Edmonton Stories – The First Month

Back on May 14th the City of Edmonton launched its Edmonton Stories website which aims to gather real stories from real Edmontonians for use in marketing. The City did a good job of getting the site started with around 60 pre-sourced stories, giving it some momentum out of the gate. I wrote at the time that while I thought the idea was good, it wasn’t without challenges. I mentioned three: quantity of content, regularity of content, and quality of content.

Were they able to feed off that momentum to overcome those challenges throughout the first month? Let’s find out.

It took about a week after launch for the first story to appear – Sheila Edmonds’ story about adventures in Edmonton was posted on May 22nd. Stories have appeared somewhat regularly since then.

Here are the stats for the period May 14th through June 14th (word counts use the Microsoft Word algorithm):

Total # of stories posted: 42 (6 by staff)
Total # of words: 16328
Average # of words per story:  389
Total # of stories with video: 4
Total # of stories with photos: 12

The longest story was Marie Drake’s My First Time on the Mindbender at 1034 words, while the shortest was Lucien Levesque’s Festival for Kids in St. Albert at 59 words (plus a video).

Here a couple Twitter-related stats, since I have them:

# of tweets mentioning #yegstories: 106
# of tweets mentioning edmontonstories: 163

Here’s a Wordle of the first month’s stories:

As expected, words like “city” and “people” are quite common. After all, it’s the people that make Edmonton great, right? I’m happy to see “bus” is larger than “car” 🙂

Edmonton Stories has been quite active online in the first month or so. They’ve amassed 247 followers on Twitter (posting more than 200 tweets), and 72 fans on Facebook. More interesting than that, at least in my opinion, is that they’ve been commenting on blogs. Here’s one example on Sharon’s blog. I think that’s smart, as long as they are making comments that add value (otherwise the strategy could backfire).

So, the verdict:

  • Quantity: I think 42 stories posted in the first month is fantastic!
  • Regularity: Not bad, but there’s definitely room for improvement here. At least one story per day would be ideal.
  • Quality: This is subjective, but I’d say the quality is pretty good. The average length of stories is about right. Most user submitted stories have been in the Living category however, which means the Working category seems a little less genuine. I’d also prefer that each story had a one or two line bio about the author.

Overall I’d say Edmonton Stories had a good first month – kudos! I hope they can keep it up in the months ahead.

I’ll (finally) be submitting my story this week!

5 thoughts on “Edmonton Stories – The First Month

  1. Thanks for writing this update. The Edmonton chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) had a session on storytelling a few days after the Edmonton stories launch event. While I don’t plan on submitting my story, the initiative inspired me to interview a mentor of mine who has amazing stories to tell. He was a founding member of CPRS Edmonton 50 years ago. I hope others consider sharing similar types of stories.

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