In this newsletter, we’ll cover the 5 essential steps you need to take to successfully share your data analysis work online.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to:
- Build a strong personal brand as a data analyst
- Gain visibility and recognition in the data analysis community
- Attract potential employers or clients with your impressive portfolio
- Avoid common mistakes that can hinder your success in sharing your work online
Here’s the step-by-step:
Step 1: Participate in Data Analytics Community Challenges
Joining challenges is the #1 way that I connected with people in the #datafam.
For me, it was Makeover Monday, a weekly challenge where a data visualization and the data set is shared with the community. Then everyone tries to recreate the data visualization using their own creativity. The visualizations are then reviewed and shared and talked about within the community.
Not only is it fun, but it’s a great learning opportunity!
Here are a few to check out:
- Iron Quest
- Diversity in Data
- Back 2 Viz Basics
- Makeover Monday
- Workout Wednesday
- Storytelling With Data Challenge
Note: most of these are Tableau-oriented, but you can use any data viz tool – or even Excel!
Here’s my very first community challenge from more than 6 years ago!
Since then, I’ve participated many times and met a TON of awesome people in the data community.
When you participate in a challenge like this, sharing your work with others online becomes super easy.
Step 2: Learn How To Write Data-Driven Stories That Bring Your Data to Life
Writing data-driven stories helps you connect with your audience and make your work stick in their mind more.
And when you write well about your projects, more people want to read.
My #1 tip if you want to learn how to write well is to subscribe to the Start Writing Online newsletter (free), written by Dickie Bush and Nicholas Cole. Better yet, join their course.
Beyond that, here’s where you can focus your attention on data projects:
- Headlines: grab people’s attention
- Storytelling: let them know why they should care
- Copywriting: permanently get your ideas into their brains
I wrote a lot more about the 3 pillars of data analyst writing skills here (free)
And with data storytelling, I compiled the best resources into a Twitter thread to help you level up your skills:
Step 3: Use Social Media to Your Advantage
People love to complain about social media.
But when you use it to your advantage, there’s an infinite amount of upside.
There are two types of data analysts:
- action takers
People that love sitting on the sidelines, never participating will end up watching opportunities come and go.
But action takers don’t just save tutorials and watch YouTube videos.
When action-takers learn something new, they share it with others.
And social media is a place where you can reach thousands of people for free.
Last August, I got really serious about sharing what I know and what I learn online with others.
And since then, my audience has grown 1276% from 850 to more than 11,700 on Twitter.
Here are a few tips if you’re just getting started.
- Consistency is key: people are more likely to follow you if you share regularly
- Quality is important: don’t believe the myth that you have to share something mind-blowing. You don’t. But when you share, try to make it useful to at least 1 person out there. For example use a clean screenshot from your computer instead of a phone camera picture that’s tilted, out of focus, and smudgy. That’s not helpful.
Avoid being too promotional or spammy, and make sure to engage with your followers and respond to comments and questions.
By focusing on consistency and quality, people will start to know, like, and trust your work.
Step 4: Share Your Work on Forums and Communities
Sharing on social media is great and it’s something I do every single day.
But you can also find smaller forums and communities with data professionals to get meaningful feedback on your work.
Get started with the communities listed above, but also seek out other data communities for specific feedback on your projects.
4 tips to get meaningful feedback you can actually use:
- Be clear about the feedback you want
- Get feedback from different people
- Be open to constructive criticism
- If you update your work based on feedback from someone, let them know!
If you aren’t regularly getting feedback on your work, you’ll miss out on so many opportunities
- improving your work
- identifying blind spots
- uncovering potential errors
- making the same mistakes over and over
- limiting your ability to grow in your data career
Sharing with others publicly is a great way to practice getting constructive criticism without the fear that you’re going to get fired or something at work.
Step 5: Continuously Learn and Improve Your Skills
There’s always something new to learn about data.
And that’s what I love about this industry! But if you aren’t sharing your work online, you’re missing out. Because there’s always someone out there that knows more about a topic than you.
There’s no single expert in data.
For example, I love the data analytics tool called Alteryx (I wrote an entire eBook on it). But it’s a very expensive tool. There are other similar tools out there, but I have felt that nothing compares to Alteryx.
Because this conversation happened online, I was reminded of KNIME (a free tool, similar to Alteryx) and found that a friend of mine in the Twitter data community knows it very well! So because I shared online, I now have a better connection with someone and can reach out to him with questions when I’m ready to learn that tool.
It doesn’t ALL have to be posting mind-blowing tips and tricks.
Just share what you’re learning or what’s on your mind and keep connecting with people in a real way.
Don’t overthink it or overcomplicate it.
That’s it for today.
Here are the 5 steps:
- Step 1: participate in challenges
- Step 2: learn how to write well
- Step 3: be smart about social media
- Step 4: get meaningful feedback (and apply it to your work!)
- Step 5: always be improving