Do you bleed orange? Are you more likely to be found on the Syracuse sidelines cheering than anywhere else on campus? Even if you’re not an SU sports superfan, you’ve probably heard of “Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician,” the blog covering all things Syracuse sports related. The creator of the blog, Syracuse alum Sean Keeley, recently visited campus to share his career path and experiences with students.
Keeley, who now lives in Seattle, was a marketing and entrepreneurship major at the Whitman School of Management while he was at SU. After graduating in 2000, he worked for Lionsgate and several media companies. He explained that these early jobs gave him the foundation to start his own blog, given that he understood what he could do creatively, as well as promotionally for the site.
Blogging as a Career
In his HINDSights talk at the iSchool, Keeley said that, though he always knew he wanted to be a writer, he was unsure at first what his blog would actually be about. After several attempts at blogging about movies and other pop culture topics, he eventually decided on Syracuse sports as “a way to stay connected” to Syracuse even when he was far away.
From its start in 2006, Keeley has grown Nunes Magician into the No. 1 independent Syracuse sports blog, reaching 400K unique page views a month. As for the name? Keeley explained that it was inspired by a comment made by an announcer said during one football game when then Syracuse quarterback, Troy Nunes, made a touchdown. Keeley then went on to say that a “blog title should be clear and concise but Nunes Magician breaks both of these rules.”
Since creating the blog, Keeley has continued to write for it in addition to becoming the editor of Curbed Seattle a blog that covers local real estate and neighborhood news. Keeley describes himself as a “professional blogger,” a role that really didn’t exist when he was first starting out he says. He explained that a decade ago, that ability to make a living writing online was almost unheard of unless you were writing for a major publication. However, there was a shift in large content providers bringing on smaller, individual bloggers like himself. This shift was beneficial because the large content providers help with advertising and SEO while blogger can “focus on creating content and writing.”
When asked how blogging itself has changed since he got start, Keeley stated that “bloggers always have to adapt to how people are consuming content and video and live streaming are getting bigger.” He also cited the rise in sharable content that people can read quickly.
The challenges and rewards of starting a blog
Keeley said the most challenging aspect of starting a blog like Nunes Magician, is “ultimately it’s all on you and you have to set expectation for yourself and your audience.” Other challenges include creating many pieces of content and always keeping up to speed with what readers want, even all the way from the west coast.
He says that the most rewarding part of starting the blog has been the “ability to see his hobby become a paying job” and the subsequent opportunities he has had because of the blog. These include publishing a book, “How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way To Brianwash Your Child Into Becoming A Syracuse Fan” as well as an audiobook, “This One’s For All The Sausage,” about a zombie outbreak during a football bowl game in the Carrier Dome.
Advice for Students
Overall, when asked what advice he has for students who would want to follow a similar career path and possibly start their own blogs, he said that they should “try to get as much experience as you can.” This experience can include writing for yourself or a student organization or a company in order to build up a portfolio and gain experience. He also suggests learning what goes into it beyond just writing (such as social media skills) because “the more that you can do, the more people will want to hire you to write for them.”