Anticipation for that next monthly article

As many bloggers will be aware, especially those who produce content frequently, there are certain core topics that you can recover countless times without them getting old. Because there is never any end to the particular topic that is being talked about, you can pretty much bank on it to draw in some interest at a set time.

Anticipation for that next monthly article

Anticipation for that next monthly article

Image source: Wikipedia click here for this interesting Wikipedia entry on traffic lights.

My Personal Recommendation as a blogger

As a blogger and as a friend to all bloggers, I would suggest that as one of your items to do, no matter at what point along your blogging journey, you ensure that you have one type of article that you can always return to each month. It doesn’t even matter if it doesn’t do hugely well in the beginning, it will just get you into the mode of improving your craft.

 

Blog Prefect’s End of Month Traffic Report

I run a month traffic report. When I used to post less, I was able to get it out pretty much on time every month. The traffic report as a functioning article has grown significantly each month with its complexity rising. It is the most involved element of my schedule involving the most time within a given monthly deadline (I do sometimes work on long-term posts which take far longer but these are few and far between).

Traffic July 2014

Click here to see a whole slew of traffic reports.

 

Something magical happens near the end of each month

Part of me writing this article is to share with you my joy of seeing my previous reports get some hits at the end of the month. These signals indicate that there is some interest to this monthly content and that data (or evidence if you prefer) excites me.

You should be equally as excited if interest stirs in your work. If you are able to garner a habit making piece of work, you might be able to harness that into something truly rewarding.

 

The power of serialization

Unless you come from planet Zog you’ll know that in Hollywood and in the games industry, sequels sell like hot cakes. If you can hook someone back for something each month, you may be able to drive more loyalty, and with more loyalty you’ll be able to put more eyes on your words.

I watch Neighbours. I’ve been watching Neighbours since the age of 9. I come back and watch Neighbours because it is my happy place. I’ve only missed approximately 60 episodes. Neighbours is an Australian soap opera and the reason I like it is because it is familiar but not home. Since Neighbours has been shown on Channel 5 in the UK (after moving from the BBC who don’t use adverts) I am now very aware that ALDI infect my soul. I’ve never been to the shop but ALDI hummus is something that strikes fear and loathing into my head. But can you see how powerful the draw of returning is? I would suffer all those adverts for my beloved Neighbours.

I have sought to try to find something that I can serialize because if you can find a winning formula, people will come back FOREVER-ish.

 

Two powerful emotions

  • Anticipation
  • Expectation

Anticipating something may lead to you becoming anxious. Anticipation has led to many world-class sprinters starting before the starting pistol and being disqualified. Anticipation can be a good thing because it can lead people to make interim decisions (in my case, reading the previous month’s report while they are waiting). Anticipation can be a bad thing because if you don’t deliver on time you might upset your relationship with your audience.

Expectation is not dissimilar to anticipation but expectation is the more patient cousin. Expectation occurs when you generate some relationship with your audience and they seek improvement upon the original. Expectation is a great thing when you provide all you did before and better, but a bitch when you take things away and don’t provide what you promised (Sims 4 toddler and Create a style fans may nod your head now). Expectation can sit hand in hand with Hype, and Hype sits hand in hand with anticipation.

Hype can be great if the item feeling the heat of the spotlight outshines expectation and deeply disappointing when it shoots far wide of the mark. We often speak more of over-hype than we do of under-hype. The reason is that if our expectations aren’t lifted sky-high with over hype, we are far less likely to be disappointed.

 

Examples of how these emotions can manifest

Which film was I disappointed about this year?

Cap’n America 2 & Transformers 4

Okay, that’s two films. Now I should have been prepared for disappointment with Captain America: Winter Soldier mostly because I hated Captain America (even though I so hoped it was going to be good) and met the part of Cap in Avengers with a certain “Meh”. I thought they could have approached that character so much better but they’ve left me disappointed three times. I’ve not even read the comics but something just doesn’t seem right about him. I feel kinda the same about the Hulk too with all of the actor changes, the thread was lost. I liked Eric Bana as the Hulk, they go and change him. I liked Ed Norton as the Hulk, they go change him again. I like Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Please don’t change him, please! Anyways, I digress..

Transformers 4 was far more of an unexpected disappointment because I don’t dislike Michael Bay (whilst everybody else seems to) and I loved the first 3 transformer films. Number 4 felt like a stretch. I liked the new cast but some felt more comfortable than others. This whole “I must invite China to my film because I need their red bucks” is getting somewhat tired and the shameful inclusion of the Dinobots clearly aimed as a cynical ploy to sell more toys to the kiddies (The Dinobots were actually the one good bit of the film) was also a considerable groan. The truth is, I will probably still buy this for the collection, I’m just rather disappointed that it wasn’t more despite the big budget. Less, sometimes, is more…

Which film took me by surprise?

Into the storm which I’ve seen recently was, what people may consider, a ripoff of Twister. I have to say that this film was frickin’ awesome. It didn’t have a big cast of well-known actors but that was kind of why it worked a bit better because although the cast were a collection of less well-known actors (and some fresher faces) the cohesion of that cast worked really well. I didn’t think that the CG was overdone or the plot was too thin. It all seemed to come together to make a great watching experience. Because the film wasn’t over-hyped (in the UK at least) I didn’t have enormous expectations and so I had an unexpected viewing pleasure. Plus the ending was hilarious so I’d recommend you go see it.

Okay, honourable mention to Guardians of the Galaxy, and yes, they did hype the poop out of this. It performed. I loved every component. Every brass tack. My only slight disappointment came in the shape that with all of the trailers, they showed approximately 33% of the best bits of the film, and it always sucks when you see most of the best bits already. Nobody likes spoilers. I’ve tried to write my 4 film parts here without spoiling and I’m not going to include images. I spoiled the last series ending of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for my sister many years ago and she has never forgiven me since. Sometimes it is better not to know!

 

A word of warning

Formulas do become “Samey” over time. Whilst trying to pursue balance, quality and meet expectations, it is also prudent to mix it all up once in a while. You may notice if you look at my traffic reports, they now involve a much larger series of analytic data than they once covered. I’ve expanded upon all things, I’ve occasionally changed the format and at periodic points I will bin what doesn’t work. Unlike solo pieces that stand on their own, my end of month report can be weighed up against previous installments. Some of my reports have done far better than others even though the content has not varied much in terms of quality. You may have to prepare for unusual results.

An example of a formula that has got toooooo samey.

CSI. Crime Scene Investigation. Sorry Americans, it has just gone on too long. I know you’ve changed the main guy to Ted Danson, I know Elisabeth Shue is in it so technically you’ve changed the head on the broom but it’s still the same broom. Somebody dies at the start, they find the killer, it may involve a bit of tension, enhancing pixellated pixels, super glue, fetishes, Jazz hand hipster music entered into short investigatory techniques and copious amounts of big headed brushes, gizm on motel beds with copious amounts of UV light, we may learn something about one of the cast, roll end titles. Yawn repeatedly. The end. Season 14. Should have stopped at 10. {Shakes head energetically}. The thing is, my parents will continue watching this until their eyes no longer work. Damn you!

 

In conclusion

Hopefully you’ve learnt that one key tool in your blogging tool-chest is some periodic updated content. An article that runs along a theme and that sparks viewers to watch out for it. Whilst you may bore of me mentioning his name; Pat Flynn, my non biological, non related, cousin across the pond; rocks when it comes to serialized articles, podcasts and other materials.

So if you haven’t got around to a repeatable success, why the hell not?

You know where the comments live! (BELOW)

 

If you like articles on Great Expectations, check this post out.

 

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