A word from BCW
Blogging has become a bit of an obsession with me since setting up LGBTicons.com.
It seems like only a few months ago I started with an original mission statement to profile LGBT people of significance. Since then it’s diversified to include news, features on champions of the community, opinion pieces, guest blogs, juicy gossip and the occasional picture of someone so beautiful it needs to be shared.
Whenever I publish something it reminds me of my first foray into online dating.
Not just because whenever I share a story it’s immediately followed by people sending me pictures of their junk nailed to a table (this genuinely happened – best avoid Gaydar.org if you’re after moonlight walks), but because every time I send something into the ether, I sit there anxiously waiting for approval.
I sit waiting restlessly for someone to like me, anyone from anywhere in the world will do. As long as they get what I’m trying to say.
Over the past year I’ve realised that blogs are very much like dating profiles. You have to reel the reader in quickly with something different but appealing. Ideally, you want them to get so excited that they show it to their friends and chat about it.
My first ‘profile’ on LGBTicons.com was Constance McMillan, a young lesbian whose town cancelled the prom rather than let her attend it with her girlfriend. It was read by about 200 people. Mainly friends and family curious to see what the site was all about. I hadn’t figured out SEO or routes for the general public to find the writing by then. Regardless, those 200 views made me feel like I was Caitlin Moran.
Later, I wrote about Cheyenne Jackson, a very handsome half Cherokee gay actor. I included a picture of him in denim hot-pants. That was the first blog post to break one thousand hits on its first day.
When Jodie Foster hokey-kokeyed out of the closet at the 2012 Golden Globes, Josef Church-Woods wrote a guest blog about it. It was Freshly Pressed and was read nearly 60,000 times in the space of 24 hours.
That one translated to a huge boost in followers and subscribers.
When Sinead O’Conner wrote that letter to Miley Cyrus telling her to put her Hannah Montannah away, I somehow caught wind of it before Rolling Stone. That took LGBTicons over the 100,000 hits milestone.
I then researched and wrote a piece called In Search of Seroconversion, about gay men trying to deliberately get infected with HIV. I interviewed numerous men from all over the world and created what I think is my finest piece of content on the blog. 12 people read it.
The following day I shared a story about Turkish Oil Wrestling. Can you see where I’m going with this?
It took a lot of trial and error to get my blog right. It still needs work. But ultimately, it only really caught on when I identified the transferrable skills I had that could be applied.
As a live arts producer you’re taught to think about who you want to see in the front row of your show, and market accordingly. So that’s what I started doing.
Nearly two years in, LGBTicons has a fairly diverse front row. Some heckle, some sit quietly focussed and others get onto the stage and participate. I’m not sure there’s a magic formula; but I’m always happy to get feedback and ideas on what can be done better.