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|Ryan Dunfee (left) spends many hours sitting at his laptop writing about skiing.|
Ski blogs can range from the very bad (rarely updated, poorly written) to the very good (satirical, relevant, interesting) and everything in between. Nowadays, every pro athlete, liftie, and East Coast shredder has a blog. So how do you make it something that people other than your mom are going to read? We asked Ryan Dunfee, the assistant editor for BroBomb.com for some suggestions.
Dunfee, 27, has been writing for BroBomb.com since 2009 and he's also an online columnist for Powder, Teton Gravity Research, and Mountain Media.
Find your niche and stay relatively consistent in it. There's no point in trying to compete with the big sites, so find your focus in something that you care about. Some science nerds have run sites that now get a ton of traffic because they focus on regional weather forecasting and can pinpoint where the good snow will be.
I think somebody could be writing much more insightful analyses of contests instead of just posting the results and writing "What's-his-face won because he's really sick."
Use spell check. Unless you're going for a totally raw and ghetto appeal, nothing will turn your audience off faster than a fourth-grade command of English grammar.
Posting consistently is the hardest and most undervalued part. I used to stress about getting big pieces of content up every day, but I realized that it was more important to get something up, even if it was just a video with two lines of funny text, four to five times a week. Having a genius piece up and then nothing for two weeks does you no good.
Wordpress is probably the best platform to start your blog on since it's really easy and has a million plug-ins.
When I write a story on BroBomb, it's usually a product of some late-night epiphany or rant I have to write down before I forget. The rest of the time, I'm just farming Facebook for videos.
As for social media, you could clog people's feeds with self-promoting crap, tag more popular people and sites with your posts, and hashtag really dumb things on Instagram that are popular, like "love" and "snow." But then you will look like a douchebag.
The ski industry can lack perspective sometimes, so if you're going to add to the chatter with your new blog, make sure you have some. Read newspapers, remember what the real world is like, and remember that skiing is actually part of it -- it's not in this golden bubble. That grounding will go a long ways toward connecting with your audience and will push you to be a better writer.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization, you should probably learn what that is) is really important. I'm no expert, but I think it has something to do with why leaked Blackberry photos of next season's Full Tilt boots are some of our most popular posts.
Don't fool yourself into thinking you're ever going to make money with a blog about skiing. Use it as a way to practice and improve your writing, filming, and shooting. Maybe you'll build your reputation, maybe you'll get some free stuff, and maybe you'll even get a chance to apply it to a real job. But you're not going to get rich doing this.
Since you won't make any money writing your blog, you might as well try to scam some free gear or lift tickets in the name of a "review" for your "website." Just be sure you actually follow through with what you tell people you're going to do, or your days of free skiing and free gear will be numbered. It's a small industry and word gets around.
If you're going to be a text-heavy blog, make sure to go black text on a white background. Trying to read long text in front of a dark background is painful.