I get asked all the time for advice from new bloggers. So I wanted to turn this question out to the bloggers.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in blogging?
John Karalis - Red's Army
Do it for the right reasons, and stick to it.
If you're in it to get famous like Bill Simmons... don't bother. You won't. A few of us have gone on to good gigs and some of those might rise to even higher heights. But like the NBA, there are a very select few who get there.
If you're in it to get rich... don't bother. You won't. The jobs don't pay well at all, and even the guys who are blogging for "name" entities aren't exactly raking it in. In fact, writing in general isn't going to give you the glamorous life.
No, if you're going to do this, do it because you love it. Do it because you love to write (or talk, if you're podcasting), and because you love the subject matter. If that's why you do it, you'll be OK.
Also, just remember a few things when it comes to writing and blogging (blogging especially):
- You're going to write a crappy piece, or multiple crappy pieces. No matter who you are or what you think of yourself, you're going to write at least a couple of total pieces of garbage. People will relentlessly remind you of this in the comments. Don't let it deter you. Sometimes you'll shoot 5-30 in a game. The great players will keep shooting, and eventually their shooting percentage looks good. Yours will too.
- You're going to write an amazing piece, or multiple amazing pieces. You will work hard on them, they'll be well researched, and they'll shine above all else posted on that day. And no one will care. You'll refresh the page looking for comments. You'll look to see how many times the link is retweeted. And you'll be disappointed. It happens. Side note: If you put out an awesome piece and it does get a ton of traction, don't get cocky. Just like the 5-30 game, you'll have a 15-for-16, 45 point night here and there too. Just remember, your shooting percentage will always average out.
- You're going to throw something stupid onto a site sometime just for fun and without putting in more than maybe 5-10 minutes of effort. It will be the most-clicked-on piece for your site you've ever seen, and it will be linked EVERYWHERE. You'll say to yourself "No one cared about my 5,000 word masterpiece, but THIS gets traffic?" Welcome to the internet. BLOGGING!!
So just write what you love, and keep doing it until you find your voice. If someone you respect can read you and give you a tip here and there, then great. But the bottom line is just keep doing it.
Kevin O'Connor - CelticsBlog
Three main things: 1. Develop your voice, 2. Be open to criticism, 3. Embrace conversation. Developing your voice is important because it differentiates you from everyone else doing their own thing. This doesn't mean you can't take hints from other styles, but do what you can to make it your own. I think openness to criticism is extremely important, and this can also be self-imposed criticism if you're in an environment where you aren't receiving it externally. Always critique your own work and look for ways to improve by reading other articles on different teams or topics. And this is a biased suggestion, but embrace conversation. What got you into writing in the first place? More than likely, it's the satisfaction you feel from conversing about sports with friends. So, don't lose that feeling once you enter into the blogosphere. I continue to converse with everyone on Twitter and CelticsBlog because I love conversation and debate, but also because I want to forever stay grounded, and one way to do that is to stay in conversation with the readers, because their opinions can be just as valuable and interesting as yours or any other blogger.
Nick Gelso - CLNS Radio
Oh wow! Ditto Jeff. That's probably #2 question I get asked most, only second to being asked advise on podcasting...
Both answers are similar. I usually tell people that ask those questions the same thing...
Be patient: You're audience, skills, and show/writing "personality" develops over-time. As does your audience. I think for the first 3 months I had North Station Sports, I was getting around 10 people visiting my site per day, and I knew all 10 of them. Fact was, I wasn't writing for them, I was writing for ME. I was writing my opinions on a topic I loved - the Boston Celtics. At that time, it wasn't for locker room access, it wasn't for money or for making friends with the "top tier" Celtics Bloggers. I was really blogging bc I was passionate about it, because I loved to do it. I still love to do it.
That's the #1 piece of advise I give people when they ask. I can go on to give you the other 99 tid-bits of advice but I think Jeff would not publish it all, therefor, I'll stop there. haha.
I would like to thank Jeff Clark and the entire community at CelticsBlog for making me, and the CLNS Radio family always feel so welcome. Oh...and thanks for including me in this interview series! Go Celtics!
Bill Sy - CelticsBlog
Have a voice. A lot of fans can scream and yell at the top of their lungs about their team, but if you have a voice, you'll be heard. Don't just regurgitate information and parrot opinions from talking heads. There is just so much information out there at your fingertips that you can do your research and put together a well thought piece. And remember there are no rules; as long as you care about what you're writing and you put that passion on the page, you'll be fine. If the best way to get your point across is to envision the starting line-up of your team as the characters from Top Gun or you have to spend all night combing through NBA.com/stats to find the right GIF, there is no wrong way to do it.
I'd like to thank each of these bloggers for their thoughtful responses. Check them out at the links above.