We were very sad to learn yesterday that Magic City Post is closing. Since 2010 the Magic City Post website has been publishing great stories about the positive aspects of Birmingham, about the passionate people dedicated to helping Birmingham live up to its nickname of the Magic City, and about all the hip happenings of the city. 

Yesterday’s farewell post by MCP founder Emily Lowrey was the site’s final post. The Magic City Post website and social media channels will shut down in a few weeks. 

It’s so hard to say goodbye, but Lowrey says it’s time.  In her post Lowrey writes:

If you’re wondering why we’re shutting the site down…well, it’s just time.  In many ways, we feel like we fulfilled some of our mission to help inform people about the bright side of Birmingham.  More often now, we’re seeing positive local content covered by other publications and that’s a good thing.

Magic City Post Founder Emily Lowrey

Still I can’t help feeling as if the closing of Magic City Post is going to leave a huge void in Birmingham’s media and blogging scene. Perhaps that is a void that you can fill. 

I asked Lowrey to share with me any advice she’d give to someone hoping to pick up where she left off by starting a website like Magic City Post. Lowrey gives these ten tips: 

1. Develop a posting calendar. For MCP, this meant working the calendar out weekly, but it’s a tool that should work for you. Adjust to fit your niche.   

2. Don’t do it all yourself.  If you can afford to pay writers to contribute, then do that because you make the local writer community stronger.  Also, rely on your writer friends for guest posts to help fill your editorial calendar and be sure to reciprocate.   

3. Find under-served communities who need to be brought together, and do that through your blog by producing content important to them.  On that same note, remember that if you and your community share common values and interests you’ll likely find content ideas or even complete stories just by asking your community for contributions.  

4. The “right” intern can make your blogging experience far more enjoyable.  Mandy Shunnarah worked well for Magic City Post not only because she was a writer, but I’d say even more importantly because she shared MCP’s mission to experience and share the positive side of Birmingham. She was absolutely invaluable to this experience. 

5.  If you choose to partner with anyone, most especially a business partner, make sure that you share those common values and that you’ve agreed upon a list of ground rules for how you’ll resolve any issues that you encounter. 

6. Be mission focused.  For you, that may mean that you are building up your presence and expertise in a particular topical area.  However, if you are blogging because you want to make a living off blogging, then you either need to become a sales expert or you need to find a sales expert partner.  

7. Extend the reach of your blog by partnering with a network.  On the content side, this could be a group like See Jane Write where you support and share information with one another.  On the revenue side, this could mean finding advertising solutions that allow you to sell into a larger network.  MCP’s real estate partnership with Zillow was one example of revenue network extension.

8. Rely on expert resources.  I still learn something new each week that I visit Feverbee.com, a site with information that will help you identify and develop online communities.  

9. Some of my favorite experiences at MCP was meeting our readers, but nothing can ever top hearing that you connected two readers who then went on to fulfill your mission (for us that was making Birmingham a better place to live).  That, my friends, is liquid gold.  

10. Finally, you aren’t married to your blog forever; you do need an exit plan.  If you develop a community and decide to shut down that community, point your members toward new resources where they can find similar content.