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A Letter From the Editor: A year in the books, updating the SCN “build”

The Pittsburgh Steelers season is over, and so is the inaugural season at Steel Curtain Network (SCN). I have to be honest, it was a whirlwind of a season.

One of the main reasons why it was such a whirlwind was not just because the mainstay writers at our former place of employment left to start SCN, but also the building of Fans First Sports Network (FFSN). Trying to build a comprehensive sports network, as well as a go-to source for Pittsburgh Steelers content is no easy task.

Nonetheless, just like I talk about the Steelers’ rebuild, this is a more basic “build” for us at SCN.

So, a year down, what did we learn? What went right? What went wrong?

Well, a lot happened on both sides of the docket.

As an educator, I was always taught to end things on a positive. So, let’s start with what went wrong, and that might be a little harsh. Nothing went wrong, but this project has definitely been a learning experience. One of the biggest things I learned was the challenge of starting a website. People think websites just naturally show up on Google searches, but that is hardly the case. We all were almost disillusioned to thinking our content would somehow propel us up the rankings.

Boy was I wrong.

It has been tough sledding, but we’ve seen growth throughout the season. Has it been exponential growth? No, but growth nonetheless. Which brings me to the next aspect of this project which didn’t go as we planned. That would be nothing more than thinking the majority of our loyal readers would at least come over and give our coverage in our new digs a shot. Some did, but many did not. Our departure was met with a vitriol I never saw coming. When we left we gave our two weeks notice, and we thought fans would come on over and check out what we’re doing at SCN.

Again, I was wrong.

That’s okay. I know this website doesn’t have the visual appearance we want, and the comment section can be clunky. Both are going to be addressed this offseason, hopefully before the draft. However, I’ve also come to grips with us building a new audience. We’ve had a lot of people find our website from our growing YouTube channel, and our podcasts. While I wish we had the volume of our old home, I’ve been very pleased with the people who choose SCN as their Steelers source and have learned to call it, and the comment section, home.

The one thing which hasn’t changed is the content we provide. I stand by our content, and hold it up against any other Steelers website in terms of quality. Quantity? We stopped that game when we started this website, but in terms of quality I hold us up there with anyone.

Which brings me to the positives from this venture.

I truly feel you don’t know how far you can go until you go out on your own. When we left and started this venture, the appealing part was the fact we were building something from scratch. Developing something which was built by us, for the Steelers fan. While we have larger long term goals, I feel we got off on the right track.

Our podcast platform continues to grow, and our YouTube channel just rolled over 10k subscribers this weekend. The way I view SCN is not just as a website, but as a brand. We had to start over from scratch on almost all fronts, and we are seeing growth in all areas. Clearly, the YouTube channel was ours, so that wasn’t started from scratch, but our Twitter account started at 0 and has nearly 1k followers after one season. Facebook started from scratch and is nearing 20k. This growth can’t be overlooked when you are starting over.

So, where do we go from here? What’s next?

I mentioned how we want to give the website a new/fresh look, while addressing some of the things fans have told us would help improve the product, but we also want to continue to grow the brand. Quality has always been a high priority, but I also want to start including new voices/names to our content. There is a massive amount of talent out there, and people who just want to be able to get their fandom for the Steelers out in many ways.

I want to have a platform which gives you that voice you both want/deserve.

This has been a huge learning experience for me, and it’s been more than humbling at many junctures. However, if I had the opportunity to go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Having full control of your content, how you do things, and building something truly special is far better than the safety and comfort of a house built for you. Building a house is difficult. It is dirty. Some want others to build it for them, but I’ve never been one to shy away from dirty work.

We aren’t going anywhere, and I hope you enjoy the process of this SCN “build”.

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