Project: Around Disney blog

Link: Around Disney

Link: Sonya Smith’s posts on Around Disney

In March 2008 the technology reporter returned from maternity leave and I was moved over to the tourism beat while that reporter went on maternity leave. I was given a project: build a successful community around tourism news.

The blog I was given was called OC Resort. The highest month of page views was 10,000. The monthly average was 5,000. Many other websites had laid claim to the passionate and uber-passionate Disney fans. OC Resort was known only as a blog covering the politics of Disney and the city of Anaheim.

I was given five months and my goal was to reach 100,000 page views in a month while building a strong reputation and community. I tried all sorts of coverage hoping to find the right mix. The company bought me a Disney pass so I could visit the parks a few times a week. Every visit I chatted with tourists and walked the whole length of each park looking for any small changes or potential stories.

In my final month on the blog the blog received 92,000 page views – just short of my goal. But, the rest of my goal had been reached: I had successful relationships with the other Disney bloggers, the blog was covering not just the big Disney stories but the nuances to the park and its guests. User-generated content was found throughout the blog and comments were found on almost every post.

Today, the blog is covered by Sarah Tully and Mark Eades at the Register. The blog continues and the innovation continues.

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