Definitely a cart-before-the-horse post, but sometimes you just have write the post you have in your brain and not the one you want to write at the moment.
I’ve been writing a weekly newsletter internal to Axway for a full quarter now, and it’s working. But, that’s easy and well understood. I know my audience, and frankly, they’re captive.
I was thinking about the Parent Bar but I kept coming back to the question… but what do I write?
Launching a new site
First, I spent a few weeks grappling with answering “what’s the value I provide?” I know the audience and I know the pain. At least, enough to start. I can frame the solution — like the Genius Bar™ but for parents (which of course is incorrect, but works perfectly).
I wrote, then rewrote, and rewrote again what the Parent Bar is about. Why does it need to exist? What are the soundbites? What will it do? You can read some of that work on the main page and on the about page.
Finally it hit me… I’ll write what I think parents need to know (about technology that will help their kids education). It’s not break-fix, it’s about bridging the generation gap that’s unique to technology (at least at the grade school level) because it moves so quickly.
Building the new site
I’m using a new-ish tool… Ghost. I thought about this also for some number of weeks. (And, again, I hope to writeup my thought process.) Instead of being content-driven (like WordPress) it takes content to another level by being “member content driven” (that’s my explanation, not theirs). I spent a few weeks struggling with — is what I write a post or a newsletter? I felt like I “got it” and then as quickly “lost the idea”.
So, I posted the landing page to start to collect emails. Mostly I expected friends, but shockingly have quite a few strangers who have responded like “Yeah!”. It’s pretty motivating.
Then I wrote the about page, because I thought there’s no content there… I need people to know a little more even before they see something, so I can split my time between producing/building and marketing the ‘new way’.
Anyways, motivated by people trusting me with their email address… I started writing a post that I know will be helpful — how to create a use a shared calendar to manage all the juggling that’s happening as people try to work and parent simultaneously (people still don’t understand that I can’t accept a meeting even if my calendar is clear, until I check my wife’s calendar).
The final piece of the puzzle
Then, I was talking to a parent, and it I got a picture in my head. There are longer newsletter‑y posts, like the scheduling post, AND shorter posts with “here’s something useful if you’re like X”. Then, I can intertwine those, with the shorter posts being more blog-like, and the longer ones also linking back to the collection of short posts for people who prefer email.
I said something to my wife the other day… “I have a sentence in my head, that I know what it says, but I haven’t yet figured out what words are in the sentence.” You see, I think in pictures.
Well, I think I have a complete (for now) picture of what the Parent Bar starts as. A combination of short tips along with longer considerations. I’ve already put up an “ask me a question” bubble (lower right corner, and yes, how to do that is another great post I’d like to write). I’m exploring a companion podcast with other parents in tech to get other points of view. I’m already having conversations and holy cow… the stories these parents tell!
On top of that, hopefully I’ll write some meta-posts here about the tools and methods… and maybe even get involved in the Ghost community in a way that I missed with WordPress because I never realized how early I was to WordPress. I even found and have documented my first Ghost bug!
Anyways, like I said, this isn’t the post I wanted to write, it’s the one I had to write.
If you’re a parent, and haven’t yet, please have a look and subscribe. Also, please (pretty please?) share if you think there’s value:My friend @djbressler is taking his parenting to another level, and sharing what he knows about technology with other parents of grade school kids. Check out https://parent.bar — it’s like the Genius Bar, but for parents. Click To Tweet