By the time we were done setting up these blogs and coming up with an actual strategy to grow them, I wanted to do more than just connect The Writing Catalog to my social networks and say “hey, here it is, come and read it sometime.” I wanted to create an event. I wanted the event to be funny, because funny things are memorable.
The ribbon cutting invitation and the two debuts were a series of rhetorical flourishes. That makes the inspiration for them a legitimate topic for the Writing Catalog. The Thank You was sincere and heartfelt. It also provided a nice ending to our party.
You can look at those four posts as 4 episodes of a story. The story was inspired by a series of conversations I had with Diana. Here is the distilled version:
Me: It’s going to take us a bit more time than I originally thought to organize the sort of collaboration we want on our fun Geek blog.
Diana: I already have this personal blog. I personally want to blog right now and I want people to read it. In a year or two, I want a lot of people reading Part Time Monster even though I’m contributing to a bigger blog.
Me: I know, and I really really want a blog devoted to writing. I just don’t want it to be my only blog. I also want to write about history and social theory and pop culture and games and mastermind discordian antics on the internet. Oh. And videos. Don’t forget the videos. How am I going to do that stuff with a writing blog?
Diana: Well, why don’t we just set up the collaborative blog and each publish a couple of pieces there a week. We’ve invited other folks to contribute. Once things slow down a little and we get into Spring, it will grow from there.
Me: We’re already talking about four blogs here. We’re going to be strapped for good content in the beginning, and you just told me you want an audience for Part Time Monster. You aren’t off to a real start until you have at least one blog posting something delicious four times a week. From there, you find a way to increase your posting to every day as quickly as you can. Then you do it for a year consistently. That’s how you start building the kind of audience you are talking about.
It only makes sense for us to publish three posts per week on a shared blog if that is the one we plan to start growing from day one. We need all four of these blogs, but the only way we have a chance at attracting a large audience is to pick one of them to grow and post our best stuff there. We have to make a choice about which one it’s going to be before I throw the switch on these two blogs I’m building.
Diana: Then let’s think of Part Time Monster as our brand and build it first. If anyone wants to contribute before January, they won’t even have to set up an account. I’ll paste their contributions in under a byline if that’s the way we need to do it. Once we get a few more people interested, and they have the time to think about what they want to write about, we can start the collaborative blog and put most of our energy into growing that one.
Me: Yes. If we work hard to establish a couple of blogs as consistent providers of good stuff now, we have a better chance of getting where we want to be than if we just write a few pieces on a shared blog and do our everyday posting at personal sites for three or four months.
Her “brand” comment was just a way of talking about a concept. We don’t seriously think of ourselves as “Part Time Monster Media.” We don’t even have premium accounts or $50 a month to spend on promotion. But that comment got me thinking about how to organize my own blogs, and I decided to play the idea of a startup for laughs.
My hope was that most readers would get the joke and be amused enough by it to follow us for a couple of weeks and give us a shot, and I also thought adding a little business language to my first two posts would not be a bad idea.
It was more effective than I dared to hope at the time I was writing, but I am not sure it was the best way to kick this project off. I will always wonder how I could have done it differently, but in the last two weeks, I haven’t been able to brainstorm a better alternative plan.
Next week: Composition and Revision