly provides proofreading and plagiarism-detection resources and functionality that extends into your communications on the internet.
A LOT. The more you read, the more you learn how to write. Reading all genres of books helps you discover your voice. Writing and journaling books are great resources to teach you the elements of writing; online articles teach you elements of presentation; and reading, in general, expands your knowledge base, vocabulary, and written and oral communication skills.
The more you write, the better you get. It is the only way you will develop and evolve your voice. You may start out emulating someone you admire, but your personality and style will begin to shine through over time. Consistency is key. As you develop a following, your readership will grow on you and start looking forward to your next installment.
Post your articles everywhere! This includes the typical social media promotions (see below as Christina describes in much better detail). In addition to your website, post your article on LinkedIn and become an influencer on Medium.com. This will expand your reach and audience.
Once you start feeling comfortable with your writing - and even if you don’t - consider contacting administrative websites (and others that your knowledge can influence) to contribute an article. You will be tapping into an already established tribe that may resonate with what and how you write.
If you have the opportunity of someone asking you to write, interview, or collaborate on an article, JUMP at the chance.
Advice from Tips for Assistants:
Share knowledge- the tips can be big or small!
I’ve sat through week-long trainings that drastically changed how I went about my use of Excel and learned other 10-second tiny tweaks that have had just as huge of an impact on my productivity. Sometimes just learning about a brand new app can be a game changer. All tips can be helpful, so don’t worry if your tips aren’t big enough!
On a related note, share your experiences. That is where the most unique tips come from. Maybe you came up with a creative solution to a unique problem, were successful in dealing with a challenging coworker, managed to execute an event using the most creative theme ever; the sky is really the limit! I do want to point out that if you’ve learned a great lesson from making a mistake, I especially recommend turning that into a post. Sometimes assistants struggle with feeling alone, which can especially happen when we make an error, so help others learn how you recovered from a slip-up. We all crave that feeling of camaraderie, and experiential knowledge sharing really helps with that.
Keep your tone positive
We all have bad days, however, a website is out there for the world to see. Keep in the back of your mind that anyone (a future employer perhaps?) might read the content on your site, so don’t throw anyone under the bus, use your blog as a platform to complain or anything else negative. In the same vein, try to save writing days for when you are in a good mood as that energy will come through to your audience.
Keep confidential items private
Don’t discuss confidential items in articles unless you have received consent from the other party. A lot of times there are wonderful first-hand experiences to share so I recommend keeping the name of the person, company, any identifying personal information, etc. private. This is especially the case if you have signed an NDA in your employment agreement.
I’m going to second this - Use WordPress!
At the expense of sounding redundant, use WordPress! I created my website on Wix because I wanted something easy and didn’t think I would need any in-depth functionality (I’ve also dabbled on Weebly in the past for the same reason). I was dead wrong! To change my website over to WordPress to get the missing functionality I now need is going to be a huge task and one I am not looking forward to. You might think that all you need is the blog function now, but you don’t want to limit yourself should you decide to get creative and add on other functionalities down the road (and believe me, you will).
Optimize your titles
When you are taking the time to share your advice, increase your chances of its reach by optimizing the titles of your blog posts. When you are first starting out it’s hard to know what compromises a compelling title, so I recommending checking out CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. Also, if you are getting used to title case, check out Capitalize My Title to have yours automatically adjusted. The last thing you want to do is invest the time in writing an awesome post and have the title kill it and end up limiting its reach.
Commit to social media
If your goal is to become a regular blogger and gain followers, regular presence on social media is needed. However, I recommending interacting with followers, not just posting your own articles. Post links to your favorite articles by other admin bloggers, comment your follower’s updates, retweet a tweet that lifts up the admin profession, click like on a peer’s LinkedIn update; I think you get the picture. The point is that it needs to feel like a two-way street developing online relationships, not simply you only throwing your own article links out there.
Post articles consistently
Once you have an established blog, you will need to think about consistency. If you want visitors to return to your blog regularly, then having a regular posting schedule is key. I recommend posting a quality article once a week (at a minimum). This is not a one-size-fits-all deal, though; it really depends on the kind of blog you are setting up and the type of advice you are dispensing. My articles are long and take me several hours to complete; others might share shorter pieces of information which might give you the bandwidth to post multiple times a week. You will need to feel out what works best for your blog but just make sure you are being consistent.
If you know of a peer that has stellar advice that has been interested in setting up a professional blog, spread the word! Share this article and help to get more tips out to our profession as a whole.
Layne has worked in the administrative field for over 20 years. She is the "go-to" when it comes to figuring out processes and procedures and showing others how to use technology and programs that make the job efficient, creative, and fun! Layne’s mission is to inspire and empower others. She lives in Georgia with her daughter and their two dogs, Honey and Lucy.
You can connect with Layne on the following platforms: