When I arrived in New York City after college, I was told that I could make a decent living as a writer in the marketing communications profession. And I did.
I also pursued writing projects beyond the copywriting and features work that paid the bills. It all started with writing reviews of beer bars for The Beer & Tavern Chronicle in the early 90s, when I was a passionate homebrewer. Years later, I started blogging, which gave me another outlet for my writing as well as an excuse to explore many of the tools and platforms of the emerging digital world, including website development and management.
In 2010, while spending a month in South Africa for the World Cup, I started blogging about soccer – another one of my passions. The sheer enjoyment of it coupled with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from friends and colleagues inspired me to create Total Footblog, which quickly evolved into a respected online soccer magazine.
I approached the subject matter like a traditional journalist, doing extensive research and offering in-depth stories averaging 1,500 words a piece. I even had a few scoops involving the rebirth of the New York Cosmos. I also had the pleasure of writing about organizations that used soccer as a tool for social change, along with other subjects often overlooked by the mainstream soccer media.
During Total Footblog’s two-and-a-half-year run, I wrote 408 articles of original content. That’s an average of more than 13 articles per month…almost one every other day. With an average of 20,000 words per month, I was arguably one of the most prolific American soccer journalists at the time.
And my work found an audience. Using only SEO, social networking, and word of mouth, Total Footblog attracted nearly 7,000 unique monthly visitors (Google Analytics).
However, there’s a lot more to a successful publishing start-up than the actual writing, and writing was the part that I enjoyed the most. Plus, the demand for my copywriting and other services made it increasingly difficult to dedicate the time needed to ensure Total Footblog’s success. So I pulled the plug on the publication at the end of 2012.
I have no regrets, though. The venture helped me establish my credentials as a journalist, providing valuable, hands-on experience as a researcher, writer, and editor. It also helped hone my digital marketing skills, including blogging, web development and management, SEO, content marketing, and social media.
In 2013, I began a more casual, personal blog about my adventures leading up to and attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Total Futeblog. It was an 11-month venture specific to that event, but I do hope to continue writing about soccer in the future, whether as a journalist or as a copywriter. Perhaps Totalitarian Footblog for Russia 2018?