12 Things I Learned After One Year As A Blogger

The Mr. Media Training Blog turns one today!

To celebrate the blog’s first anniversary, I’ll be running special content all this week.

First up today, the 12 things I’ve learned in my first year as a blogger – the good and the bad.

1. Blogging is Hard Work: Over the past year, I’ve written more than 300 stories, each of which takes about 90 minutes to write and tag (some take significantly longer). That’s 450 hours a year – or 18.75 days – just for writing. Marketing the blog requires hundreds of additional hours.

2. Daily Blogging Makes Work/Life Balance Difficult: Before starting this blog, I was already stretched thin: Running a busy practice, traveling too much, and trying desperately to indulge my passions (e.g. cooking) once in a while. So adding a daily blog means that my already busy schedule now borders on sheer insanity. If you’re looking for a relaxed work/life balance, daily blogging on top of a full-time gig isn’t the way to do it. 

3. Content Is Not King: I’ve noticed an almost unquestioned mantra perpetrated by self-anointed marketing gurus: That content is king. They’re liars. Sure, great content matters. But content is only half of the equation. If you don’t spend an equal amount of time marketing your content, no one is going to see it – no matter how great it is.

4. No Man Is An Island: Marketing requires relationships – with other bloggers, website editors, and readers. I knew that before I started blogging, but I never thought I’d enjoy forging those relationships as much as I have. Turns out, it’s been one of the best parts of the job, and has allowed me to meet talented pros from all over the world. 

5. If You Think You’re Going To Attract an Audience Quickly, Think Again: Blogging does not yield fast results. It takes many months of consistent posts, aggressive marketing, and relationship-building. If you think you’re going to have hundreds of people hitting your new posts each day in your first few months of blogging, you’re in for a rude surprise.

6. There Is No Correlation Between Quality and Number of Hits: Some of the stories that took me hours to craft attracted just a few dozen readers – and some of the ones I cranked out in 45 minutes attracted thousands. Timing is everything. If I can post a decent article about a story everyone is talking about within minutes of it breaking, people are going to click on it.

7. Being Timely Is Often More Important Than Being Good: I’ve found that topical stories that are “on the news” are more likely to generate instant attention than well-written evergreen “how to” articles. On the other hand, evergreens have a much longer shelf life, so they both play an important role.

8. You Can Get Lost For Days In Google Analytics: And I often do.

9. Some People Think They Can Discern Your Political Leanings From a Single Post: I’ve been called a liberal, a commie, a conservative, and a neocon. I can’t be all of those things. The truth is that I’ve made an intentional effort to both criticize and praise Republicans and Democrats in roughly the same proportions. My favorite moment came when, during the Anthony Weiner scandal, a fellow tweeter told me I “was obviously prejudiced against NYC Jews.” That I live in NYC and was raised by Jewish parents did little to dissuade her view.

10. Anonymous People Say Mean Things: I’ll admit it: At first, nasty comments from anonymous readers really bothered me. No longer. There’s no valor in anonymous attacks, and I now give them the attention they deserve – none. I value smart disagreements, though, and have really enjoyed it when readers make smart, logical arguments against my points-of-view without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

11. People Steal Your Content Without Attribution: I always appreciate when bloggers and website editors link to my work, sometime by excerpting a key paragraph or two. But occasionally, they just lift my work and run it without attribution. One person ran my work with his own byline. One prominent website editor went on the Fox News Channel and claimed my work as his own. As much as this intellectual property theft bothers me, I’ve learned to fight only the battles that matter most. Otherwise, I could make copyright and trademark protection my full-time job, a prospect I don’t relish.

12. I Love Blogging: I recognize this article may sound negative in parts. That’s because blogging does, indeed, come with some real sacrifices and downsides. But the biggest thing I’ve learned from blogging is a self-realization: I love blogging. I love having a voice, love having my ideas appreciated (and occasionally debated or criticized), and love the discipline of coming up with daily story ideas. On most days, writing the next day’s blog post is my favorite part the day (well, that, and seeing my lovely bride) — so I often put it off until the end of the day as a reward for finishing the rest of my tasks.

Thank you for reading. Here’s to year two!

We’ve now been courting each other for a year. It’s time to take our relationship to the next level. Please like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MrMediaTraining and follow us on Twitter at @MrMediaTraining.

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