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Celebrating a milestone month

I've been remiss in providing regular updates on my quest to turn this whole sports-blogging hobby into at least something of a significant side income, if not a career, but good news has a way of prompting action. That, and I've been heads-down busy working on a few different fronts to push things forward...
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My 2012 1st Intermission Progress Report

It's been a while since I've checked in here, but in the interest of self-accountability (if that makes sense) I want to revisit how 2012 is coming along in terms of my hockey blogging/internet marketing endeavors, and what the prospects are for the next several months.

So, since we're 1/3rd of the way through the year, in hockey parlance I guess this means we're into the 1st intermission. With that in mind, let's review the blogging/internet marketing goals which I set out back in January to see how things are coming along...

Social Media, Internet Marketing, and Real, Paying Customers - it really works!

Applying the basic tenets of internet marketing (SEO best practices and social media network building) have helped me grow the readership and engagement over at On The Forecheck tremendously in recent years, but lately I've been wondering if those same techniques could be applied to small- or medium-sized local businesses, to help them drive real, tangible business results.

I'm talking about not just drawing idle hockey fans looking to a blog so they can muse over line combinations, but helping businesses connect with potential customers in ways that otherwise wouldn't occur. Recently, I was able to help make just such a thing happen, and it shows just how great the opportunities are for small, local businesses which may not have the resources or skills available to extend their brand effectively on the internet.

NHL Fake Trades, an idea worth pursuing further in 2013

As I wrote about a month ago, I decided to jump upon a short-term opportunity and set up a "hot topic" website for the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline. NHLFakeTrades.com was inspired by a column by Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail, who looked at the frenzy with which hockey fans jump on even the sketchiest of information about potential hockey trades, and wondered if some cash could be made by simply and forthrightly writing about fictitious trade scenarios.

This meshed nicely with an exercise I went through a few years ago to create a Random Trade Generator, so in the course of a few hours I went ahead and registered the domain, set up a WordPress site using (as I do at Hockey Gear HQ) the wonderful Genesis framework with the News theme, and freshened up the Trade Generator for 2012.

So how did it do, in terms of traffic, revenue, and accuracy of the trade projections? Let's take a look...

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Getting bigger & better in 2012

2011 proved to be a turning point in my approach to hockey blogging, and I'm really looking forward to a productive 2012. They say that writing down your goals is the first step towards making them happen, so here we go...

In order to set my goals for 2012 in proper context, I think it's worth sharing some of what got done in 2011:

Roughly doubled the readership & traffic levels at OTF compared to 2010, which was honored by the Nashville Scene as Best Sports Blog in Nashville.Added Marc Torrence (@OTFMarc) and Sam Page (@predsblog) to the writing staff at OTF, bringing different perspectives to the table.Went through a redesign of Hockey Gear HQ and dove into the concept of internet marketing, earning just over $900 in revenue for the year. Having published less than 1% of the planned content for that site, I'm extremely hopeful that this can turn into a significant income generator.Published an e-book on my fantasy hockey draft strategy, which, despite some glitches al…