When I was in Arcata, California in 2014, I published a blog focused on the region’s electronics and microcontroller community. When I launched the blog, I set and later met a goal of publishing posts for at least 100 consecutive days after launch.
When the civic hacker community in NE Wisconsin got connected in 2015, I created a civic hacking blog for which I published posts for more than 150 consecutive days.
After applying for the position of Events Wrangler at Automattic in early April of 2016, I decided to start an “events wrangling” blog, using WordPress.com, with a next-level target of posts for 200+ consecutive days. My expectations in doing this were as follows:
- Be a more impactful Automattic Events Wrangler (AEW) due to increased knowledge of, and skill with, WordPress.com features
- Become a more effective events wrangler through researching, discussing and writing about the world of events wrangling.
- Become an increasingly effective author of a quality blog
- Demonstrate commitment and ability to follow-through
- Expand and improve my personal and professional network
- Identify and promote upcoming events, and develop proposals for new worthwhile events
More Impactful Automattic Events Wrangler
Knowing more about WordPress.com tools and features and being able to skillfully use those will allow me to have more impact on people I talk with and on people who read my blog. The primary responsibilities for an AEW don’t mention knowledge of and skill with WordPress and other Automatic products. However, having a good general background in that area will help me better relate to speakers, event attendees, coworkers and others I interact with who are familiar with the tech ecosystem in which Automattic is immersed. My impact on event speakers, sponsors and attendees is likely to be much greater if they can see that their primary reason for being at the event (WordPress or other Automattic products, and the people who use them) is a topic with which I am conversant.
An AEW can coordinate all the logistics for a WordCamp without ever having published a WordPress blog, but doing the blog will increase my enjoyment of the event and may create opportunities for me that would otherwise not have existed.
Working hard on the Events Wrangling blog will be self-reinforcing. I hope to learn a little bit more on each blog post, and make each one a little better in some way. As the blog becomes better, more people will read it, or more people will get something out of it. Some of those readers may begin to publish a WordPress blog, or they may use tips and tricks I’ve written about. Reading my blog may convince people to speak at an event who would not have done so if they hadn’t read it. Similarly, a few blog readers may attend an event they would not otherwise have gone to. Ergo, I start having more impact as an AEW.
More Effective Events Wrangler By Knowing More About Events Wrangling
The primary subject of my blog is events wrangling. I will write about everything under the sun relevant to this topic. As a result of being an events wrangler for more than 10 years, I will write the content of many blog posts based on my own experiences. However, some of the content I present and discuss will be based on research I do online, while other parts of the posts will come from discussions I have with people involved in events, or from future events that I help wrangle or in which I participate.
Organizing my thoughts about an event topic will help me manage that topic better during the next event. Researching the general topic of event wrangling will make me aware of event aspects I hadn’t thought about before, or will show me how another wrangler approaches things differently than I do.
Researching an event-related post topic with which I am unfamiliar will give me new perspectives or new skills, or at least a broader knowledge base from which to make decisions about improving events. It’s been said that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it. By writing a blog post about an unfamiliar topic involved in event wrangling, I myself will learn and benefit as much as the reader of the post, possibly more.
Conversations I have with knowledgeable event wranglers, sponsors, speakers and attendees will give me valuable insights into what makes an event successful or less-than-successful. Looking at things from the perspectives of those four demographics will help me to consider everyone’s point of view when working on future conferences, workshops or meetups.
Increasingly Effective Author Of Quality Blog
I truly want (and sincerely need) to become a more effective author of acceptable quality blog posts. For me, effectiveness involves quite a few criteria or metrics, some of which are:
- Writing content with increased reader engagement and value
- Writing productivity, target 30 – 60 minutes for typing and publishing one post (next year that should drop to 20 – 40 minutes per post)
- Improved succinctness (less wordy)
- Inventory of 5 – 10 reserve posts
- Interview published every 2 – 6 weeks
- Guest post published every 3 – 6 weeks
- SEO impact of blog effectively measured and continually improved
- Improved portfolio and online resources for blog post photos and graphics
A plan needs to be developed and worked on to achieve those authoring goals. None of them will be easy, but all are worth pursuing.
Demonstrate Commitment And Follow-Through
You may think I’m foolish for setting a goal of blog posts on 200 consecutive days. Having done 100 day and 150 day goals, I know it won’t be easy. Or you may think there’s no challenge to publishing reasonable-quality posts on 200, or even 500, consecutive days. Try it and see…
When I hit day 200 for the Events Wrangling blog, it will feel great! The personal satisfaction will last long past Day 200, and my 200 blog posts viewable online will demonstrate my ability to follow through on a challenging commitment.
Expand / Improve My Network
Building and maintaining relationships is a topic that generates enough content to fill book after book and thousands of blog posts. For this post, I am just mentioning several categories of people with whom relationships may be established or strengthened because of the Event Wrangling blog. Those categories are:
- Authors of online content and event-relevant people identified as a result of publishing the blog
- People whom I interview as the subject of a post.
- People who contact me as a result of seeing the blog.
- New relationships that are initiated by bridge contacts as a result of me publishing the blog.
Promote Future Events, Develop New Events
“Events Wrangling” gives me a platform to promote future events that seem worthwhile for various reasons. My blog post’s marketing impact on the event will be negligible, but every little bit helps. And the post will give me an opportunity to take a deeper look at some aspect of wrangling that event. The different categories of events are:
- WordPress and other Automattic events
- Non-Automattic events in which I am involved
- Other events with relevance to Automattic and to events wranglers
Once again, my blog post is longer than it seems like it should be, and it definitely took much more time to write than the goal mentioned above. Every “next” post is another chance to do better…