When I came up with the idea to start this blog, I had no idea what my expectations should be.
I had no idea if students would want to write for their respective teams. I had no idea if parents would want to bother sending in photos or helping write recaps. And even if we did get content, I had no idea if anyone would read it.
To say I’m surprised by the results so far would be a gross understatement. Thursday was the one-month mark since we officially announced our blog to this audience, and the outcome thus far has been astounding.
Let’s look at some numbers.
Since we announced Plaindealer Sports on Aug. 26, we have posted 94 blogs covering all fall sports from modified to varsity, historical photos, Hall of Fame info, Booster Club reminders, featured content on people of distinction, and even a hole-in-one. These 94 posts have attracted 6,645 visitors to the site, who have viewed a total of 27,869 posts. That means that each visitor is reading, on average, 4.19 posts. That’s huge!
These views don’t just come from our immediate surroundings. In fact, they come from all over the world. Plaindealer Sports has been viewed in 21 different countries, including the United States, Canada, Togo, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain, South Korea, China, Hong Kong SAR China, France, Singapore, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Mexico, India, Philippines, and South Africa. We have readers on five different continents!
Our best day yet came on Sept. 6, when 443 people visited Plaindealer Sports and viewed a total of 2,924 blogs. We also have 48 subscribed followers who get email notifications about our posts.
We have more than a dozen student writers who post their own, original content about their teams. We have coaches and parents who also contribute regularly, both by writing and editing recaps for teams and submitting photos they take from the sidelines.
Most of our viewership sees our blogs posted on Facebook, which has been the perfect platform to share our blog posts. But, it’s not the only one. NorthCountryNow also shares our content on their website, and we also share content with Dave Shea’s Ogdensburg-based sports blog, Old School Sports Journal.
Statistics are fun to look at, but they don’t tell the real story of what’s happening here. That story comes from people I encounter on the streets, who tell me they are so happy to be able to keep up with Canton sports. It’s Canton Fire Chief Bob Crowe telling me he likes to check on scores whenever he sees a post. It’s Eric Mende reading blogs daily from halfway around the world. It’s Martha Chisholm telling me she reads every post everyday, just because it’s available. It’s half the town telling me they love to read about JV boys soccer because Scotty Ahlfeld is funnier and more thorough with his recaps than most seasoned sports reporters.
The success of Plaindealer Sports so far tells me there’s room for growth, room for expansion.
And we will get there. We already have plans for what’s next. First off, we plan to expand how we involve students in the process, by continuing to offer school credit for their work with the blog and coming up with new roles for them so that we can upgrade our content and give them more real-world experience. Sending students to shoot photos at games, keep more accurate stats and even provide some commentary during live streams or doing video or audio recap segments are all ideas that have been floating around.
We also plan to grow beyond just school sports. Hunting and fishing photos, canoe races, run/walks; these are all things that you used to be able to see in the Plaindealer that we no longer have access to. Soon enough, we hope to offer all of that on Plaindealer Sports.
And we are always willing to have more help! If you have a few extra minutes each week and want to help write or edit content, upload photos, or offer something new to our platform, please do not hesitate to reach out. This is community news, which means it must be produced BY the community, FOR the community.
So, thank you for your support so far. I hope you’ve been enjoying our content as much as I have. Keep supporting us. Not only does Plaindealer Sports offer great insight into the accomplishments of our students, but it also provides those students with a real-world experience by allowing them to write for publication and have their content consumed by the public. Seeing their hard work – both on the field and in their writing, being published for all to see – is empowering and encourages them to take pride in what they do.
If you have ideas for us, or if you want to get involved, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Bears!