Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Half-Million the Hard Way

So I didn't win the Powerball, so I am not a millionaire, or even a billionaire.

Nor did the office pool tickets win anything either.

But this month, I did become a half-millionaire.

In hits that is.

I'm talking about The Digital Notebook which you are reading right now, and at some point in the last week, it passed an artificial milestone.

It passed 500,000 hits.

Given that half the time, this blog is quite obviously a cut-and-paste job of press releases and photos sent in from local organizations, that's something worth noting.

As I have been contemplating the significance of this, it is also worth noting that those cut and paste jobs, with a few exceptions, are not big drivers of the numbers we're discussing here.

The exception which proves the rule is John Armato, the irrepressible, ever-adaptable and UNPAID director of community relations for the Pottstown School District

His releases have everything you want -- photos, photos, photos -- IDs for photos and a short, pithy run down of the event in the schools he is promoting.

In the interests of total disclosure, one of the reasons they drive hit numbers up is he then shares the posts I have culled from his submissions with the entire school community in a mass e-mail.

Everyone wins.

The staff and parents see the school efforts being showcased, efforts for which there is not always room in the pages of The Mercury, and my hit numbers go up.

So thanks John.

Those who know him know that as a wrestling coach, he likes to push the envelope and he was hoping, as the
numbers got close, I would reach the half-million mark before the year was out, so I could crow about that.

But I was content to let it happen when it happened.

And it did happen sometime in the first week of January.

It didn't happen over night.

My first post was on Nov. 9, 2011 and I did not hit the 500,000 mark until about 1,400 posts and four years later. (This is post 1,415 for those of you who are counting.)

The significance of all this, to me at least, has been watching what posts attract eyeballs and which don't.

I singled out Armato's posts precisely because they go against the trend I otherwise see.

The posts which I have observed invariably attract the most eyeballs are the posts with, what my profession now calls "original content."

You would not think, particularly if you've sat through as many as I have, that school board meetings and council meetings, would attract that kind of interest.

But almost without fail, that is what is driving those numbers.

Most recently, the live Tweeting of meetings, combined with the collection of those Tweets in something called a "Storify," (which I will forever insist is some kind of a Harry Potter spell), seems to have caught the attention of a segment of readership.

What makes this observation so satisfying to someone in my business is that these hit numbers confirm exactly what we have said all along.

People say they want positive stories about their community, and this blog has provided them in spades, and we're happy to do so. But the numbers don't lie.

What attracts the most eyeballs are the goings on of local government, how tax dollars are spent, and the idea that someone is keeping an eye on these things.

Which works out for me, because that's what I do for a living.

So, thanks for the eyeballs, stay with us because that's what you'll keep seeing here.

1 comment:

  1. Everyday you and the members of the media do a great service to the community by keeping them informed of the events and actions that play a role in their lives. More so in a small town the importance of knowing what is happening with local government and in our schools is vital. Developing a partnership with media can only help to tell our story and in so doing develop a relationship with the community that will lead to trust, understanding and support. Big believer in goals next up One Million views