Throughout my 20 years in IT, I learned a lot by following a daily routine. Between all my jobs over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge (some good, some bad) in this head of mine. I’ve leveraged this knowledge to progress in my career, and to increase my income. Potential employers loved to see lots of experience on my resume, and every time I jumped to another job I saw a 10% or more bump in salary.
However, unbeknownst to me, I held the golden ticket to more significant opportunities locked away in my noggin — my knowledge. On a whim, I started a public blog about my work. I felt that if I could step away from the daily grind and document my successes, it could act as both documentation for myself, and a helpful guide for others. It’s a win-win!
In addition to blogging, I started tweeting about the topics that interested me and some of the unique scenarios I encountered. In short order, it took off. Google picked it up, and I was soon answering questions about all kinds of IT topics. It was so rewarding! But it didn’t end there. Suddenly I was teaching online courses, presenting tech demonstrations on YouTube, and writing on other sites. I was hooked! Fast-forward four years, and I have multiple online courses published, a YouTube channel, a complete eBook and a print book due out next year. Times have changed. My knowledge paid off!
Contributing to a community
Throughout my knowledge-sharing journey, I learned a crucial lesson — first, give back with no expectation of payment. I didn’t start out making money from my knowledge. I wanted to share it with others. Being around like-minded people is intoxicating. It motivates me to do more and push harder and connect with others. Through these connections, I build friendships and comradery, but also put myself in a position to unlock more opportunities. Through my community connections, I found a job making double what my previous job paid. Being part of a community allows you to help others, make friends and potentially make career advancements in the process.
My community is IT. Geeks tend to be introverts. Lack of self-confidence makes a difficult barrier to sharing knowledge. Many people in my community think they’re not good enough. They may believe everyone already knows what they’re going to talk about — or have any number of other reasons to avoid speaking up. These reasons come down to one thing — lack of self-confidence.
To share your knowledge means exposing yourself, even if just a little. To write a blog post, record a screencast and post it on YouTube, or reply to a question on a forum opens you up to some level of criticism. Some random, anonymous person on the Internet may try to discredit your statements. But, in my experience, those haters make up less than 1% of the feedback you will receive.
Nearly all of the people you interact with online will be appreciative you took the time to share your thoughts. They will thank you for helping them with a problem. You know lots of things others do not. Never assume that whatever knowledge you have is common. You have valuable knowledge to share!
Screencasting as a knowledge-sharing tool
Sharing knowledge boils down to contributing content in three forms — written, audio, and/or video. Numerous studies show that video makes the most impact online. Whether it’s an iPhone video demonstrating how to make the perfect basket underwater, or a recording of your computer screen while narrating (known as a screencast), video grabs attention. Attention spans are short. Video captures and keeps that attention by providing movement and interesting/entertaining audio. It’s a lot easier to close a browser tab with a bunch of text rather than seeing constant action in a video!
Screencasting, in particular, works powerfully for my niche. Since 100% of the content I produce is on the computer, screencasting is key for me. Screencasting helps me explain complicated technical scenarios much easier than the written word (especially with the right screencasting tools). People are visual beings. If you can help them visualize what a solution may look like, they will better understand your message.
Introducing TechSnips: A training platform
TechSnips is a training platform for anyone with techy knowledge that allows you to contribute short screencasts about your area of expertise, and get paid for them. If you share knowledge via video, you could use a platform like YouTube, but you’ll find that you’re amongst a sea of content (some good and some bad). Differentiating yourself is hard.
A platform like TechSnips works differently than YouTube because all training screencasts are professionally edited at no cost to you. You also become part of a community of like-minded techies you can learn from and make connections with. It’s like being in an exclusive club. Being a part of a community like the TechSnips contributor community will help promote your content, and you will get paid in the process.
If you’d like more information about how to share your knowledge, I encourage you first to check out my recent session, How to Accelerate Your Career and Others by Proving You’re a Badass. I wanted to inspire others to share knowledge and reap the benefits. It covers everything we’ve gone over here and shows you my rise in the ranks by sharing my experience and getting involved in a community.
Not sure where to get started? TechSmith Academy is full of courses for people to level-up their video and visual communication skills. You can find free courses about all areas of video including: scripting, lighting, editing, audio, and post-production! Check out TechSmith Academy