My Amazing, Undercover Blogging Experiment

From Neil Sagebiel:

I didn’t plan to create one of the top independent golf blogs on the Web. It was a happy accident.Neil Sagebiel's photo of Tiger Woods during practice, Masters 2008

I’m a freelance writer whose primary work is marketing communications for corporate, agency and university clients. Three years ago I intended to start a blog for my business but took a sharp detour. I decided instead to explore blogging “undercover.” I would learn the ropes and see if I could sustain a blog before I hung my shingle on one.

So one summer day I created the ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG, and a pen name, “The Armchair Golfer.” Golf was a passion, something I knew. I took stock of other golf blogs and started posting.

Few people visited my blog in the early weeks and months. Nonetheless, I kept posting and refining my voice. It was fun!

Then a major surprise came after a little more than a year: My blog appeared on the first page of Google search results for golf-related searches. Soon after, occasional emails arrived inquiring about advertising.

I was shocked. All I had done – but don’t miss this – was post on a regular basis and develop a style. I had also exchanged links with other bloggers and attracted inbound links from a handful of quality golf sites.

Since then I’ve interviewed tour pros and bestselling authors, been syndicated at major news sites such as and the Chicago Sun Times, written for Golf Digest (India), and traveled – with all expenses paid by a major tour sponsor – to cover a PGA Tour playoff event. I also have a New York City literary agent who is marketing a book idea spawned by my blog.

All this from my undercover blogging experiment. And yes, I finally did start that business blog a few months ago. It’s called HEADLINES FROM FLOYD.

The photograph of Tiger Woods was taken by Neil Sagebiel at the 2008 Masters.

Neil Sagebiel is a Floyd, VA-based freelance writer who specializes in B2B marketing communications and writes about professional golf. He blogs at HEADLINES FROM FLOYD and ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG.

Added 12/22/08:  Neil Sagebiel appears in the December 2008 issue of Golf Digest (India). His piece, The Decline of American Golf, is here (.pdf).

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  1. Looking forward to reading more, Neil, and following you on Twitter. I’m always amazed at the connections between us all.

    Check out some time when you have a moment. Neat golf site that’s really making some inroads you might be interested in, think you guys would do well to speak to each other. I mentioned you to one of the founders, Andrew Brown, so hopefully you all can catch up.

  2. Thanks, Jeremy. I definitely know of, and I appreciate your suggestion.

    I agree — the connections are truly amazing.

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