In Death of a Blog, Guest Author Jean of Cycle Write Blog and Third Wave Cycling Blog shares her experience of giving birth to a blog and bringing it to an end prematurely. Last year, she was guest author of this post Blogging and Cycling: It’s Like a Drug.
I never knew it was going to happen this fast: I was asked to discontinue a blog. It was a blog that I had created and fed it with blog posts and photos. (Note: The blog will disappear after 2012.)
Right off the bat, when I gave birth to this blog, I knew its lifespan was going to be short and sweet. The blog was supporting an international conference on cycling infrastructure planning. It was scheduled to start in only 3 months from the blog’s demise. The original plan was to freeze the blog after the conference and provide it as a resource for conference attendees and other readers unable to visit Vancouver.
Now it feeks like premature burial of a little art canvas – including all those articles that several writers and myself had spent time crafting along with formatting our personal photos.
Social marketing as a tool for drawing delegates at this time, is not always well developed or understood part of a marketing strategy. It was apparent among 1-2 conference planning team members. What were effective ways to use blogs, Twitter and Facebook? What was the purpose of a blog as part of a marketing program for a conference? This blog was an experiment in social marketing, with a hope to find other ways to draw delegates.
This blog marketed Vancouver as desired destination and thereby, was to stimulate interest for a niche conference. Sure, there was enough general Internet tourism information about Vancouver. But not enough to give readers, many photos from a bike saddle rider’s viewpoint, with tips on city destination points for exploring by bike. The blog was also a convenient communication tool before the conference registration website was even ready.
Hence, the blog was born and it blossomed slowly for 14 months. We even had a casual reader’s online poll and summarized survey results in a blog post which attracted a steady stream of viewing hits.
Then changes to the conference leadership, led to a decision that the blog served less purpose as a communication tool. Unfortunately a decision was made without improving a way to push out critical information from the conference registration web site, as equally fast as blog posts.
The conference team did use complementary social tools of Twitter and Facebook. However, the content brevity of information snippets and links, only meant regurgitating existing information from other web sites which weren’t always on target for our audience.
My blogmastering experience during a cranked up time frame of conference planning, left me pondering on lessons learned from a blog with a limited lifespan:
1. Limited blog life means the blogmaster should not become emotionally invested in it.
However if the event is a personal passion or cause, then the blog is energized by the blogger’s enthusiasm. A blog existential conundrum: A good blog that is well-fed sometimes also needs to die soon.
2. Have a plan that covers the lifecycle of the blog: Will the purpose of the blog remain the same near its demise compared to when the blog was launched?
At the end, this blog was intended to include last minute items for conference attendees. It would also provide a space for virtual photo album of conference experiences and events. But now this will not happen.
3. Brand your blog the same as all your other conference marketing vehicles.
For the first 4 months we used a local city photo before the logo header. The blog’s masthead did take time to design. A conference doesn’t begin with a full operating budget to pay a design firm. But in the end, we all liked the blog logo header which was used for business cards, conference program and bookmarks.
4. Have other writers contribute to the conference blog.
We invited local guest writers and allowed writers to link from their blog post to their personal blog for soft self-promotion.
Have you had to let go and bury a blog? What were the reasons for deleting your blog? Did you import any of your previous posts into another blog? What did you learn from death of your blog?