As a writer, the internet has become a powerful tool, both personally and professionally. Whether for myself or on behalf of my clients, I can use it as a forum to publish a variety of content – owned media – at little to no cost. And one of the most useful tools for conveying information online is a blog.
I started my first blog back in 2003, with the sort of personal musings that drove the blogosphere back then. I took a break when I became the Marketing Director of a local nonprofit. But after leaving that position in 2010, I spent nearly a month in South Africa for the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Friends and colleagues had encouraged me to blog about the experience, especially since it was my fifth World Cup adventure. So, I taught myself how to use WordPress; designed my own website; created an editorial or content calendar; learned how to navigate the challenges of mobile writing, editing, and publishing; and developed a series of best practices and standards to ensure quality and consistency.
I enjoyed that experience so much, and had such overwhelmingly positive feedback, that I decided to build on that success and continued writing about soccer when I returned home to New York City. The blog quickly evolved into what can best be described as an online magazine, Total Footblog, for which I regularly researched, wrote, and published feature-length articles (1,500 words on average) about various aspects of the game not covered by the mainstream sports media. In fact, I published an average of 13 articles (20,000 words) per month, making me arguably one of the most prolific American soccer journalists at the time. And I enjoyed a two-and-a-half year run working as an online journalist before having to shut it down and return full-time to my freelance communications business.
An Essential Element of Your Web Presence
I often recommend that my clients consider a blog as an owned media channel through which they can regularly deliver news and work to establish thought leadership. Plus, blogs offer people a reason to revisit your website periodically, and the regular addition of relevant new content can be beneficial for SEO.
Like many clients, though, I have exhibited the tenacity and resourcefulness to come up with an impressive assortment of excuses as to why I cannot consistently maintain a blog for my own site. Which has baffled those who know me, as I have a reputation for opinions and a willingness to share them. But that is why I opted to refer to my professional blog as a “Pop-Up.” As the moniker indicates, I only post when I feel I have something to say, which is a polite way of saying when I have the time to actually hammer out a slice of the ever-expanding loaf of things I have to say.
On the personal front, I have occasionally posted on Medium, which is effectively a shared blogging platform. Though this was done more to learn about and experiment with new and different online communications platforms, like Medium.
I have also been writing a personal blog since February 2013, just weeks after I shut down Total Footblog. It is a bit of a secret, though, since I use it to write for myself – as opposed to engaging with and influencing others. And I have tried to publish something there at least once a week, both for practice and pleasure. But don’t ask for the name or web address, because that won’t be revealed until they read my will – as sort of a time capsule and ongoing farewell present to friends and family!