Interviews rock because they show us the brilliant people behind the usernames. Today, Performancing is excited to share with you this interview we got with The Gaffer… a guy living in Florida, originally from Wales, who runs the very successful EPL Talk soccer blog, podcast and video show.
1. How’d you get started as a blogger?
I did things a bit backwards really. In 2002, I launched a corporate blog on an intranet where I was the director of internet marketing for a brick and mortar company. Then in 2005 I got the bug to write about my first true love, soccer, and EPL Talk began. I’ve always been a writer so it came naturally to me.
2. What’s the key to being a successful soccer blogger. How do you stand out from the crowd?
Differentiation is key especially with more than one million blogs worldwide on the topic of soccer. With so much competition (both from the international press and blogs), I focus on the world’s most popular sports league which is the English Premier League (aka EPL). I target the readers from around the world who experience the league via their TV sets. As a result, the topics I cover on EPL Talk are quite different such as the quality and quantity of TV coverage, the commentators and TV presenters who the viewers see and hear on a weekly basis and my colorful opinions regarding what happens on and off the pitch.
The key to being a successful soccer blogger is to remain impartial and to keep the content remarkable. It’s easy to say but difficult to do.
[Editor’s Note: The Gaffer also stands out by differentiating his soccer blog with a Podcast and YouTube video show]
3. Do you blog primarily for money or for passion?
It has to be passion. If I blogged for money, I would have quit a long time ago.
4. Tell us about the biggest mistake you’ve made in blogging and what you’ve learned from it.
The biggest mistake I made was deciding to host the blog on the Blogger platform. Blogger’s ease of use was wonderful, but I invested so much dependency on Blogger where I drove a ton of traffic, built a respectable Google PR and generated a ton of links to a site that wasn’t even hosted on my domain. If I had to do things all over again, I would set up a WordPress blog on my epltalk.com domain, which is precisely what I just did and it was something I should have done two years ago.
5. Do you see yourself still blogging in 2 years, 10 years?
I don’t foresee a time where I’ll stop blogging. In the past two years, I’ve launched an EPL Talk podcast and vodcast but both continue to take so much time and energy, and are quite tedious. In contrast, blogging is such a joy to accomplish and a wonderful release. All I need is an Internet connection, a blogging platform, an idea and the words just flow.
6. List your three favorite blogs (the ones that you read the most).
Funnily enough, the blogs I read most often focus on technology rather than soccer. The top three that I read religiously are TechCrunch, Sphinn and Scobelizer. All three of them give me a ton of ideas of how EPL Talk can continue pushing the envelope in its coverage of soccer.
7. What do your family and friends think of you blogging? Do they even know?
Most of my friends and family are aware of my blogging but few of them truly understand what it really is. The biggest thrill I had was finding out that my parents had printed one of my blog posts and read the story with genuine interest even though they both have no interest in soccer.
8. Has Performancing helped you? Do you think that we offer useful information that’s helpful for soccer bloggers? In what ways? And, do you think it will continue to help you?
I was turned on to Performancing after hearing Chris Garrett give a presentation. I’m still a relative newcomer to Performancing so I haven’t had the opportunity to benefit from the site as much as your veteran readers have. But I can see the value for fellow soccer bloggers especially in the tips that Performancing provides. As long as that continues, the site will always be a valuable resource.
9. If you could meet any blogger who would it be and why?
Without a doubt, it has to be Seth Godin. The man has so much clarity. He continually amazes me with his remarkable ideas and has been an inspiration for me since the first day I read his blog in 2002.
10. Which ad networks have been most profitable for you?
I’ve tried several but I keep on coming back to Google AdSense just because it’s the easiest to implement, the most dependable and provides a steady stream of revenue. The other advantage is that they’re pretty efficient at cutting checks and sending the money.
11. How much time do you spend blogging (and on blogging-related activities) every day?
Including research and writing, I typically spend 3 hours a day working on EPL Talk. That doesn’t include time watching soccer, which can easily be 7-10 live matches a week. It ends up being a big investment of time, but it’s something I enjoy doing. For me, it’s the perfect combination of my interests which are writing, internet marketing, coding, search engine optimization and watching the beautiful game. Who could ask for anything more?!