This is the 100th post on The Snap.
Where has the last year gone? Who knew that the little passion project we started in the summer of 2014 would develop into what you see today?
We’re feeling reflective now that we’ve hit the 100-post milestone right around our first blogiversary, so today you’re getting something a little bit different before we kick off the 2015 NFL season. Here are the top 10 things we’ve learned in our first year of football blogging:
1. Don’t wait for the “right time” to do something.
There’s a quote from Lemony Snickett that goes, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting the rest of our lives.” I (Michelle) thought about starting this blog for quite some time before I actually created the site. Why I waited, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer than I did. We try to use a Nike-esque “Just Do It” mentality with regards to The Snap nowadays after realizing that no one is ever going to tell you the day to chase your dreams.
2. “You would be surprised what people will do when you ask.” – Oprah
The majority of the interviews featured on The Snap have been a direct result of an email or tweet to a stranger. Reaching out to people we don’t know is intimidating. However, the more often we do it, the more we realize how crucial it is to getting good content. Beyond that, we’ve been pleasantly surprised how willing people are to help. For the most part, people will take the time to respond to your email, answer your questions on a call, or promote your post. Also, it gives you the chance to say things like, “I chatted it up with Reggie Wayne’s mom.” This leads me into the next point…
3. Interviews are difficult.
I (Michelle) took one journalism class in college and boy do I wish that I had taken a few more, if only for the opportunity to develop my interview skills more. Sometimes I feel like a fraud because no one has given me press credentials (yet), but I’ve had to get over that lack of confidence really fast if I wanted to avoid sounding like a moron. (Yes, there are still times that I’m sure I sound like a moron, no matter how much prep I do, but that’s what practice is for, right?)
4. Social media is difficult.
Maybe difficult isn’t the right word to describe social media, but there’s definitely more that goes into accruing a social media following than I originally thought. Getting and keeping followers across the different social media platforms involves a lot of time-consuming behind-the-scenes work. Kudos to the people that do it well.
5. Pictures are important.
Val and I debated whether we wanted our images on this blog before we started it. If you follow us, you can probably tell that we just decided to go for it and plaster our faces all over this blog. Why? Our favorite blogs have pictures – lots of them. Images (of the bloggers, of different events, of infographics and so on) create a personal connection, are attention-grabbers, and quite frankly, are crucial in the Instagram world we live in today.
6. Game plans are great, but sometimes it’s more important to react to what’s going on in front of you.
At any given time, we have a plan in place for our next 3-4 posts, in addition to an ever-evolving list of topics to cover when football news gets slow. Sometimes, things happen in the football world and we have to immediately react, which of course, shoots our short-term blog schedule to hell. We’ve learned to get over this quickly because there’s a lot to be said for covering current events. Not only does it drive traffic to the blog, but it makes us and our readers more knowledgeable about NFL headlines.
7. Your audience finds you.
Our intended audience was people like us – girls in their 20s who are looking to learn more about football from someone who is not a pretentious butthead. This description fits some of our readers, but definitely not all of them. We’ve got dudes, retirees, Patriots fans, non-Patriots fans, and according to our WordPress statistics, some international followers as well. We love all of you. Hugs and kisses for everyone (except Jets fans).
8. 80% Quality, 20% Quantity
We completely made these percentages up, but you get the point, right? Sometimes, as chronicled in this post, there’s just no motivation or time to write quality content. In times like these, we don’t post, which probably doesn’t fall under blogging best practices. We don’t want to be embarrassed by anything we publish, so we really try to focus on quality in hopes that it will trigger return readers. However, there is 20% of the time that we say, oh snap, we’re overdue to publish something so that people know we’re still alive. We all have such short attention spans these days, so the balance between quality and quantity is an important one.
9. The line between having an opinion and reporting facts is a tricky one.
We’ve stayed up way past our bedtime debating tone, phrasing, and the inclusion of our opinion in some of our most popular “current event” posts. Being an independent blog not linked to a news corporation and one that uses humor to explain concepts, we have the benefit of being able to include opinions in our posts. For example, anytime we reference the Jets, we’ll tell you how we really feel, which usually involves a joke at their expense. However, sometimes there’s more of a gray area. We haven’t really formed an opinion yet and don’t want to publish anything until we have as many facts as we can. Other times, our opinions can be harsh (I’m not saying we have them about a certain commissioner and I’m not saying we don’t), and we’ve decided that some things are better left said in angry phone calls between the two of us instead of being posted for the unforgiving world that is the internet.
10. We can’t do this alone.
This is quite possibly the most important item on the list. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO BUILD A BETTER SNAP. A blog with no readers is a diary. We do our best to promote the blog, but it makes us feel really good when our followers refer new readers. Please continue to share The Snap – post a link on your Facebook, subscribe your friends to our email list, show it to your grandma, tell us what you want to see next.
We can’t thank you enough for all of your support in the last year and we look forward to making the next year of blogging even better. Each time you read, like, or share one of our posts, it validates the time that we spend doing this. Thank you.
XOXO, Michelle and Val