What It’s Like to Go from Nowhere to Editing Top Conservative Website IJReview & Managing One of the Biggest Facebook Publishers in the World
The last few years have been quiet on Rogue Government. That’s because a remarkable journey has taken me away from my beloved and charmingly insular blog to what conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh comically referred to on separate occasions as a “probably accurate” “local newspaper” known as IJReview.com.
In some ways, I feel like my life is a dream right now. It’s unbelievable what I actually get paid to do with my time. Really. No… really. But few people actually know what I do, and most of my day is spent – as the Chief “Bubba” says – like a “ninja” in the shadows.
How’d I get here? One day, after enough time and aggravation spent in the Obama job market, I finally had enough: I was going to become a professional writer. That proved to be about as tough as I thought it would be.
My first outing as a writer was a 500 page book, still being tinkered with, called Envirotopia. My marketing plan was non-existent heading into it, but I had a lot of passion and a powerful vision. After I finished the book, I decided to attempt getting an audiobook completed for it as a free means to draw interest to it. That plan’s still in the process of completion.
So I moved on to a gig at Conservative Daily News due to the lovably surly Michelle Ray aka GaltsGirl on Twitter. She was the first person who got me onto a website where it was conceivably possible to make money. The deal was that you had to place among the top 5 writers every month to draw a check. And to my surprise, that didn’t take long at all.
But it wasn’t quite enough. So, on a whim, I threw my resume up on a website called eLance. When several weeks later I was contacted by a website I had never heard of called Independent Journal Review, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I literally couldn’t believe it; as in, I agreed to the job through eLance, but continued on as if nothing had happened.
Days passed. Weeks even. Suddenly, a guy named “Bubba” was sending a bewildered email, wondering if I ever was going to show up, and, you know, do my job. Finally realizing that this “Independent Journal Review” was real, and the guys running it were serious, after all, I got into gear. Well, as much as you can get into gear when you’re initially offered ten hours a week.
But I eased into the role during the summer months of 2012, bringing the virtually unreadable, wall-of-text, “academic” (in the worst sense of the word) style with me to the fledgling start-up. I racked my brains thinking of how to inject all my idealistic notions into the posts, as if intentionally trying to turn off every reader on the planet.
After a couple thousand painful discussions arguing with “Bubba,” I felt like I finally grasped what he wanted me to do. Don’t talk to everyone as if they’re already on your side, but be chill and funny and creative and confident. Drop the “activist” attitude. Take your point-of-view to the masses and don’t expect them to come to you – unless you can entertain them or promise them something useful.
A year passed. The associate editor disappeared after Obama won the election. I was given a whole 20 hours to work, and the rest is history. I think I work about 20 hours a day now, or at least it feels that way. But I don’t notice the time pass, I’m too busy having fun.
In the meantime, IJReview.com has gone from off-the-grid to the #1 conservative website in the nation by number of monthly people, as of last week. Now, we’re #2 to FoxNews.com, but we’re hanging in there at about 20 million people, per Quantcast (the same ranker that Drudge Report posts on its homepage).
Since I’m always into the Google Analytics, of course, the numbers are higher there. We’re currently heading back towards 60 million sessions, 30 million users, and 70 million pageviews a month.
What do I do at IJReview.com? I’m currently in the position of managing editor, so that means I tweak all the posts, such as the images and headlines for optimum likability and sharability. I also write my own posts and very routinely score among the tops in the world on social media. Here’s my profile for today via Spike with my buddy and long-time top writer Mike Miller 1 & 2 in Content Creator Facebook likes:
But one thing I do that virtually no one knows about is that I run about 75%-80% of the posts on the 5 million + fan Facebook page Conservative Daily, which is pretty much the best publisher in the world in terms of Facebook likes/shares per article post:
See, the number of people who see the posts on Conservative Daily each week even dwarf our considerable website traffic. In a given week, some 50 million – 60 million people see our posts on Facebook. Essentially, this means that I likely reach as many people with my Facebook posts per week as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly do on their media outlets, if not more.
But I’ve never gotten an invitation to speak on a major terrestrial radio show, let alone a television show, let alone speaking at a major event, let alone anything else outside of our awesome website, when Bubba Atkinson gave me the 2013 Employee of the Year award at CPAC. Still, our website traffic dwarfs the Drudge Report (without getting many of their links) in terms of number of people reached each week, rivals that of Fox News, and is currently edging The Blaze. That’s it’s own kind of satisfaction, and it’s enough.
At IJReview, we made it a specific goal to reach as many people outside of the “conservative bubble” as humanly possible in order to promote the messages of responsible government, individual rights, freedom, and economic opportunity to those people who aren’t conservatives. By that measure alone, I judge our website to be moving in the right direction, and am ecstatic to be a part of such a great team. And we have a few things on the horizon that will likely surprise some people.
Oh yeah, we also find ways to make stuff like dogs falling for a magic trick being like Obama voters getting duped into re-electing him to his second term. Just sayin.’