It all seemed so simple.
I’d fallen head over heels in love with the game of golf, and was desperately looking for answers.
I didn’t have to look far.
After all, the information I sought was right there on the newstands…wasn’t it?
It took me a long time to realise the limitations of golf magazines. I bought at least 3 magazines a month for the best part of a year before I realised the content was frequently recycled…and the tips were harming my game.
Now I read golf blogs…as well as writing my own.
Here are 7 reasons why you should do the same.
1.Blogs are free to concentrate on what you need.
Blogs are cheap to set up.
There’s no massive financial outlay to recoup, so our content isn’t driven by what will sell.
Magazines, on the other hand, exist to make money. Their content is dictated by what will sell…or in other words, what golfers think they need.
This leads to lots of big promises (“Cure Your Slice” or “Longer and Straighter” ring any bells?) that sadly don’t deliver.
Instead you end up with a mish-mash of golf tips which more often than not harm your game.
Blogs don’t have to tell you what you want – they can concentrate on what you need.
2.Blogs provide “deeper” content
How often have you read a magazine article only to find it barely scratches the surface of the topic?
The article ends prematurely and you’re faced with yet another advertisement for products promising physiologically improbable improvements.
Frustrating, isn’t it.
It’s different in the blogosphere.
The best bloggers aren’t concerned with column inches; instead we strive to depict our ideas. We seek to capture our ideas with elegant simplicity…however many words that needs.
We’re free from the constraints of space and it’s reflected in the depth of our content.
3. You can call us out if you think we’re phoning it in
Disagree with what we’re saying?
Think I’m talking out of my sizeable posterior?
Itching to blow me out of the water?
Scroll down to the bottom of this post, and you’ll find a little box where you can do just that.
I want you to do it. I really do. I enjoy debate, and I’m happy to back up my ideas. But I’m also keen to hear your point of view. Perhaps there’s something I’ve failed to consider…or I’ve unwittingly caused confusion with ambiguous wording.
Either way, I want to hear what you have to say.
And yes, I ask for your name, and your email address. Your comment will be “parked” for moderation. Sadly these are necessary to prevent Spam-bots and ethically sloppy Search Engine jockeys drowning out genuine comments.
Comments using foul and excessively abusive language are the only ones I won’t publish.
After all, I’m a big boy and can take any criticism which comes my way.
Contrast that to magazines. Even though many publish letters critical of their approach there’s only so much space allocated to readers’ letters. It would be awfully easy to edit out the most critical letters “due to limitations of space”
Magazines print a selection of letters. Bloggers publish nearly every comment. Which one is more likely to give your opinion an airing?
4.Bloggers want a two-way conversation
We don’t only want you to listen to us; we really want to hear what you have to say too.
And this isn’t just limited to what you think of our blog posts – most bloggers actively encourage you to connect with them in other ways.
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter let you speak with the blogger in a less formal setting; it’s a fantastic opportunity to get to know the person behind the posts.
Although some magazines do have some sort of presence on social media, this is almost always a “corporate” account. The profile picture is a logo, not a person and they only update to promote the magazine. This is really anti-social media; it’s like connecting with an electronic billboard. It doesn’t float my boat, but if it works for you, knock yourself out.
For the rest of you, the big blue “t” to the right will take you to my Twitter page. If you Tweet, or are curious, sign up and drop me a message!
5.Bloggers aren’t fickle
Golf magazines can appear just a tad inconsistent. It’s surprisingly common for them to publish tips which directly contradict another in the same magazine.
On the face of it, this appears crazy.
In reality, it’s often not the magazine’s fault.
They ask several highly respected coaches for advice, and wait. Their tips often arrive close to deadline, and the editors need to fill that space. It’s only when they proof-read the tips they realise they have a problem – and by then it’s often too late.
They don’t even know which one is more accurate; often both are from respected coaches. Sometimes the only thing they can do is to shuffle their content around to separate the tips as much as possible and hope nobody notices.
We’re often the only contributor on our blogs, so we’re not going to have a similar issue. Our content is easily searchable and we make it easy to get in touch.
If you find any inconsistencies on here get let me know – I’d be delighted to clear things up.
6.Golf Blogs are born from enthusiasm, not commercialism
Why do golf magazines exist?
To educate and inform?
To provide a 5 minute diversion in the dentist’s waiting room?
Or to be used as an impromptu place-mat to protect the sofa from your Chinese take-out?
Well…no. Magazines can fulfil all of the above functions, but that’s not why they’re made.
Magazines exist to sell advertising.
Everything else, from the cover to the content, is there to get you to buy it.
You pay good money for the privilege of taking the adverts home.
Whereas most golf blogs grow from the blogger’s desire to express his or her love for the game. Professionals educate, golfers chronicle their journey and a select few of us seek to do both.
Of course, some bloggers do seek to make money. Most just have a few ads, or an affiliate product or two. This, more often than not, is an attempt to reclaim some money in return for the time spent recording their passion rather than a money-making scheme.
And yes, there are some who deliberately set out to make money, and create key-word heavy, scrupulously search engine optimised content with lashings of ads and affiliate links galore. These are the minority of sites; golf is such a large but competitive niche (lots of participants, but a glut of websites too) the smart affiliate marketers steer clear.
Most golf blogs are born from enthusiasm and love, not a desire for profit. And that’s kind of cool.
7.Golf blogs live in a highly competitive environment
Type “Golf Blog” into Google and you’ll get about 630,000 hits. I haven’t checked them all, but most of the links on the first 10 pages of results pertain to individual blogs.
This is a nightmare for most bloggers…
…but it’s fantastic for readers.
A certain blog not to your taste? One of your favourites started churning out sub-standard content?
No worries – there’s plenty more where they came from. It costs nothing to flit from one to another and you’re bound to find one more to your taste.
I love it.
A competitive environment keeps us on our toes, and always striving to be at the very top of our games.
We can’t coast – because if we do, we know you’ll be typing “golf blogs” into Google.
It’s very different in the world of magazines. There have been a number of attempts in recent years to bring a new golf magazine to market. Some have made it to publication (Golf Punk, anyone?) but none have survived.
This means there’s nothing driving the existing magazines to innovate or improve.
They recycle old covers and headlines, tszuj them up with a little twist and send them onto newsagent’s shelves. Same old, same old.
Nothing new. Nothing different. Nothing better.
The bloggers are coming…and we want your readers.
May the best blog win
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