The Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016
Contrary to a lot of peoples expectations (my own included), there is to be a Newbie Blogger Initiative this year, mainly due to the determination of Doone over at XP Chronicles. Some folk are just born “doers” and Doone is very much a community orientated guy. So he has managed to cajole many of those previously involved in the last four events to pull their fingers out and rally round the cause once again. Hell, it’s even brought me temporarily out of blogging retirement.
So for those who are unfamiliar with the Newbie Blogger Initiative, here’s a brief history lesson. The Newbie Blogger Initiative (hence forth to be known as the NBI) is an annual event created by Syp of Bio-Break and Massively OP fame, back in 2012. His goal was to “get prospective writers to come out of the woodwork and try their hand at an MMO blog of their own. We all know how hard it is to get started, which is why bloggers have banded together to give you a HUGE measure of encouragement, advice, and initial traffic”. The first NBI proved so successful that Syp passed his brainchild over to several members of the community who have continued to run the event each year.
So now that we’ve set out our proverbial stall, here’s a summary of what the NBI does and how it goes about doing it. Please note that these are just guidelines and that the event itself is somewhat fluid and very much open to input from those participating.
- What does the NBI do exactly?
The main goal of the NBI and the month long event is to encourage new gaming bloggers and content creators. Many of those involved in its organisation have a wealth of experience to share with those considering starting a blog. If you are such a person, hopefully we can help you take your first steps. We also offer encouragement to those who’ve drifted away from existing blogs and are looking for the motivation to resume writing. We can help existing writers fine tune their craft and provide advise on how to develop your online presence. Plus it's not just about blogging. We have can offer advice on podcasting and other forms of content creation.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, blogging is far from dead. It's a great way to share information and meet liked minded individuals. It can be extremely beneficial to the community and also has its own therapeutic and cathartic values. Although I do not see it as a replacement to professional journalism, I feel that the two complement each other very well. I also believe that it is prudent in such a technological age to maintain the ability to clearly and concisely express yourself via the written word.
- Who can participate in the NBI?
All are welcome. With regard to who actually constitutes as a Newbie Blogger, you need to have just started or have been blogging for less than a year. However veteran writers are far from excluded as their input as invaluable. We're looking to help and encourage writers of all varieties. The NBI has usually focused on blogging about gaming and the wider industry but much of the advice and information is transferable to other areas of writing and fandom. So expect a degree of diversity and crossover in the proceedings.
- Where do I go and what do I do?
In previous years we’ve used forums as our focal point but I think our Discord channel is a more suitable platform this time round. You can sign in as a Newbie, Veteran blogger or just a concern citizen if you like and introduce yourself. If you have a site already then include the details. If you are a more seasoned blogger you may wish to be a supporter and provide written advice via your own site.
- What happens next and throughout June?
Start writing! There is plenty of advice available from the last four years and there have been numerous posts created regarding which blogging platform to choose, naming your site, creating a writing schedule and much more. If you are still not sure then feel free to ask questions. I would say that it helps a lot if you have a Twitter account. It's a great way to keep abreast of activities and posts, as well as promote your own material. However, if Twitter is not for you the same information will be collated on Discord or via a designated site.
- What events and activities are there?
There have been several events that have proven popular during previous NBIs, so they will definitely be included this time round. The Talkback Challenge is a simple but effective means to start the ball rolling. A short list of topics suitable for debate is posted and bloggers get to choose one, then produce a post based upon that subject. The idea is for other bloggers to respond to your post with one of their own; a sort of virtual written relay race. It's designed to encourage debate and share traffic between writers.
The Poetry Slam was also well received last year and provided some light hearted fun. This is simply a poetry competition in the broadest sense of the word. It has the benefit of being very reactive, with bloggers often drawing inspiration from their friends and colleagues. Last May Murf's Screenshot Safari proved to be popular. As you can guess from the name, it draws upon gamers universal love of screen captures as a starting point for a blog post. Far from being just "filler", screenshots are an essential part of blogging and can sometimes provide very effective material. More details about this and other activities will be available shortly.
Veteran bloggers supporting the NBI will also be posting advice on specific subjects over the course of the event. This will often reflect the questions that have been raised by newbies. It would also be beneficial to find some volunteers to be designated NBI Neophytes. These ideally would be new bloggers who will catalogue their experiences over the month of June. The idea is to see what expectations they had to begin with and whether they were met. Depending on people’s preferences, this could be done via one of the various podcasts associated with the NBI.
Discord Invite Code: https://t.co/bZLA0YGZSk
If you have always wanted to write and have an online presence but just haven't got around to it, then hopefully the 2016 Newbie Blogger Initiative will be the perfect catalyst. I won't mislead you and say that writing is easy, because that is not the case. Like any hobby or pastime, blogging takes a degree of organisation and personal discipline. However if approached in the right fashion and with the support of others pursuing a similar goal, it is entirely possible to start a blog that suits your personal style and aspirations. Don't believe me? Ask one of the many bloggers that started because of previous NBI events.