Tuesday, September 28th, 2010...1:31 am
How I Blog and How They Blog
I once wrote about why I have this blog. I don’t expect you to go back and read it so here’s the Cliff Notes. Blogging is a great way for me to stay sharp in business (digital media, sports biz, start-up world), share some of my thoughts with my friends and colleagues, and I enjoy writing (putting thoughts on paper is cathartic). I’ve realized even more benefits over the last few years. My blog is a great networking tool and it’s becoming a very cool timeline of my life. My friend Klien recently asked me when I was going to publish the Littyhoops book. He just assumed that’s what I was planning on doing with all my posts. I hadn’t even thought of that. Besides, I’m not really sure of the target audience for outdated posts previewing the Johnnies 08-09 losing season.
A few recent conversations have made me think more about how I blog though.
I was having a conversation with the Sports Blitz Ditz about her very cool blog that’s a chicks take on sports news. She was looking for advice on how to develop her blog and brand and thought a redesign of her website was one way to do that. I told her that I hadn’t really upgraded my blog design since I started (otherwise there’s no way Delonte West would be in my header!). Most people read my blog through email and never go to the site. I have blog emails go out at 9am EST (through feedburner) and then email responses and blog comments trickle in throughout the morning.
Most email subscribers (there’s about 90 of you) figure out by the title and the first few lines if this post is something that interests them. That’s always an issue since my blog spans such diverse topics – sports, business, life, digital media, travel, random stuff. Since the blog is about everything and anything running through my head I really only try to promote it to my friends and have them sign up for the emails. I’m not sure any of this would ever be interesting if you didn’t know me.
A few digital friends sign up by RSS. It’s tough to compete with all of the other feeds people have in their readers so I’m always amazed when I get feedback that way. A few other people check the website every few weeks for new posts. This is kind of lame for both of us since some of my posts are dated by then. I also usually post a link to the blog on my twitter feed.
My posts are freaking long (try finishing this one without developing ADD). Most of the time I can’t even read the entire thing without getting bored or drifting off like it’s an Edith Wharton novel. I’m not sure why this always seems to happen. I just start writing and stop when I have all my thoughts down on paper. Don’t really pay attention to length until after the fact. Do I expect you to read every sentence? No way. I’m often amazed when people make it to the end.
Almost all my posts are written in one sitting. It usually flows pretty quickly because I’ve so thoroughly thought through the topic by the time I sit down to write it. I’d say an average post takes my about 60-90 minutes to write, two minutes to edit (grammar sucks I know) and 10-20 minutes to hook up links, embed videos and publish the post in WordPress. By that point I’m ready to pass out knowing that when I wake the email will go out and I will start to receive instant feedback. It’s a treat/reward for finishing the post.
I was indulging in a Hopscotch Frozen Custard (easily 5x the mendoza line in calories) after a futile job managing Dodgeball 2.0 (the back is keeping me on the sidelines) to an 0-4 night and had an interesting conversation about blogging with Charlie, Nate and Will.
Recently, Nate and his buddy Galpert put their blogs on the backburner to create a paid email newsletter using a new service called letter.ly. The email newsletter part makes sense for the reasons I’ve outline in Chapter 1. Another digital friend Dan Lewis has quickly got his new newsletter (free) over 500 subscribers. Unfortunately, Nate and Mike haven’t written as much as I had hoped. They’re two of the most well-connected, energetic and fun dudes in the NYC digital scene. I was hoping I would get to be part of that and stay more closely connected to them by subscribing to their newsletters. My guess is that they just haven’t hit their stride yet where writing becomes routine (blogging is writing after all). When it does there is no question their emails will be thoughtful, insightful and worthwhile. Nate’s last one was his best yet. I’m not sure if it makes sense to charge for their content. It seems limiting to me (but do agree it’s an interesting experiment). I would also pay to get better access to their networks though (although both are already natural connectors).
Charlie was surprised (in the same way he’s surprised when i hit a softball in fair territory) that I had blogged more than 20 times this year. (In fact, you’re all in the midst of reading blog post #197. My first post was on Jan 30, 2007 so that’s about an average of one blog post per week.) I bet him an angry bird or something that I’ll collect on by eating a dozen half-burgers at his event this week. For most of my posts, Charlie isn’t my typical audience. If there’s a post I think he would enjoy or would like his feedback I’ll figure out a way to get it in front of him.
By the way, Charlie probably writes my favorite blog. Nate made a good point that he just enjoys reading blog posts by people he knows. This makes sense. I enjoy reading blogs by Seth Gaffney, Andrew Parker, Nate, Darren Herman, Joe Medved, Pat Coyle and Adam Isserlis. It’s almost like you can imagine the person talking to you in a conversation. Nate wrote a post about the Angel Investor controversy that I agreed with so much it felt like I wrote it! Like Charlie, some of his posts are feisty but most are thoughtful, rooted in common sense and really practical. When I write posts I try to think of my readers reading it. For instance, I’m sure Stacey Lewis is really enjoying reading her name right now. I try to write posts that the 90 people who get the email would enjoy reading.
When I write a post that is more business/digital oriented I’ll often send out that post in an email to some of my colleagues and contacts. I’ll send this post to all my friends that blog (Most of my email readers have deleted this email by now). But that’s ok, I know they’ll give me another shot to write something more amusing next time.
Are you kidding me? There is no chapter 3. It’s 2:30am. What else could I possible write? Feel like I beat this topic to death like Barbaro.