Welcome to Part Two in my A-Z FM19 series, last time we went to Austria, so obviously the next post must be “B”! And in this article I want to talk a little bit about blogging, in particular FM blogging.
My Blogging Journey
I absolutely love blogging about FM, I started way back in 2015 on this site where I wrote season reviews around my Pentagon Challenge save, it was the first time I had ever did any kind of writing and although it was very rough around the edges it seemed to come across quite well and after that I just couldn’t stop!
I have had my ups and downs like many others, I’ve quit a few times, I’ve had the odd meltdown mainly around views but three years later things are different for me now, I have matured massively around my worries and concerns, I have a really good backbone of friends in the FM world who help me stay grounded and always there to offer me advice and even though I still have people who don’t “get me” I tend to just shrug it off now.
Earlier I mentioned views, something a lot of people worry about and this was something I would constantly look at when I started writing, why does no-one read my blogs? It was a horrid position to be in, I’d be checking my views every 5 minutes to see if someone had read my new post.
After my “quit” in FM17 I had 6 months off and came back with a new mindset on what I would do, views, although they mattered wouldn’t be the be all and end all of my writing. I wanted to come back and do things for me, my motto was “If I enjoy it then others will”.
This has worked massively not only for me but also for my writing and my relationship with others in the FM World.
So what tips could I give aspiring FM writers and also existing writers? Well here are my top tips!
- Write for yourself, do what you enjoy, like I said earlier if you enjoy what you’re doing it will come across in your writing and people will see that when they read it.
- Don’t take the views to hearts, when you start writing it will take time to build a following. If you get 10 views in your first post, take that as a compliment, don’t set yourself goals around views. If you get in with the right people in the FM World they will help promote you.
- Promotion – A bit extra on the previous one, if you are new to FM writing then get on social media, Twitter, Discord, Facebook and get involved, speak to people, there are so many helpful decent people around who will always offer help, advice and tips. And with that they will help get your post out there to the wider world.
- Criticism – Don’t take criticism to heart, take is as constructive, I said before the majority of people are helpful and will offer you tips and guidance along the way, take it in and use it as a way of improving.
- Pictures – Make sure your pictures are clickable so they open up in a new window, especially on mobile phones it can be impossible to see a picture on the actual post, being able to click it means the reader can zoom in and see it.
- Grammar/Spelling – I have to say this is my downfall, I have a tendency to rush and not check back. ALWAYS go back and re-read your post, a good few times. Make sure everything sounds right. I was given a great tip a while back and that was to download a program called “Grammarly” this is an extension to WordPress which checks your writing, a bit like a spell check, it is a must have tool for people like myself who sometimes rush things!
So enough waffle from me, I think it’s time we heard from some of the bloggers in the FM World don’t you? I spoke to 4 FM Bloggers and asked them to give me some tips I could present to yourself!
Chris (FM Samo) – https://twitter.com/FM_Samo
“The most important thing for me when writing about FM is consistency in a couple of different ways. I’ve found it really helpful for me when writing to be consistent in style and format of my writing, I find this really helps me put posts together and also helps potential readers know what to expect.
It’s also about being consistent in keeping in touch with potential readers, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a set schedule, but I wouldn’t recommend posting two blogs in two days and then not posting anything else for the rest of that month. Why not split those posts out across the month to guarantee you’ve got something to post?
It’s also about being consistent in what you’re actually doing and writing about. For example, chopping and changing saves or doing loads of different things isn’t going to help readers get hooked in.”
James (FM Novice) – https://twitter.com/FMNovice1
Your blog is your calling card – make what you write both factually and grammatically correct – as best you can. I am no grammatical genius so I will read aloud every word of my blog prior to publishing – If something doesn’t make sense nine times out of ten you will HEAR this when you do this process. I’m not talking about the correct usage of there, their and they’re as I have no clue about which is correct one for the situation. I am talking about using the wrong word, or having a really long sentence – spell checker will not pick up on this, this is something that you as a writer must spot.
Think about the best in the blogging business, can you remember when they wrote something that didn’t read right? Nope, me neither – it’s because they check what they write before publication. It should be the last thing you do. Never rush a publication and make sure you are happy with it, then re-read it and then read it again.
Place names, team names, player names, competition names, and first letters of a sentence – CAPITAL LETTERS PLEASE. It just looks wrong.. And remember that I will always be I, and never i
Accuracy will show that you care – get things right. An example from my own blog – at one point I claimed to be playing a 4-1-14-1 formation – In my defence I did win the league, but having 14 attacking midfielders probably helped. I didn’t spot this and it got pointed out by a friend – this is the sort of thing that a proof read should have picked up on.
Cleon – https://twitter.com/Cleon81
I think one of the biggest things to take into consideration when thinking about writing about FM, is whether you are doing it for yourself or because you want to teach people how FM works. It can be a mixture of both of course but depending which bracket you fall into, this will determine what you need to do. If you write for yourself then the biggest factor is enjoyment. You have to enjoy what you’re doing as this will translate into your writing. Remember that you are doing it because it’s what you want to do.
If you are wanting to teach people how the game works or focus on guides then things change slightly. If you want to be taken seriously then what you write needs to be accurate and you need absolute conviction in the things you speak about and discuss in the guides/articles. If you’re unsure of how something works then don’t make out what you are saying in your article is a fact or the only way of playing, if you’re not 100% sure it actually does function that way. Also try and provide evidence if possible to support what you say. Lots of people write guides but only a few people write good guides.
Whatever you decide to do though, be sure you enjoy it and that at no point does the writing feel forced. If it ever feels forced you should stop and take a break or scrap the idea because it will likely impact the quality of what you are doing.
Another tip is feedback. While constructive criticism is good you also have to factor in is the person commenting your actual target audience? For example, if you write something tactical and then you get someone commenting and giving feedback but they aren’t really tactical themselves and have no real interest in this side of the game then they aren’t the target audience for this particular content. I’m not saying dismiss them and what they are saying but rather, focus more on the comments from people who are the target audience of the content you wrote.
Tom (VivaLaVidaFM) – https://twitter.com/VivaLaVidaFM
I’ve been writing Football Manager content for the past two years and in that time I have developed my writing to ensure that it is both fun to write and engaging to read. It has taken a lot of time to find out both what I enjoy writing and what my readers enjoy reading, and to be honest I am still learning. When starting out on your writing journey, it’s most important to find what you enjoy writing about and to go with it – if you don’t enjoy what you are writing how can you expect the reader to enjoy it? This might take some time and experimentation but it is always worth trying something different to see if you like it.
Once you have found a style of writing that you enjoy, get involved with the community! I personally use Twitter as my main social platform and there is a huge FM community there. Get involved and talk to other FM lovers – not only will this introduce you to their content but it may introduce them to yours!
Being part of the FM community has made my time writing all the more rewarding. So, in essence, my advice for any newcomer to FM writing would be to find a style of writing that you enjoy and to get involved in the FM community.
I just want to say thanks to all four of them for taking time out of their busy schedules to help me. For any level of blogger the advice given is really helpful.
I hope you have all found this post insightful and useful. Now go and write about FM, I promise you it will enhance your experience of FM for the better!
Thanks for reading