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Blogging for free

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SP7988, Apr 17, 2014.

  1. SP7988

    SP7988 Member

    I know of some people who started out blogging for free and used that to go on to bigger and better things. Has anyone ever had similar success?

    For example, here in Boston, for the Celtics there are some well-known Celtics blogs such as Red's Army, Celtics Life and even Celtics Blog (SB Nation). A lot of the beat writers for the C's follow these blogs on Twitter and even some NBA writers.

    I've written for some in the past, and the positions are unpaid. However, there seems to be a good reach with fans and a lot of comments and what not.

    But my question is, are writing for these platforms worth the time and effort? Like will it pay off in the long run or is it just taking up time where I could be writing or freelancing for a paycheck?
  2. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    Never write for free unless you are writing for your own blog.
  3. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    A friend of mine started blogging because she enjoyed it. She wrote about pretty much just one topic, and became known as an expert in that field. She was invited to conferences and conventions to talk about that topic, then the owner of a publishing house started reading her stuff and offered her a book contract. She just recently released her second book. So, yeah, it paid off for her.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    For every one of her, there are thousands of others who don't get squat.

    That being said, you never know. Look at Romanesko. All he mostly does is collect links from other websites and put some reports online, and look how well he does.
  5. SP7988

    SP7988 Member


    I feel like doing 1 or 2 a week (around an hour to put out each piece) couldn't hurt. You never know who your words will come across. Could also probably help to have those clips if you ever were to be in the running for a paid beat job of that same sport I would believe.
  6. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Sure, it possible.

    But you'd better be good, and you'd better not fall in love too much with feedback. Feedback is not a paycheck. Unless you don't care about a paycheck.

    It is true that newspapers have left the market wide open. Many columnists have simply not evolved. They're still wordsmiths trading in cliches and anecdotes, and using those as foundation for opinions. They're feature writers who got those jobs on their ability to string words together, not their ability, quite honestly, to work their way around an argument, and the PR machines for teams today are just too strong and too good to send a romantic to a capitalist's dinner hall. They don't really know how the game is won and lost besides "have good players and have a great coach" and they don't always know how to define what "good" and what's "great." They, along with slow-to-evolve beat writers and sports editors (there are, IMO, fewer of those) have left open a whole market.
  7. Charlie Brown

    Charlie Brown Member

    How well does he do? I ask because I honestly don't know. Does he make a livable wage with his site?
  8. daemon

    daemon Member

    Sounds like she was blogging for herself. I would never advise somebody to blog for free if somebody else is making money off of the content.
  9. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    If anything, I think if this is your mindset then it probably isn't going to lead to anything else. If you look at the people who have parlayed the blogging into success, it's because they're almost obsessively interested in the topic they're covering.
  10. ETN814

    ETN814 Member

    I know plenty of people who started out this way and now cover pro teams.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    There is a difference between a hobby and a business. Her experience demonstrates that a hobby can sometimes become a business.

    But doing something as a hobby, and hoping it will somehow become profitable in the future, is a bad idea in my opinion.

    If you do something as a hobby, it should be because you enjoy it -- it's your leisure activity.

    When you engage in something you intend to be a business, you should have a clear plan for how you intend to monetize it, and a time frame in which you are going to execute your plan.

    Otherwise, you are usually best keeping in as an enjoyable hobby and figuring out another way to earn your living.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Of course, "cover" can mean many things and you didn't mention money.

    To answer the original poster, I strongly believe these are NOT worth the time and effort to do under your own flag. Don't listen to every journalism naysayer -- there's still a lot of freelance money out there including blogs that will pay for your posts. Go find them.

    On the freelance boards here, we get a lot of people who start blogs and want people to write for them in exchange for "exposure". No cash. I delete them all, but I message the poster nicely and say "no ads for free work are allowed, but when your site makes it big and can pay, come on back and I'll sticky you to the top of the board."

    I've been writing that for years and have deleted probably more than 200 such ads. Not one poster has ever come back.
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