Every communication should have a URL

by Brian Doll on January 23, 2020

I was sharing these blogging tips with a client this morning and decided to take my own advice!

Every communication should have a URL

This was a key maxim at GitHub that is essential for remote and fast-moving teams, but has an equally important role in customer communication.

That long-form email you just sent to a single customer in a support ticket? That should be a blog post.

That scree of threads and late-night musings posted in that Slack channel? That should be a blog post.

That sales collateral you just built for that one company? That should be available on your website to everyone (minus a few details, probably).

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URLs are durable, accessible, re-usable, and searchable. Every communication should have a URL.

Tip of the hat to @maddox for cheerleading this concept for years, and to Ben Balter, who has a great writeup on this idea. Kyle Neath’s URL Design blog post is worth your time, too.

Make every communication as public as possible

This pairs well with the earlier point. If you’re already putting the effort in to produce some sort of communication, make sure to expose that work to the broadest audience possible.

That’s the second reason why that long support email should be a blog post. You’ll help more people, folks can discover it on their own, and for all future instances of that question, you can respond with a link.

That amazing Discord thread? Write a brief summary for your blog and link to it.

That sales collateral you just posted? Share it on your social channels and start a conversation.

Make. Some. Noise.

Velocity Matters, Post Everything

A fabled startup mantra goes: Do things, Tell people. Most teams aren’t doing that, though. We build build build build build build build build build build build build build and then maybe there’s one blog post. And we’re bummed it doesn’t get the traction it should.

Beyond the specific content of a single post, another thing folks are looking for when they check out your content is this… is this thing on? Is this company shipping? What is happening here?

If it is worth building, it’s worth telling people about. This is akin to Amazon’s fabled “press release driven development” process, which asks engineers to produce a public-facing document describing the value a certain project will have to customers, before they are allowed to build it.

In the spirit of building velocity and “Do things, Tell people”, consider doing just that. Not a long thoughtful post about how this will change the world - just tell people wht you built. For inspiration, and a great example of high-impact low-effort blogging, check out the announcement post when GitHub shipped Pull Requests. There have been dozens of posts since then on Pull Requests, but this is the one that launched it. Build things, tell people.