I’m Not Rich-I’m Mark
Once again, I take pen in hand, metaphorically speaking, to write about my experience with Around the Foghorn. With the conclusion of the successful World Series run by the Giants, theoretically, I should be done for the season, correct?
Actually, that would be incorrect. Though the off-season is upon us, there is more to write about than ever, and what I am finding out is, that Giants fans are just as eager to read about the Orange and Black, now, as they were during the regular season and playoffs.
But that’s not why I am writing this post. When I began this gig with Around the Foghorn, the third week in February, I never imagined it would be anything other than a lark, a hobby, something that combined my passion for writing, with my passion for baseball. But as the season has progressed, my writing has gone beyond the realm of hobby, and smack into the category of career.
I could make a living writing about sports, and do it with no more effort than it takes to continue keeping abreast of current events, and the time that it takes to jot a few thoughts down, and post them. What has happened over the past ten months, is that I have developed a following of readers who continue to read what I am writing, even in the off-season.
I know this because when I check my stats page, the one which lists the twenty top posts, in terms of number of page-views, within the past thirty days, the lowest number on that page is just a couple page-views below 500. My top post from three days ago, is at 6,500 page-views, and is nothing but an innocuous piece about who would end up being Pablo Sandoval’s replacement at third base, should the Panda seek greener bamboo pastures.
Since the World Series ended fifteen days ago, I have not had a piece of writing draw less than 500 p/v’s and at least half of them are between fifteen hundred and six thousand, five hundred p/v’s. One reason, of course, is because the newspapers and other sports publications have moved on to cover the newly opened hockey and basketball seasons, not to mention the 49ers, leaving mostly breaking news as the only baseball business still being published in the newspapers.
There is a second reason, at least, for my increased readership, and it’s not the easiest thing to describe, but it sure is interesting. As an amateur writer, one of thousands who write for free on cyber sites covering a broad range of topics, above and beyond sports, I receive a regular stream of emails from the folks who run Fansided, and one not too long ago was quite fascinating.
The purpose of the email, as is often the case, is that the coordinators of Fansided wanted to share some insight as to why some cyber sites flourish, while others languish on the sidelines. The author of the email emphasized that the secret to success, with the search engines functioning for google, lay in following as closely as possible, a simple set of directives.
First, the content must be original, as opposed to cut & paste jobs, rehashing old material, and it can’t be frivolous. The system in place to screen cyber sites, for the purpose of sorting out the plethora of available possibilities, when someone simply googles “San Francisco Giants” and one player’s name, is known as the “spider.” It webs out so that as material is posted on an infinite number of sites, spider evaluates the material, sorts it out, and prioritizes it by criteria such as number of “stop-bys” on the site, length of time each drop-by stays on the site, and whether or not the drop-by leaves a comment.
In other words, simply having readers stopping by the sites is not a complete-enough picture, but with the additional data, Spider selects those posts which are most likely to conform to the criteria which drives Fansided.
Now, it just so happens that I write opinion pieces, almost exclusively, based on a comment, an observation, a question, or any reference-no matter how obscure-made by anyone under the sun, affiliated with baseball. I don’t care that much for breaking news, because if it’s really breaking news, there are many sites that are going to be able to post it a lot quicker than I.
Besides, that stuff is boring to write. Timmy, one of my editors, said that the key to better exposure, especially on Bleacher Repot, was to write strongly-opinionated, third-person articles, and I am only too happy to oblige. I write every morning, and generally am posted by six or so, the result of my inability to sleep more than four hours per night.
In any case, there are numerous opportunities to both write for sites and get paid to do it, or to function as an editor, for which there is always a demand. Thus far, I am content to stay in my current role, writing if and when I please, and hesitate to take the step of assuming a paying position.
First of all, my tech skills are still limited, and secondly, what I am doing now is one hundred percent stress-free. What are the chances that I could say the same, if each piece of writing were going to be evaluated by a boss? Could be yes-could be no, could be just maybe so, but probably not.
For now, I am content to let the number of page-views be the motivating force behind my writing, and not the number of dollars I am accruing.
That way I can still say, “Yeah, raked in a cool 6,500 on that one,” and everyone will think I am Rich.
But they’d be wrong, because I am still just Mark.