Many readers have asked me this question. Let me explain the rationale behind it.
For those who don’t know, I write about all Microsoft Office Products. However, I don’t follow a particular pattern. I write articles which I feel like writing. Here is why…
How did I start
I have been conducting live sessions about various Microsoft technologies since 20 years. Since last 11 years, I am focused only on Office platform.
During this period I have interacted with 230,000+ professionals (at the time of writing this article). Obviously I observe how people work, they ask me lot of questions, I audit and analyze the data and documents of various customers.
This gives me a sense of what is missing, which topics are desperately needed, which piece of knowledge will make a wide as well as long lasting impact.
This is why I started writing a blog. To document the reusable pieces of information and knowledge I was gathering over this period.
Copy Paste is the second most important action performed while using Office – globally. Therefore, I started the blog with 14 articles about Copy Paste… Then I continued to write what I felt were the top topics which people were ignorant about.
How I DO NOT choose topics
I have no intention to write another detailed version of Help file! Help in Office is quite comprehensive – though difficult to search. I am not attempting to rewrite help.
Nor am I intending to write about all the features OR only obscure features.
I DO NOT choose topics by looking at what is trending or what’s new or what’s hot. I am not affected by current hype or fashion. Office is being used by masses for 20+ years. Therefore, current events and topics play only a partial role in making people more efficient.
I do NOT look at blogs / content / books / web sites managed by other MVPs or famous authors to get ideas.
Although I work very closely with Microsoft teams in multiple countries, I have not received any requests from them suggesting me to write about a particular topic or issue – in my entire career. That shows the level of professionalism Microsoft maintains globally.
How do I choose topics
In one sentence, I choose topics where I have seen direct evidence of inefficiency during my day to day work. I work with different customers, industries and roles across the globe almost on a daily basis.
This exposes me to a wide range of topics and usage scenarios. I am always on the lookout for something which will be useful to all Office users. It could be a very specific thing which applies to all users – because it is a common need. Or it could be a generic thought which can be adapted by users to their own context.
In either case, it has mass appeal. So I take the seed idea and write about it.
Nowadays, there is another source of ideas for writing articles. Yammer network. There are Yammer Customer Network and Office 365 Technical Network. Both these networks are sizzling with activity. Customers, MVPs and Microsoft team are a part of these large groups.
People post their queries, experiences and opinions there. Reading those gives me ideas about some areas which need more explanation, authoritative guidance or practical simplification. These lead to good and useful posts.
Of course there is another source – my own previous articles. Very often, at the end of an article I mention that I will soon write some more detailed or continuation or related article. That is pending work. So I often go back to my articles and look for such opportunities as well.
Customer / Reader Requests
Now I have a good base of customers as well as readers. They keep suggesting topics of their interest. These are the best ideas for writing articles. Because these have come from practical needs of those users.
When I realize that many related articles have accumulated, I combine them into a single article called Knowledge Pack. This is just a list of related topics in recommended order of reading (although the articles may not have been published in that order).
Here are some knowledge packs I have published so far:
Weekend Reading: Copy Paste: Knowledge Pack
Knowledge Pack: Using the Mouse
Knowledge Pack: High Impact Demos and Presentations using ZOOM
Knowledge Pack: Data Accuracy in Excel
Knowledge Pack – Grouping Data (Text, Numbers and Dates)
Knowledge Pack: Data Analytics
Sometimes I publish a list of articles about a specific product – in no particular order (or in the order of publication) – this is called a reading list.
I plan to write multiple series about lot of topics. Coming soon: Power Pivot, Power View, PowerPoint Animation and SmartArt.