What I learned from the A to Z challenge
Well, the A to Z challenge is finally over! Thanks for sticking with me through it all! I hope you learned a little about communication, culture, and current events here in Mumbai, India.
Participating in the challenge for 30 days enabled me to build good metrics about what readers like, and (more importantly) what they don’t like.
My top 3 takeaways
1. Setting deadlines spurs creativity.
Planning and scheduling posts really helped unblock my writing. For example, “X is for the x-rated x-ray machine” was a blog about tampons on which I had been working for months. I had abandoned it months ago, stuck because I felt that I wasn’t really saying anything new. Yet, that post was my most popular Facebook post. Why? Because menstruation is a common biological process that every woman can relate to, regardless of culture. Also, using the word “x-rated” in the title probably helped.
2. Automation is easy, but can be ineffective.
For this challenge, I decided to automate the cross-posting of the blog to Facebook and Twitter to reduce the steps I had to perform manually. However, I don’t know that it always helps reach. On Facebook, the most popular post was automated. But, on Twitter, adding a hashtag or handle to a post greatly improved the likelihood of retweets and reach.
3. People like stories.
Ultimately, the reason for the success of the tampon blog is that it tells a story (3 actually). The stories enable the readers to inhabit the experience of another person while learning about a major health issue.
Now, that the challenge has ended, I thought it might be interesting to revisit which posts were the most popular and why.
Top 5 posts overall
On the website, the following posts received the most clicks:
The clear winner with three times as many hits as the next entry is “P is for Powai.” This post listed my top 5 favorite things to do in my Mumbai suburb. One thing that helped this post was tagging Powai Info in the tweet. I also sent the link to my yoga class, and the members forwarded the link on through their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Ultimately, the Powai link made it all the way to a Mr. Hiranandani, who helped develop Powai’s master plan.
Surprisingly, the taboo topics of tampons and toilets scored high on the list. Well, maybe not so surprising after all. The reach of the tampon blog was helped by cross-posting by Lipstick and Politics.
Top 5 Facebook posts
On my Facebook page, the results differ slightly with tampons and toilets taking the top spots followed by my entries on local NGOs. I don’t pay for promotion, so all activity is organic. That activity was helped by a charity gala that had spotlighted the charities about which I blogged.
- X is for the x-rated x-ray machine
- T is for toilets
- F is for Foundation for Mother and Child Health
- M is for Mumbai Mobile Creches
- J is for Jana Gana Mana
My top 5 favorite posts
My top 5 and readers’ top 5 posts differ a bit. Here’s my list:
While the dancing blog was the most fun to research and write, my favorite is about the Indian election option of NOTA (none of the above). Why? Because it’s fascinating that Indian voters could choose to not choose someone for office, an option we don’t have in the US. A close second is the Poo2Loo blog because UNICEF has an amazing campaign about an important social issue with a serious economic impact.