Fellow EMVP Jon made some very good points in this recent post , and the story of his journey was both enjoyable and familiar. I thought I'd follow up with some additional tips for getting into the right mindset. Hopefully, I'm still an EMVP by the time you read this - but if I'm not, feel free to disregard this whole post as bad advice!
1. When you're pursuing EMVP status
Start talking about Episerver already!
Doesn't matter if it's your company blog, a personal blog hosted on Wordpress, or a blog account on Episerver World.
As long as you are putting something useful out there, it's your content that counts, not the platform.
I'll make one crystal clear recommendation though:
Make sure your Episerver-related posts are syndicated to Episerver World. There's a potential built-in audience of 30.000+ registered, like-minded users there, and new blog posts are being shared by keyEpiserverstaff on social media. In fact - if you know any Episerver bloggers who are not syndicating to World, go tell them they're missing out (and so are we).
If blogging isn't your thing, try jumping into discussions on Twitter or blog comments, speaking at various events, or just socialize with other people doing Episerver stuff. You'll find you have a lot to contribute, a lot to learn, and inspiration will rub off both ways. Getting to know people also helps get your name (and face) out there, which is not to be underestimated. Don't hesitate to engage other EMVPs in conversation online or offline!
Don't overthink it - find your niche
Not all your posts have to showcase bleeding-edge technology, introduce a definitive project framework, or provide a never-before-seen solution to a use case. In reality, those posts are few and far between.
There are lots of people looking for add-on guides, improvement suggestions, tutorials that fill gaps in documentation, or general thought leadership for best practices. Helping to cover every aspect of Episerver as thoroughly as possible is a win-win for everyone.
If you're the king of configuring Episerver Find at your company, write about that. If you're the go-to guy for CRM integrations, people are interested in your advice. If you have comparable experience with other CMS, use that to highlight improvement potential. The only real requirement is that you're producing interesting, valuable content, not just regurgitated basics.
It's about visibility - not seniority
Frankly, the number of years you've been working on Episerver sites is irrelevant. Doesn't matter if you've done 1 or 100 projects.
You could be the rock star developer of your team, and yet - if your knowledge is not being shared with the community, you're not becoming an EMVP. It's not a loyalty bonus program. However, when you're sharing on a regular basis, you're on the track towards a nomination.
There's no denying my own development skills are getting pwned on a daily basis by my awesome colleagues at Epinova. But since I had a passion for writing blogs as well as code, that proved decisive in landing me an EMVP status. So now, with my foot in the door at Episerver, I went from just plain idiot, to USEFUL idiot, for our company.
EMVP status is not reserved for developers only. It's for anyone sharing valuable information that helps customers choose Episerver, and be successful with their implementations. That means anyone doing sales, training, speaking, content, design OR development. As a professional, your contributions to the community can be valuable no matter which role your career has led you into.
Update: As of Feb 2017, the EMVP program introduced a new category for those who have transitioned from the technical side to the business side.
Target a wider audience
Most developers tend to focus their blogging efforts on very specific technical issues they come across in projects they're working on. That's a good natural source for blog material, and a great way to help build a collective knowledge base that the official docs couldn't possibly cover on their own.
But why limit yourself to only targeting fellow developers? People involved with Episerver range from developers, to architects, to content strategists, to system administrators, to end-users (editors/marketers/merchandisers), to stakeholders making purchase decisions. Surely after a few projects, you'll have enough experience in several of those areas to share some thoughts about it.
It doesn't all have to be polished marketing and sunshine stories - some of the most interesting posts are discussions on challenges and hard lessons learned in real-life projects.
As Jon made perfectly clear in his post, you have to be consistently active to be eligible for EMVP nomination. This means spread evenly throughout at least a full calendar year - a burst of activity in December doesn't cut it.
If you want specifics on the kind of activity required, take a look at my community stats blog series (from 2012 onwards). The top of that list is naturally dominated by EMVPs, but getting into that list isn't an impossible task. (It should be one of your goals, though.)
2. After you reach EMVP status
Keep your activity up - use it or lose it!
I get it - you've run the marathon and crossed the finish line, and you just want to lie down and rest for a little while. That's OK, you've done well, enjoy the moment.
But this is where you separate the ones who ran the marathon out of passion, from those who ran out of obligation.
I've ranted before about the typical activity drop after reaching a milestone (like EMVP status). Episerver are reviewing EMVP activity and will revoke status for those who are no longer contributing at the required level (although retaining EMVP is a little too easy in my eyes - a few blog posts now and then). I think Episerver should make EMVPs work harder to keep their status. None of us are automatically entitled to the status just because they've been long in the game.
When even the legendary Joel Abrahamsson was axed, no one should rest on their laurels.
Be an ambassador - but not a blind follower
Being an EMVP, you are expected to portray Episerver in a favorable light when you can. Pitch the benefits of the Episerver platform to potential clients. Help promote new releases, events and industry recognition. This is good business sense anyway, since your company is likely doing well when Episerver is doing well.
However, this does not mean you should become their parrot, echoing everything. You've earned the right to ask questions beyond the glossy marketing, influence roadmap plans, and provide suggestions.