How I became a golf blogger or How to turn rejection into money

Let’s start with a bit of time travel. About 2 years ago my fledgling digital marketing agency was eagerly chasing every opportunity that moved. As a consequence we found ourselves bidding for three similar projects at the same time, for different companies in different parts of Europe. We lost all three bids.

When I followed up with our contacts, the feedback was the same. “You have great ideas, but you don’t have the experience of having done it before.”

Well, excuse me, at that time, you could count the number of brand related SM and UGC aggregation sites on the thumbs of one hand!

So, I got mad, and decided to build one such site to prove a point. And thus was born. We killed the site after 6 months because as a proof point it had taken a life of its own that we could not sustain (perhaps the subject of another blog post? (yes please, Ed)). But what it did for us was to demonstrate that we could help our clients exploit social media very effectively and thus a new and profitable business stream was born.

Last year I decided to repeat the exercise (the proof point and not the rejections!) but the focus was on golf. Why? Because apart from my family I live to play, talk and watch golf. I loved it from the day my mate Andy and I ‘borrowed’ his dads clubs and hacked about the school playing field. And my first job was in a pro shop and I could have been a contender (who I am kidding, I was good but never good enough to make it on tour).

So, was born. The premise was to build a site that tracked all the pro golfers on tour who use Twitter. The site now tracks over 150 pro’s from the mens and ladies tours, provides updates from each weeks tournaments and even shares content from fans as they post tweets and pics from tour events.

But the model wasn’t working. We get lots of traffic, but they don’t hang around. Of course, golf fans are different to celebrity watchers. So, how could we deliver this content in a more meaningful way and is it wanted?

Ah ha! Let’s create an App, something that brings this all together, wherever you are. That makes it easy to keep up with all the news from inside the ropes on the course. All from the comfort of your shiny Smartphone.

To test the idea I decided to use an App self-publishing tool rather than develop a native App. It has its limits, but it meant we created the App very quickly and we can easily revise and test the format every week. Its hit the mark with nearly 300 downloads just by promoting to our Twitter followers in the last month or so.

You can download the Digital-Golfer app for free from the WidgetBox marketplace. Just scan the QR code into your Smartphone and off you go.

Apart from the fact that I now have my own golf app, what’s the payoff? Well, we are now developing native apps for two clients (non-golf), we are talking to a golf course operator about some exciting new ideas, and we are working on another golf app using augmented reality.

So, an initial rejection can turn into something quite extraordinary. As we celebrate our 3rd birthday as a digital marketing agency I’m more excited than ever as we now explore this niche market, and it helps that it’s one that I love.


About the author

David Long is the co-founder of mktgDIGITAL, a digital marketing agency, with offices in Farnborough and Paris, that focuses on channel marketing systems and services for the technology sector.