Friday Five: What you read here and why

Decided to look at some data for this blog over the past year to find out which posts seem to be of most interest to you readers and, even more important, why.

Like most niche blogs, this one has a very specific target audience — the online community of people working in higher ed marketing, PR and web — so numbers alone won’t tell the story of why certain posts generate more interest than others. But the numbers are an indicator.

Below are the five posts that received the most pageviews between Aug. 24, 2010, and Aug. 24, 2011, and my thoughts about why these posts were the most popular:

1. Friday Five: A blatant appeal for help (off-topic), from Oct. 1, 2010. This post was an effort to help raise money for a co-worker who was struggling to make ends meet due to costs associated with her daughter’s cancer treatments. So many of you responded to this appeal with contributions to the cause. Thank you.

SydneyWhy (I think) you read it: The post was a compelling story, aided by a photo of the cute little girl who was undergoing cancer treatment. (That’s her on the left. See? Cute.) Unlike many of the topics I write about on this blog, this one had a strong human element, and many of you could relate. I also actively promoted this post via Twitter, Facebook and email, and as I updated the post with new news about funds raised, I tweeted about it even more. And many of you retweeted the story. So, the heavy promotion obviously helped. That’s one lesson I learned from Dan Zarrella during last June’s Lawlor Group workshop, which I also blogged about: It’s OK to promote, as long as you don’t overdo it. I probably came close to overdoing it in this case, but because I was tweeting for a good cause and not just to promote my own stuff, you were very forgiving. And very generous.

2. Friday Five: Lessons from a crisis, from May 12, 2011. This post, a quick summary of lessons learned right after a shooter incident on campus last spring, resonated with many readers and was retweeted for weeks afterward.

Why (I think) you read it: A shooter on campus is big, scary news in the higher ed PR community. People want to know how a campus dealt with the crisis. Our successful use of social media during the crisis added a novel twist to this story. This content — a combination of case study and lessons learned — held natural appeal for a big segment of this blog’s audience. (Over the past several months, social media and crisis communication has been the subject of posts by other higher ed blogs, including .eduGuru, HigherEdLive and, most recently, meetcontent.)

3. Why researchers should blog, from Nov. 26, 2010. This piece was inspired by a post by Peter Janiszewski, a health sciences researcher at Queens University. His post, titled Why all scientists should blog: a case study, presents a compelling case for using blogging as a vehicle for getting research ideas out to the online world.

Why (I think) you read it: This post got a lot of help from Peter Janiszewski and the audience of his own blog, Science of Blogging. It also benefited from tweets and retweets by a whole slew of Canadians, who seemed to appreciate the fact that I reached across the border to talk about the work of one of their own. One of the beautiful things about the Internet is its ability to break down barriers of nations. Here’s one small case where that worked.

4. Infographic of the day: the social media triage, from April 15, 2010. This post, though over 16 months old, still managed to generate interest over the past year — perhaps because it presents a useful and handy flow chart for social media managers.

Why (I think) you read it: It was short and useful.

5. Friday Five: why colleges and universities should blog (part 1), from April 1, 2011. This, the first post in a three-part series, was one created with a lot of help from my friends in the higher ed blogosphere. For this series, I solicited input from many of you, and you responded with information that proved to be of interest to this blog’s readership.

Why (I think) you read it: Many of the bloggers who were quoted in this post also helped to promote it via Twitter. The cross-linking from my blog post to their sites also helped. Again, an instance where cross-promotion and collaboration paid off.

Incidentally, each of the top five posts were close to the average or above the average in terms of average time on site. (The average for the year was 3:14, and the average for the top five posts ranged from 3:06 to 4:42.)

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Author: andrewcareaga

Higher ed PR and marketing guy. Communications director for Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Missouri, USA. Slow runner, mediocre guitarist, lover of music and puns, and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. I blog and Tweet about #highered, #music, #gocards and #random stuff.

4 thoughts on “Friday Five: What you read here and why”

  1. It may sound odd, but another reason many of us read #2 is because we think of you as one of the most awesome people we know online. So when we saw the news, we hoped you were OK — the rest of the campus, of course, we prayed were safe, but because we had a person connection with you and the quality person you are, it made it more immediate to us. Before social media, I’d never heard of your college, now it’s a place I feel I know somewhat.

  2. Tim is right.

    The human connection can explain the success of most of these blog posts.

    Same goes for the post about Sydney. I remember including a link to your post in my weekly email newsletter that week – and got several replies from parents in the higher ed community.

    After looking at the newsletter stats archives, I can say that it was the top story in terms of click-through rate that week – several of those clicks ended lead to donations.

  3. Tim – Your comment just made my morning. Thanks! Although I can’t let the administrators around here know that you had never heard of our campus, lest that reinforce their perception that we’re the “best-kept secret” in higher ed.

    Karine – Your newsletter post definitely helped to push visits to that story, and more importantly, helped raise the needed funds. Thank you!

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