Prior to this spring semester at SFU, I had only experienced the surface of online publishing. I’ve made posts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but I’ve never been so involved and dedicated into creating my own personal cyberinfrastructure. Throughout these weeks of taking PUB 101, I’ve gained valuable experience in developing my online self, curating content for my imagined audience, and cultivating my creative side. In addition, I have acquired some useful technical skills by working on my blog.
I didn’t have to think too long about what type of blog I wanted to develop. I’ve always had an interest in reading lifestyle magazines, watching lifestyle vloggers, and following lifestyle influencers on Instagram. Thus, I created a lifestyle blog, but I wanted it to cater to my lifestyle and my online self. So I decided that I wanted my blog style to be very simple. My blog contains content surrounding fashion, beauty, fitness, and everything lifestyle. I thought that it would be perfect for general women in their 20s or 30s who live a normal, simple and modern life. This was the audience I imagined, and I felt that my style of blog can be relatable to my targeted demographic.
Keeping my imagined audience in mind, it has influenced many decisions I’ve made for my blog. For example, I put in a lot of effort into making my blog look pretty, simple and clean. This is because my targeted demographic is mainly females, thus much of the aspects of my blog is feminine. I think “about how [I] should treat each piece of content, designing to reflect its subtle personality. The content should speak to the few people who can identify with this personality because this is the only audience that matters.” (Gertz, 2015) I’ve maintained a simple and feminine theme throughout my blog by making my colour scheme white and coral. Also, my font is either cursive or light and simple. I target my content to audiences who appreciate aesthetics and are looking for content that lightens up their lifestyle. I cater to this by posting about fashion and makeup tips for example. Furthermore, I include a lot of relevant and quality images in my posts to capture my viewers attention.
Google Analytics has been a helpful tool in my journey as an online publisher. It really helped to see if my content is appealing to my targeted group of people. I discovered through looking at the statistics provided by Google Analytics that a majority of my audience were females. From seeing this statistic, I believed that I was successful in creating content that appealed to my imagined audience. Also, I saw through Google Analytics that many of my viewers visited my blog through Instagram. Therefore, I have been continuing to work on and integrate Instagram more into my blog. I have also been working on writing better keywords for my blog in order to attract more users through organic searches. By gathering and analyzing this information, I was able to better cater my content to my intended audience which helped me market my blog.
Thus far, I have only gather a few comments from my fellow classmates which I am grateful for. I found it challenging to successfully engage my audience and I hope that my content will attract more comments in the future. I believe engagement with my audience can inspire and encourage me to continue creating and improving my online content. Audience engagement is one of the areas I wish to improve on for my blog in the future. “It allows you to use online marketing to its full potential and purpose in order to build stronger relationships with your audience as well as grow your brand loyalty and presence online.” (Henwood, n.d.)
At the beginning of the course, I though publication was simply the act of putting content out for the public to see. I soon learned that it was a lot more intricate than that. I’ve never though about my online self, my online presence, or my online audience until this course. Publication involves “how we carefully craft the way we appear, the way we behave, and, as a result, the way we are perceived by others.” (J Max, 2015) I’ve learned to develop my online self and create quality content to effectively attract an imagined audience. After gaining experience as an online publisher, I’ve gained respect for other online publishers. I discovered that developing a cyber infrastructure demanded a lot of time and effort. On the other hand, it is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. I learned a lot of technical skills during this journey. For example, I improved my Photoshop skills and learned more about Google Analytics. At first, it was daunting to have so much freedom and lack of structure to the instructions for this course. In the end, I was grateful for having a creative outlet where my innovation wasn’t stifled. |Fascinating and important innovations would emerge as students are able to shape their own cognition, learning, expression, and reflection in a digital age, in a digital medium.” (Watters, 2015) I’ve really enjoyed developing my blog this semester and I plan on continuing to blog past the end of this course.
Gertz, Travis (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.”
Henwood, Annaliese (n.d.). “Audience Engagement: The Why, When, Where and How.”
J Max (2015). “The Publication of Self.”
Watters, Audrey. (2015). “The Web We Need to Give to Students.”