Some history. On Friday 25th January this year I pressed ” Publish” on the first article for Viva70.com It’s an article about Bruce Springsteen on Broadway. It took me 4 hours to write and another 2 hours to source/organise/ reorganise/ resize the images to support the article. I was publishing 6 articles a week!
On Friday February 1st a group of friends and a very large cake with VIVA 70 written on it, celebrated the launch of my retirement fantasy- a magazine for the over 50’s about the arts, life style and also a life coaching element.Viva is my 70th Year project and at the time I explained that in 6 months I would know more, have learned what pixels are, have understood a bit about social media and I would review the progress made.
Two paths seemed possible for Viva 70. To strive for big numbers of users (a minimum of 250,000 hits on the site) and tens of thousands on social media. This would be the basis of earning income from advertising and sponsorship. Viva 70 would in 5 years be an income generating business. Or in another direction, Viva 70 might attract a small but committed number of readers and become a vehicle for people who want to write but without the expense and complexity of running their own site. The focus is on exploring ideas and the experiences of people over 50 without an imperative to generate income.
At the 4+ month mark what milestones have we reached for Viva70?
113 signed up subscribers to the viva70.com website
1030 hits on the site in a week is the highest number achieved
Daily Viva posts on Instagram with 1883 followers
Daily Viva posts on Facebook’s Viva 70 page averages 1200 likes a week
101 articles published
4 videos on Viva70 YouTube Channel
What have I learned?
Facebook has absolute power to determine how many people will see your posts on social media and therefore may travel to your site. If you pay Facebook, more people will see your posts. Sites that are making money have initially invested large amounts of money to get their media and blogs out there- then organic growth will take over hopefully. I’ve spent about $400 on boosting ads so far…a pittance in Facebook terms. Businesses I have spoken with pay thousands a week in the start- up phase to get their content visible to potential users.
I had a great scuffle with Facebook when they banned one of the images I wanted to boost ie pay facebook to show it to more people. They said it broke their guidelines. It was an image of a 1970’s poster for contraception which was in a Social History exhibition at a Bendigo gallery. I challenged their decision and suggested Facebook would certainly have banned Michelangelo’s sculptures too! They reinstated the image without comment.
Where is Viva70 headed?
The idea of Viva70 is much clearer 5 months on. Viva70 as a community conversation among people over 50 is powerful. As a vehicle for other people’s writing and photography it has a place. Sharing stories of real people living their over 50’s years with a vibrancy and viva spirit, is at its heart. There’s also a strong focus on the arts, travel, design. Videos have proved difficult and I have a lot to learn but it’s listed as a winter project- to learn how to produce simple, engaging content for the Viva70 Youtube channel.
I’m steering away from mass numbers toward word of mouth marketing because the content is engaging and worth reading/ seeing. While our age group loves Facebook (68%) only 9% of our demographic use Instagram but I’ll continue with both because they’re fun and can channel a few people to the site. Quality and range of content are what propels me into the next year or so. Having 30+ writers on board is a target. Increasing numbers visiting the site and subscriber numbers matters. Producing good videos is a goal for the future. Encouraging comments/ conversation on the articles is important. We have a bulk of content now and I hope to produce 3-4 excellent articles each week. The website will be reshaped with pull down menus discriminating different categories eg Life Style will have pull down menus for travel, garden design, interiors, architecture. These are all plans for the future of Viva70 over the next 12 months.
Huge Thanks to all the creative friends/ contributors who have trusted me with their words and images or have helped in other ways…..
Annerley O’Connor for the set up and running of social media for the first 6 weeks of Viva’s existence and your patience in managing my inane questions
Inge Hatton and Maureen Moffatt for your beautiful life and travel stories that inspired so many
Greg Collins for your stunning photographs that have graced the pages of Viva
Chris O’ Connor for your beautiful writing about life change- tree change and patiently responding to my request for ” I think we just need one more article…….”
Linda Linhart for your lovely series about travels in Italy & Myanmar
Kath Walton and Di Percy for your article about a renewal journey
Evelyn and Edi Wifling who opened their home and their hearts to me and trusted me as a L-plate video maker……sorry guys Fellini I am not! So much I need to learn!
Robert Mierisch for the poetry that moved our readers and made me stop in my tracks and reflect
Thanks to my advisory board who provide commentary, support, legal advice and take this boomer into the 21st century- Matthew Vitins, Anna Lord, Joh Kelly, Cameron Marshad
Also all those who leave comments, encourage and support my writing and Viva 70.