This is the last part of my 2013/2014 state of the Essex blog series, exploring the past, present and future of the Essex on Lake Champlain community blog. I promise to be short[er] and sweet!
If you missed one of the earlier posts, here are the direct links:
- 2013 Year in Review: Behold the Booming Blog!
- Readers, Writers & Blog Boosters: Thanks, Blog Community!
- How to Get Involved: We need your help!
While the first two posts reflected on the last year, the second two posts look into the future. Yesterday I emphasized the importance of welcoming new folks into the fold, and today I want to offer a glimpse of what’s in store for everyone who gets involved.
New Year’s Resolutions
I know pundits make much hay of new year’s resolutions. Yet while it’s true that most of us don’t make it beyond January without shedding a few plans and promises, I’m hoping that publishing our 2014 Essex blog resolutions will help ensure our success. If we’re falling short, don’t hesitate to remind us!
Workshops: Learn to Blog and Post Events
My top new year’s resolution is to teach everyone who is interested how to blog and how to promote events on the Essex Calendar. In my second post “Thank You, Essex Blog Readers, Writers and Boosters“, I showcased some of the most prolific and popular blog contributors over the last year. Next year I’m hoping to thank twice as many content creators.
Many of you have been asking for instruction over the last year, but there simply was never enough time. I’m going to make sure it happens this year, not once, but twice. The first workshop will be in early February. I will collect time/date preferences at the Essex business meeting next week and then announce a workshop that works for the majority. (If you will not be at the meeting, contact us with your ideal days and times in early February.)
Workshop will include:
- Why blog?
- Ingredients for a good blog post
- Introduction to WordPress (CMS powering the Essex blog)
- Blog publishing demonstration
- Event Calendar publishing demonstration
We will schedule a follow-up workshop based upon interest/feedback in February. And Katie and I will personally support new bloggers this spring so that you are ready to dazzle when the peak summer season arrives.
We have been building a public Essex Google map over the last year that we will integrate into the website and mobile interface. This is a collaborative project and profits from multiple contributors augmenting the regional Google map with geolocated content. Our hope is to provide users (especially visitors/tourists) with a comprehensive tool that will allow them to access as much relevant digital content as possible when visiting and/or planning to visit Essex.
In addition to a digital map, we are preparing a print map (hand doodled images, heritage/history sites, merchants, etc.) that we hope to make available for free to Essex visitors. We will update you about this project in the early spring once we have a prototype completed.
We will advance the initiative launched last summer to incubate, collect, curate and showcase Essex related doodles and illustrations. We will continue to solicit and publish doodles from Essex residents and visitors, and we will begin selling our first volume of Essex doodles, The Doodler’s Guide to Essex Architecture this summer. If you are interested in participating in this project, please let us know.
In addition, we will migrate the doodle posts that were published at EssexNY.us onto the Essex blog to focus creative content creation on Essex on Lake Champlain and Essex area calendar events on the latter site.
We will continue to expand the Essex related merchandise we have available in local boutiques, and we will likely make it available for sale online as well. Expect additional illustrated greeting cards, illustrated booklets, and Essex apparel. As in the past, all revenues from these Essex items are reinvested in the blog. Our hope is that we will begin to offset the cost of running the website(s) through several micro-income streams include Essex merchandise.
Short and Sweet!
That concludes our new plans, but the biggest carry-over plan is to continue growing and supporting the blog, improving the user experience and nurturing the quantity and quality of content. Thanks for the opportunity to serve you in this capacity, and please offer any feedback that you think can help us reach our goals.
Thanks for reading my 2013/2014 state of the Essex blog series. Cheers to an extraordinary, unimaginably inspired 2014!
- Thank You, Essex Blog Readers, Writers and Boosters (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- 2013 Year in Review: Behold the Booming Blog! (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- How to Get Involved: We need your help! (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)