50,000 milestone



1910 Pacific – the 50,000th locomotive built by Alco

(Photo from Growing With Schenectady – American Locomotive Company. Click to link to website.)

Around 16:35 GMT today, BTWT received its 50,000th hit. Since we started publication we have also received 241 comments. Our readers include people who work for Transport for London, Network Rail and a committee member of the European Heritage Railways umbrella body, Fedcrail. These are important milestones for BTWT, but there is also no reason for us to be complacent. In our first 5 months, our readership grew rapidly. In March we started with 912 hits and by July we had reached 7,628 hits. Over the next four months, our readership growth has levelled off, though we did have a ‘best ever’ month in October with 7,812 hits. This month we are averaging 238 daily hits.

So we still have some way to go to reach our target of 1,000 daily views! Why 1,000? Because we believe that with such a readership we will have recruited core of 50 committed supporters who we can count on to ‘make a difference’ by helping with our letter writing campaigns, particularly those aimed at decision makers in Poland. So how do we grow the next 760 readers?

The first step will be to improve the regularity and quality of our posts. Sometimes there is not enough time to prepare material to the standard that our readers have the right to expect. We need to recruit two sub editors who can feed in a couple of articles a week to give us more time to research and write up the remaining five.

The next task is to fine tune our focus. BTWT started because we wanted to publicise some of the problems faced by Poland’s surviving narrow gauge and heritage railways. Since then we have mixed in articles about railway policy and politics in the UK and Poland as well as a few items about railway heritage in Britain and further afield. The results of our readership survey tell us that we have got the ingredients right, but we need to adjust their proportions.

  • Polish railway news – 62% daily; 27% half the time
  • Polish heritage rail – 54% daily; 15% half the time (69%)

Much to our surprise, mainstream Polish railway news is by far the most popular subject with 89% of our readers wanting a daily, or every other day report. Polish heritage rail comes a close second with 69% of our readers wanting to read an article daily, or every other day.

  • British heritage rail – 23% every day; 62% once a week
  • British railway news – 19% every day; 69% once a week

British news clearly has a place, but with so many sites covering the topic, it is clear that the majority of BTWT readers would like to read a quality piece once a week rather than a ‘me too’ article daily.

  • World heritage rail – 23% half the time 65% once a week
  • World railway news – 17% half the time 67% once a week

A similar preference was revealed with respect to World news. Finally with respect to topics that BTWT should visit occasionally readers expressed their preferences as follows

  • Good railway blogs – 48%
  • Transport policy – 30 %
  • The environment – 11%
  • Steam locomotives – 11%

So how about it BTWT supporters, is there a budding journalist out there who would like the job of BTWT World News Editor and also another who would like to prepare a weekly article about the British Railway scene? We can help set you up with news feeds to make the news gathering task as easy as possible. All you have to do is to write one article a week. We in turn would use the time gained to focus on writing quality articles on the Polish railway scene.

If our recruitment campaign is a success and we complete our editorial team then we can renew our marketing efforts. So come on in and join us. Don’t be shy. Let’s reach 1,000 hits a day before the end of 2009 and make Beyond The Water Tower a power to be reckoned with.

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