I started this blog on Dec. 28, 2015, with a goal of publishing roughly twice a week.
So, the objective was essentially 100 posts by Jan. 1, 2017.
While I missed that goal, I came close, ultimately achieving 93 posts by Jan. 1.
87 of those were actually written during 2016.
Of those first 93, here are the ones I consider the six best, and why – in no particular order.
A major reason I started this blog was to force myself to continue studying digital marketing and social media.
As a public relations consultant, understanding the current state of social media platforms and biggest trends affecting the industry is integral to my job.
And admittedly, there are several platforms (including Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram) about which I know very little.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to advise a client on social media strategy if you don’t have practical knowledge of that platform.
So this post was one of a small handful of “25 Facts About” listicles I drafted this year to force me to learn about a given topic.
I attempted to go beyond other existing informational posts by being:
- a bit more comprehensive (25 statistics rather than 10), and
- more current (there’s far more value in reading about the state of Instagram in December 2016 than say, how it was in April 2014).
While this particular post wasn’t particularly challenging to write, it ended up inadvertently being my most-viewed and most-popular so far.
It’s my unintentional anchor post – the one that visitors are most likely to encounter via Google, or link to in their own posts.
In 2016, this post alone accounted for 11 percent of my total page views (or 1 in 9 visits overall).
If any of my posts has a clickbait title, this is it.
But I think that, title aside, it’s exactly the type of post I started this blog to write.
It’s one that captures my unique voice, experiences, and insight.
In a world of copycats, this is a post that would be very difficult for anyone else to have written.
This was another lark – a post that unexpectedly went viral in China several months after I wrote it.
I’m proud of it regardless, because of how it came about.
I’m not a sports fan, but one night I came across Linsanity, this documentary about Jeremy Lin on Netflix.
And it was eye-opening. More inspirational than Rocky, with the added benefit of also being true.
This post was essentially a review of the film, along with additional information I learned from researching Lin’s story – all tied up in a bow of inspiration for would-be entrepreneurs.
And I can think of no greater compliment or validation than that the post was well-received on a Chinese basketball website months after I first posted it.
It also goes to the importance of process over content in writing.
No one knows what content will ultimately resonate with readers, so your focus as a writer should be on simply continuing to write.
Practiced faithfully, quantity of output will result in quality.
This post was a triumph on two counts.
First, because it’s received the most reader engagement to date.
Second, it represents a milestone.
It’s a post that one can only write after having gone through the process of publishing at least 50 blog posts. That journey is different for everyone, so the lessons are different as well.
But more than anything else, this post demonstrates how it’s the journey that matters, the constant war against the blank page, and the triumph of each small battle when you finally hit “publish.”
This post is another of the types I wish I’d written more of last year.
It evaluates a then year-old theory of content strategy by an expert and extends the theory by testing it against case studies drawn from two newly-emergent platforms (here, LinkedIn and Medium).
Basically, this was the closest thing to genuine “thought leadership” I produced last year.
I took an idea posited by a known marketing luminary, and went further, adding my own insight and spin from a “one-year-later” perspective.
The best part? Said marketing luminary noticed, and tweeted the piece out to his followers! (Thanks, Mark Schaefer!)
One of my 2017 resolutions is to write more posts like this one (and Do the Work That Doesn’t Scale, which is similar – but based on a 4-year-old article in Forbes).
While not a particularly popular post, this is one of the few “How to” ones I wrote last year.
Most of my writing is for myself, but the experts will tell you that the goal of a blog, and of building a loyal audience, should be to help others.
This is one of the few that truly does that, as it introduces readers to the social media platform Quora, and offers six actionable tips for quick success on that platform, based on my personal expertise (gaining more than 100,000 views there within 30 days).
Today, using the techniques described in this post and less than 10 hours of work total, my answers have received more than 750,000 views.
Meanwhile, I’m sad that I can’t write companion posts to this one on how to similarly “crush it” on Medium, Snapchat, Pinterest, or YouTube – merely because I haven’t yet achieved demonstrable expert-level results on those platforms.