A handful of Scouters are blogging and podcasting regularly. Many others have tried and discovered that it requires more work than they first thought. (Hands up everyone who ever started a blog). The vast majority of us are readers and listeners rather than publishers.
Scoutmaster blog started five years ago this month. Like any endeavor it has had its ups and downs but it has been worth it to me personally because I have been able to work out my own thinking about Scouting and hear from others in an ongoing conversation. The response I receive also indicates that other people find it helpful.
I started the weekly Scoutmaster Podcast in February of this year and it is still rolling along.
Bloggers and podcasters like Jerry Schleining at the SMM blog and podcast and the other folks at PTC media are also posting regularly. There are other Scouting bloggers out there too (I will, no doubt leave someone off this list unwittingly - let me know If I should add your blog)
What it Takes to Publish
Speaking only for myself here's what it looks like from the publisher's side. As with most things the practical reality boils down to two things:
I spend five to ten hours a week composing blog posts, responding to emails and comments and just doing general chores to keep the blog moving along. Each podcast takes four hours (sometimes more but never any less) to record, edit and publish. (I should mention that the greatest asset is a patient wife.)
Web services to maintain the blog run about $30.00 a month. There's not much capital expense exclusively for the blog and podcast I use my laptop for other work and my 'studio' consists of a decent microphone.
I use google ad-words and several affiliate networks to earn tiny amounts of money. Over the last five years this income almost offsets the expenses. This has never been a money making scheme, just a way to spend a little less. (I did mention a patient wife, right?)
How you can support us
Here I will speak for all bloggers and podcasters with little fear of contradiction;
1. Respond to what you read and hear
Comments questions, reviews, ratings - these all mean more than you can imagine. In the 'old days' if someone sent you a letter it was thought impolite to respond (I should know, I was there!) Blogging and Podcasting are more like publishing than personal correspondence but without some kind of feedback one is working in a vacuum. There are no faces to see or voices to listen to. Most any response I get I acknowledge, as do my fellow publishers.
You can help immensely if you:
- Comment on blog posts
- Email the author with questions or comments
- Leave reviews and ratings on iTunes
2. Support Sponsors
- While I don't have a sponsor for the podcast others do. Do some shopping with them.
- Click ads and follow links from my affiliates.
All this being said I am not starved for attention or going broke. I enjoy hearing from many folks every week. If you are already one of them; thank you! If you aren't do get in touch soon.
Finally we bloggers and podcasters chase various web metrics to have some idea of how many people are listening and reading. While I have a basic idea that several hundred people listen or read regularly It is a fuzzy, inexact science. The only way to know that people are actually out there is to hear from them.
Five year metrics for the Blog:
1061 Total Posts
1005 Total Comments
44 editions of the podcast have been downloaded a total of 9092 times for an average of 207 listeners per show.
349 daily subscribers tracked through Feedburner
722 Friends of Scoutmaster blog on Facebook