Sunday, 26 December 2010

A letter from the Queen

Transmission from Buckingham palace via email below

"Dear Executive Summary,

Congratulations on reaching your hundredth post. As you move into three figures you become part of a select group and have grown to be known a pillar of the online community. I wish you all the success you desire as you continue to entertain audiences worldwide.

Your pal, Lizzy II.

P.S. Play up Pompey"

n.b. Yes yes, I realise that this is my hundredth post so I wouldn't have received this communication from the monarch yet (even if it were real), but she preemts the 100th post OK?

Happy holidays everyone!

A big thank you to those of you that occasionally cast your eye over this page.
If you are reading this in the new year, then welcome to 2011, detox, colds and financial strain. Ahhh January

Well, I've been racking my brains about how to create a great hundredth post and nothing has sprung to mind. It's strange that I've been busting a gut to get up to three figures in terms of posts all year, and now I'm here I feel a bit deflated and blank. Well, in tribute to all of the 'what I've learned in my first year of blogging' and '5 tips to rake in the readers' posts, here are my thoughts:

Having a blog still has a bit of a stigma attached to it.
It turns out not everyone lives their live online 
Quality and Quantity - Whilst the quality of posts is important, you have to regularly post to hold people's interest. There are so many sites which amalgamate the best of the internet, of have strong readership bases already, it's difficult to keep up with the competition.

Keep it visual - Reading passages is simply not enough for audiences. They need images and videos to connect with and help visualise whatever you are writing about. Sourcing relevant, quality and funny images can be tricky, especially with so many posts bashed out at work.

Prompting interaction is hard - The best internet content is interactive, with discussion, voting and debate etc. You can incorporate tools to help audiences do this, but essentially, interaction doesn't happen unless; The article is frothy, funny and an easy throwaway share, you have a large readership, you are a trusted media source (e.g. The Guardian online).

This is not a Therapy? session - It is tempting to air your own grievances, but readers want something that they can connect with. Artistic license can always be used to make your situation or story more relevant to your audiences.

Anonymous writing doesn't work - Audiences need personal opinions to connect with, so inanimate voices don't always engage or inspire.

The Audience doesn't come to you - This is fairly obvious of course. Yet until you start blogging, you don't appreciate that blogs are essentially dead individual pages. Most known content on the web is connected by search, linking and sharing. Bloggers have to create this themselves, and this takes a lot of technical knowledge. Whatever 'Blog self help bloggers' say, promotion and search are the key to grabbing attention. Google search, Blog search engines and how to noticed by bigger media sources is still a complete unknown to me. Collective blogs are a much simpler way to get readers, but there aren't many good examples of these to use. Lets hope someone gets their act together in 2011 and makes this easier for us all.

Select a relevant topic - Office life is too broad a topic. I have not found too many office bloggers to connect with. I think many bloggers write on entertainment, something useful (i.e. tips and links on niche topics) or to keep a personal diary. Office drones seem to vent their spleins on Twitter and don't want a more in depth discussion. I guess in a way I'm unique.

Writing should be fun - I'm pretty tired of people asking if you can make money from it, or what your plans are. It's like asking someone who plays for a local hockey team how much they get paid for playing on a Saturday, or asking the old dears down at the parish how much they make a year from flower arranging. If you can make money from something you love, great. Unfortunately everyone wants to do something they love, and money doesn't grow on trees. I feel like I'm ten years too late to make money from blogging, I do it for the love of writing. When it stop being fun, I'll stop writing.

Executive Summary is becoming more ambivalent about his own ramblings. The new year holds more quality and less quantity blogging for me. When I do post, I will try to be more constructive and cover topics in greater depth.  This page may well morph into another blog, so watch this space. You've heard enough of my ranting for now I'm sure.

Signing off
Executive Summary