Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beating the blogger blues

Well done for finding this article. No really, well done. This is just one of over 250 articles on Football Fairground and one of millions upon millions of blog articles being published on the web each and every day. How you found this piece is anyone’s guess.

Actually, it’s worth having a guess. Perhaps you reached this page via a message on Twitter? Maybe you had Football Fairground on your RSS Feed list? Could it be conceivable that you found it via a Google search? However you found this page, it’s fair to say you did so against all the odds. With every passing day, more and more blog posts are being written and more and more blog sites are being created.

And that’s rather troubling. Troubling in the sense that as the creator of a new or recently-created football blog site, you’re probably finding it difficult to get your own blog pages on other people’s screens. Troubling, possibly, because as an avid reader of football articles, you now have so much choice that you hardly know where to start.

Either way, you’re probably falling victim to information overload. Nothing to worry about, of course, if you’re behind one of the bigger football blog sites of this world. Reputation alone ensures your audience figures remain consistently high through all the hard work you’ve previously invested in your project.

Similarly, as a reader, you might be a subscriber to one or two football blog sites that you particularly like, in which case you have all that you need. It’s a bit like buying your favourite newspaper from the local corner shop every morning. No need to waste time infuriating the shopkeeper by browsing through the other papers on the counter if you know they’re not quite your cup of tea. If you always go for the reliable option, you barely even notice the alternatives.

Unfortunately as a blogger myself, I have the upmost sympathy for anyone that’s only just getting on the football blogging ladder and hoping for a moderate number of visitors to their site. Once upon a time, it was de rigueur to simply write posts and wait for Google to add them to its search index or for people to start leaving comments on your articles. The information super-grapevine was good enough to see your blog’s popularity steadily grow. Nowadays it’s the done thing to force-feed details of your output down the throats of anyone that will listen until they spew up your barely-digested online utterances and those of several other bloggers besides.

For new football bloggers, the news is not good. Google is now clogged up not only with the indexed posts from other people’s blog sites but also personal blog sites and blogs set up explicitly to drive people to money-making entities on the web.

But what about Twitter and Facebook, you may say? Surely they’re the perfect tools to publicise and promote your blog writing? Of course they are, and that’s why millions of other football bloggers are currently doing just that. Not only are you competing against the world and his wife on the blogging front, but also on the social media front too, somewhat depressingly.

So what to do? Well as a writer you could always join one of the growing number of football ‘super blogs’ to get your posts out to a wider audience, but you’d be sacrificing your own individual blog identity by doing that – a very valuable thing worth nurturing, believe me. You could also offer your services as a guest writer to any number of other football sites, but there again readers won’t find it easy to keep tabs on all your work as it gets scattered around the web.

You therefore have to ask yourself whether it’s actually worth blogging at all these days for all the competition you’re up against. Aren’t there too many blog sites already? Well not necessarily. Some people might counter that remark by saying that perhaps there are too many books already, and they’d be right in many ways. The key is making sure your book is the one that people want to find amongst the millions of others that are out there, and you can’t do that unless you have original, well-written content that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Get that right, and you’re well on your way.

Oh sure, you can promote your writing on Twitter and Facebook if you like. You might even increase your blog audience, but be under no illusions – people will quickly see your weaknesses if you don’t have a decent end product to promote in the first place.

And if you’ve got a niche subject on which to base your football blog, so much the better. The more obscure the subject, the more likely you are to be viewed an authority on it. You’ll also be seen as less boring and mainstream than many of your peers which can only be a good thing.

Here endeth the lesson, and frankly I’m a fine one to be giving it. Just lately I’ve been getting more and more disillusioned by the ever-growing mass of football-related information being pumped out via blog sites and social media outlets. How the hell are you supposed to process it all, let alone read some of it at length or get your message heard above it? The key, as I’ve found, is to know what’s worth reading and forget all the rest. There simply isn’t the time to bother with everything else.

So if you’re a football writer or blogger, let this be your mantra - write well, promote if you must, but above all do the best that you can. If your work is of an excellent standard, people will want to read it.

Oh, and as I’ve been telling myself, don’t give up. Someone somewhere likes what you do.


Terry Duffelen said...

Me, for one.

Jason said...

Myself included. I certainly took to heart many of the points you made here, and it certainly gives one pause.

Gary said...

I know exactly what you're talking about here Chris. I love writing, blogging, etc, but I'm not quite so keeen on jumping up and down and shouting "Look at me, I dun a blog post." But you kinda have to do that.

I guess, though, as long as you write great content and have the respect of your peers, you will get read and shared. And those are the only things I'd want, really.

Chris O said...

Thanks for all your comments, everyone. Very reassuring to know other people feel the same, or that the blog post resonated in some way.

Rich J (Sofa Soccer) said...

It's the content I struggle with the most. Well, motivation...I think the few pieces (and I mean 'few' in the literal sense) have been ok, but I just never seem to crack on with it, hence my admiration for all you guys do...and gratitude that I get to absorb all your hard work for free.
As for processing the mass of info, I generally find the few I am drawn to and stick with those preferring quality over quantity anyday :)

Chris O said...

@sofasoccer: I think you have to have the time to write and the discipline to do it regularly and speaking personally, I've been doing that for about five years now, so it comes as second nature to me. It is difficult though, so don't beat yourself up about it!

It's good to stick to a few favourite sites to read content on, certainly, but less tricky to sift it out from the deluge of info on Twitter if you've fallen into the trap of following hundreds of people! I think I've just worked out where I was going wrong all this time... :)