The big winners ... and much more

To all of the fantastic bloggers who have joined the world’s greatest investing/business/financial blog community (TMF) –

First, a quick congratulations to all of us as we close in on a year since a small team at the Fool first started discussing the idea of a blog network. We have dramatically surpassed the number of bloggers, the number of posts, the number of sessions, and, most importantly, the quality of those posts and are now a force in terms of providing a valued and valuable voice to the individual investor. Kudos and thank you to everyone has played a role in our tremendous early success. We look forward to all that is yet to come.

On to business…

You might recall, we ran a referral contest in July and August – as we wrote then, “for every Editor's Choice that comes from one of your new referrals in July and August, you'll be entered into at A DRAWING FOR A $1,000 BONUS. And we'll toss in another $1,000 to the blogger whose referrals earn the most ECs overall.” Thanks to everyone who submitted a referral, and congratulations to Alex Thorburn-Winsor and Tony Daltorio, who tied for the league lead in terms of ECs generated, and to William Bias, who was our randomly selected winner. Your bonuses will be in your next paychecks. And to everyone else, we’ll let you know all about our next contest shortly after we figure out what it is.

In less good news, we had a glitch in our connection with Google Analytics between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 – tech tells me that we can apparently access all the full session information by going directly to GA, but we can’t display it in the platform for you good people. The posts that are displaying absurdly lower numbers won’t be counted against your overall average, plus we’re not slaves to that number anyway. But if you send us the URL of a post you are curious about, we can find the session information. It looks (knocking on wood) like our connection is fixed now and we’re accurately and thoroughly reporting sessions again.

The Blogger Bonanza in August was an incredible success, thanks in large part the 40+ inquisitive and energetic bloggers who made their way to FoolHQ (35 or so of them flew here, from as far away as Argentina (ACardenal) and Singapore (Serjing)) for a fun, valuable, interactive, inspiring day. Of the 28 attendees who took the survey, 26 of them rated it Excellently Foolish, while the other two picked the second-best option (Pretty decent). Our whole team enjoyed the event as well, even though it was brutal for our backlog, which we’re now scraping and clawing to get back to the two-day review that we all want.

 

One thing that came out of the Bonanza survey was a surprising realization among bloggers of how important headlines are. They all had a sense that good headlines were generally helpful, but they now think about it this way: If an investor is scanning, say, the Yahoo ticker feed, they are going to base their reading decisions on the few words of your post’s title. If you write a boring, 14-word headline, nobody is going to click, no matter how mind-blowingly brilliant your post might be. In order to boost your sessions, put in the time to write compelling headlines that might encourage a reader to click, and be sure to deliver on the promise of your headline.

Finally, I kinda have a new job, although I’ll be keeping my role as head of the Blog Network. I’m now Head of Talent Development for all of the Fool’s contributors across the spectrum. That means that I’ll be spending more time figuring out how our team can identify the best bloggers (as well as contributors to our discussion boards, pitch writers on CAPS, premium services members, etc.), evaluate them more effectively, and give them more feedback and tools to develop top-notch Fool contributors. So you might see another Bonanza, but you also will likely see more comprehensive and wide-reaching programs that allow us to improve even more of our highest potential contributors. Sorry it’s not a fully formed vision yet, but I just took on this exciting new role (I haven’t even told my family yet!).

That’s more than enough for today. Thanks for everything you do and, as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at blog@fool.com if you have questions or ideas.

Fool on!

Roger


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