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/Throughliners and follow us on Twitter at @MrMediaTraining.
Just in case you didn’t know- I think you are making a actual difference in people’s lives- certainly in mine.
I’m not a communications/marketing guy, not a PR specialist, just a manager in a business office in a small hospital in a small town, but I’ve been reading your blog every day for six months, and now I communicate more effectively and with more confidence to peers and to my own staff.
Your expertise and experience is valuable to anyone who needs to communicate a message in uncomfortable circumstances. Thanks for keeping at it- and I’ll be a fan for years to come.
I can’t thank you enough for your warm words. It’s quite gratifying to know that this blog is helping people – your note was truly the highlight of my day.
Thank you for continuing to read the blog, and don’t hesitate to provide me feedback along the way.
Again, thank you for taking the time to comment.
Regarding #11: couldn’t you at least notify that editor’s boss about that, then let them try to deal with it without necessarily your further intervention?
David – yes, you’re absolutely right – but a lot of the copyright violations occur from rogue bloggers who work without bosses. As for the one from a major website, here’s that story: https://www.throughlinegroup.com/index.php/2010/12/20/i-report-mediaite-takes-you-decide/.
Thanks for commenting!
A belated Happy Blog Birthday, Brad! It never ceases to amaze me how busy professionals like yourself can manage a full-time blog and full-time business. And you always have something interesting to say and many helpful tips to share about communications, which illustrates your dedication.
I especially love your last item because it’s why I like to blog as well–it’s just so darn fun no matter how many people pay attention. Here’s to another happy year of blogging 🙂
Krista – Thanks very much!
Folks, Krista writes a terrific blog at http://prinpink.wordpress.com/. It’s worth checking out.
[…] momento, nos ofrece una serie de conclusiones acerca de lo que implica la labor diaria del blogguer. “Content is not king”, dice […]
Just wanted to throw in my thanks as well. You have no idea how helpful you blog is. I found your site because I was looking for ways to get over the incredible fear I had of gaining publicity for my small business. From public speaking, to simple networking, and God-forbid, talking to the local media, I was truly fearful and had no idea what to do.
I was looking all over the web looking for tips and examples of things to help me. I think I was searching for “Bill Clinton media skills”, or something like that when I found your blog.
Your blog has been very helpful in getting over my fear. When non-communication people get involved with the media and marketing, it seems like a beast that will just consume you and spit you out when your done. We have no idea what to do, and the process just seems so overwhelming.
But reading your blog has been able to help me put things in perspective. The biggest help has been simply knowing that there are techniques and strategies that I can use to help me talk to the media. I always thought that it was a natural born talent, that people were either born with a spokesman ability or that they mumbled and sweated when talking in front of people. Reading about the tips you share, and watching the great examples you provide, has done wonders for my anxiety.
Thank you so much for this great service that you provide.
I read your comment yesterday as I got off a plane after a long and trying day of travel. I can’t tell you how much it meant.
You’re exactly right that successful spokespersons don’t all have “natural born talent.” Some do, but many learn how to apply their best traits to become an effective spokesperson. Nor is fear necessarily a bad thing. It’s a problem if it paralyzes a person – but if it doesn’t, a healthy amount of fear tends to keep us sharper during a media engagement. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel fear in these settings – it’s normal, and there’s a good chance the person with whom you’re speaking might not be aware of it.
Again, I’m delighted this blog has provided you with a valuable service. Comments like yours give me the fuel to keep on going. And please let me know if you have any questions along the way!
[…] Reflections on a Year of Blogging (by @MrMediaTraining): […]
Regarding #11, I’ve also had the misfortune of being ripped off. I shared my frustrations in our own blog:
They stole your idea! Now what? http://bit.ly/pJHarr
Enjoyed your article, Alan. Would you believe I was going to run the exact same piece tomorrow? Kidding, kidding…
My approach is similar to yours. If the material is close but I can’t prove inconclusively that it was ripped off, I may give them the benefit of the doubt. But if it’s an obvious lift? Send a cease and desist letter and blast ’em publicly. The public deserves to know how they do business.
Thanks for visiting the blog!
I have known you for many years and I’ve enjoyed your thoughts and commentary on life. I’m so pleased that now you have the platform to share your thoughts, expertise, and experiences with the world. Okay, maybe I’m biased but I do enjoy the blog and that’s that. All the best and I look forward to year two.
Thanks, Rona! You’re a great supporter and good friend. Appreciate you adding a comment to the blog!
I appreciate you for being real with your readers. When you’re starting out, it’s not easy to blog to an audience of 6 people.