Claim the privilege of hunting according to the dictates of your own conscience, and allow all hunters the same privilege;
let them practice how, where, or what they may.








Monday, July 27, 2009

Better Blogging or What if my Brain Explodes?

© 2009 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
.
"With some luck, the framework you have built will stand up to the pressure and keep you from becoming another skid-mark on the underwear of life experiences."
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Things have been a little different lately. With over 8000 unique hits per month and almost 12000 page views, I’m beginning to feel some pressure to up the writing ante a little more. After a long discussion with my good friend Mike Riddle of Native Hunt on the music industry and issues of marketing, and then working with and doing the interview with Scott Croner of Nebraska Hunting Company, I was doubly convinced that the time had come to really push and try to create something with even more value for my readers.

My buddy Rick over at Whitetail Woods happened to respond with a comment on the interview post. It got me thinking deeply about the following. I’ve been blogging seriously for about six months, and the question before me now is where and how do I go from here.

Rick made the comment that we as bloggers can bring business to people in the outdoor industry, and the unspoken converse is that we can just as easily demolish them. I hadn’t really thought of that with any intent. But as many of you know, I did both over the last few weeks. And when you stop to contemplate that, you find yourself realizing that you wield an enormous amount of influence when you write about someone or something. That’s quite a bit of responsibility. It is a lot of responsibility not only to the subjects of your articles, but especially to your readers.

The folks that read your blog are certainly expecting you to give them something of value. The desires may be different, and whether it is information, a respite from the day’s trials, humor, or moral support, they want value for their time. You have worked hard to build up that trust and relationship.

At a certain point though, you have to determine what it is that people come to you for. I really like the issues related posts like the high fence ones, and product reviews remain a favorite too. People really like the gossip ones, and the how-to articles also. It is the combination of those genera though that has made me a somewhat popular blogger. And it has brought me some attention from the bigger fish in the outdoor industry pond.

The one thing I have tried to do is stay honest with my writing. I write in my own voice, from my own experience, and using a style that I have developed over time that communicates in what I think is an effective manner. Now as my writing has matured, and the demands become greater, I find myself wondering how am I going to keep the Albert Rasch that everyone knows and either loves or hates, speaking to them.

When I found myself this past weekend wondering about that, I stopped and considered the ramifications. As you start to push the envelope, one of three things will happen: you throttle back to a comfortable range, keeping satisfied with what you have and the status quo. You break through and find a new pace in this new region, completely foreign to you, but exhilarating in its new opportunities and horizons. Or you get torn to pieces, burning up through the atmosphere as you splatter and crash in an uncontrollable wreck of furious destruction, to be forgotten in a couple of days.

Well, I’ve done the latter all together too many times, and the former is not that appealing; I mean really, I’m middle aged not dead. The middle choice though seems just about right. Fortunately having just about made it to the mid-century point, I have learned that it never hurts to lay off the throttle a moment, size up what is going on around you, then punching the afterburners. With some luck, the framework you have built will stand up to the pressure and keep you from becoming another skid-mark on the underwear of life experiences.

You might have noticed that I’ve been feathering the throttle on occasion here and there. Link posts, silly post and things of that nature. Those are the days when I am either working my way through another project, or setting up a project. Those lightweight posts, they serve a purpose too, they don’t just take up space. The link posts in particular are important in that they are there to help everyone, but they are pretty easy to put together and they give me time to work in depth and breadth on other things.

Going back to the framework, I think that as you mature as a blogger, and the assignments get tougher, you really have to sit down and decide what your core values are. I think I am fair, honest, flexible, hard driving, combative, credible, and honorable. And I think my writing reflects that. When you’re wondering how you should handle an opportunity or assignment, your stated values help you determine how to handle them. It really has made a difference for me to frame and build a structure around many issues by falling back on these values. I’ve also avoided a few things because there was no way to work within my values. The ability to walk away from things is what keeps you credible.

I have had the opportunity to work with several professionals in the outdoor industry recently. What I can tell you is that the last three weeks or so have been an altogether cram course in Al Gore’s Internet, marketing, SEO, Google, and stuff that I can regurgitate if not expostulate. I have learned about e-mail, g-mail, snail mail, and chain mail. The last one was coincidental by the way… along with SEO, B2B, B2C, CNC, NBC, AWHFY and assorted and sundry other shortcuts and what not. This past weekend though I hit the saturation point and I just had to slow it down. There are only so many acronyms you can remember, and only so much ingenuity at any given time in this brain.

Working with others in the outdoors industry has been a great experience for me and has added immeasurably to my ability to communicate with my readers. I am on my way to being able to put together better and more useful content that helps you be a better sportsman and outdoorsman.

A little introspection, some analysis, defined values, and a few clear goals will really help you focus on any project you may have in mind. Whether it is the next step in your plan to conquer the Internet, or your next post, having thought about it with a little more structure in place can only make it better, and perhaps easier on you. Reach out for advise, and be willing to stretch and learn new things. As I am fond of saying, the best investment you can make is that in yourself.

And of course I invite all of my fellow outdoor bloggers to always feel free to ask me about anything. Any time you need a hand I am always available and ready to assist, if you want to do a guest post, if you want me to do a guest post, blogging advise, some linking, or just to throw the bull around. The campfire always has space for one more, the pot of coffee is always fresh, and a tumbler of Bourbon is always handy.

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

10 comments:

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

May I be the first to say

TOLD YOU SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so glad you stuck with the blogging thing.
SBW

steveo_uk said...

How about something for beginners. I'm interested in becoming more involved in hunting but it’s like a mine field out there with what equipment to get, especially for someone that’s never shot a gun. I’d be very interested in reading what you would recommend to someone starting out

SimplyOutdoors said...

The evolution of blogging is a wonderful thing. I started this little endeavour just for pure fun, and never considered myself a "writer" by any stretch of the imagination, but now I am hooked.

And with blogging definitely comes responsibility. The two go hand in hand and provide all of us bloggers with great information and great friends.

Keep it up.

Wild Ed said...

I truly understand where you are coming from Albert. My blog started out mostly for a group of kids and a falconry club. It has grown to where it takes a great deal of time and it is not always easy to come up with something that is interesting to all our readers. Mine has become almost a second job at times but when something takes that much time you hope it will bring in a little jingle. That is the point I have reached and will have to make some decisions in the next year about how much time I give to my blog. I wish you the best with yours as I really enjoy some of your articles and reviews. Wild Ed

GoGo said...

"A little introspection, some analysis, defined values, and a few clear goals will really help you focus on any project you may have in mind. Whether it is the next step in your plan to conquer the Internet, or your next post, having though about it with a little more structure can only make it better, and perhaps easier on you. Reach out for advise, and be willing to stretch and learn new things. As I am fond of saying, the best investment you can make is that in yourself."
.........Say it isn't so Albert!
LOL

-GoGo

Borepatch said...

"And of course I invite all of my fellow outdoor bloggers to always feel free to ask me about anything."

I'm with steveo_uk. What would you recommend to someone who's never been hunting, but has gotten a little interested? Other than a $15,000 African safari ...

You told me to ask. ;-)

Dayne Shuda said...

Inspirational post, Albert.

You are truly a unique voice in the outdoor blogging community and it's easy to tell that your audience values your insight and thought on the topics you cover.

Congratulations on the success of your blog and the best of wishes to you in the future.

I hope you keep pushing the envelope as that's where I believe you shine and create your best work.

You're a great resource and I look forward to all of your posts. They're always full of valuable information.

Dayne
Hunting Business Marketing

LSP said...

Thanks for that - people scoff and sneer at "value", they shouldn't be so foolish.

Anyway, your site has plenty!

Keep it coming,

LSP

Albert A Rasch said...

Well, Thank you everyone for such kind and encourageing words! I'm working on a couple of posts already on begining hunters that should be very informative. Shouldn't take me more than a few days to finish them up. That scheduling thing on the posting tab is great!

Thanks again!
Albert

LSP said...

Looking forward to it.

LSP