It’s that time of year to reflect on the past 12 months, the season of lists and growing wistfulness (to misquote Keats). Time to think about the year that was, and what might have been. I have been writing this blog for 6 years, and it seems like a good opportunity to take stock, as Content in Context takes a break until the new year.
First, some facts. The most popular post this year has been “I’m old, not obsolete”, even though it was published more than three years ago. In a similar vein, my most popular posts of all time could both be regarded as evergreen articles: one about crate digging in Japan, and another about the new conglomerates (update here). This year’s most popular new posts were both about Blockchain (here and here). In fact, I have mentioned the broader topic of Blockchain, cryptocurrencies and digital assets more than 50 times in the past 5 years, starting with a reference to CoinJar in mid-2013. Not too surprising, given this is where I have been focusing most of my efforts over the past two and half years.
Second, as regular readers will know, I have tried to be very disciplined about the frequency and scheduling of my posts. Whether this is purely for my benefit, or whether it helps my audience, I don’t know – but it seems to work, as I need a regular deadline, and posting on a weekly basis avoids the risk of fatigue (my own and the readers’).
Third, I realise it took me a while to find my voice – and to gain confidence in sharing my thoughts and ideas in public. Some of my early efforts didn’t quite hit the mark, as I was either trying too hard or I hadn’t yet identified what made my content have impact. Over time, based on reader feedback, the more I express my own opinions (rather than regurgitating other people’s’ views) the more that people engage with the content.
Fourth, I have always maintained two key principles in producing this blog: 1) every word is my own; and 2) no cash for comment. Over the years, I have been approached by numerous freelance bloggers who want to produce articles for me (for a fee, of course); and by PR firms who want to push sponsored content on behalf of their clients. I have managed to avoid going down that path. Nothing wrong with either activity, but it’s not in keeping with what I set out to do, and it would undermine my desire to be authentic – plus, I think it would potentially compromise my independence.
Finally, writing this blog often helps me to work out my thoughts, and develop them into ideas that I can use for my consulting work. At the same time, this platform allows me to air my views on topics which don’t immediately relate to my professional life – but which are consistent with my personal perspective and tastes. And while this blog doesn’t define who I am, it does form part of my personal branding, and I also hope it is a true reflection of my beliefs and values.
On that note, my I wish all my readers a safe, peaceful and reflective festive season. Usual output will resume in the New Year.
This post sounds like it was written by me, as it is exactly the experience I have had.
I am sneaking up on 1700 posts, over 9 years, and the most popular post this year was written in March this year, but the next 5 most popular, all very close in numbers, are ‘evergreens’ delivering eyeballs almost every day, year after year.
Similarly, I write every word, and try and put my own ideas, views, and experiences into every post, just in case someone else benefits. While I take ideas from wherever they come, the thought of just regurgitating them without my own experiences being woven in is poison. I have discovered that the greatest value is in ordering and collecting my own thoughts for my benefit.
I tend to range over a wider area than you, so have not been inundated with those wanting to leverage in one way or another my efforts, but when there has been an approach, it has been summarily rejected.
One thing i have noticed is the continual squeezing of algorithms by the social platforms as they chase ad budgets, making it much harder for minor players like me to be seen amongst the detritus of the web, but at the same time, more important that the integrity of my own digital real estate be maintained.
Merry Christmas and keep up the good work in 2019