When you complete day 30 of your challenge, the most important thing to do is to celebrate. Congratulations! What you have accomplished is no small thing — and you know it best because you lived it.

“By experiencing pleasure, one does not necessarily savor. Attentive and appreciative awareness of the pleasure must also occur or we would not consider the experience to involve savoring.”

When you have properly savored your achievement, the time comes to draw solid, data-based conclusions from your challenge. Before you get to analyzing it, let the stats settle for at least a week. The point is for your last posts to go through the initial boost of traffic — so that you can compare all your articles in the same way.

  • Which posts I felt most proud of and enjoyed writing,
  • Where the readers’ and my own preferences intersected,
  • What my next steps as a writer should be.

Step 1: Create a table with all the data

First, I needed to put all the relevant data in one place. For that, I created a Google sheet, which you can access here. I recommend you keep it open in a separate tab for the rest of this article, so you can easily refer to it as you read.

Step 2: Mark top views and engagement

Drawing on the 20–80 rule, I first marked the six posts (20%) that received the most views. Then I noticed that there was one more that was very close to the mark of the top six. I decided to count it in as well.

Step 3: Mark curiosities and personal favorites

There were certain posts that got very few views, but they stood out in terms of the read or fan ratio. I decided to mark them in the column “curiosities,” to take note that there was probably something valuable about them, too.

Step 4: Find the intersection of readers’ and my own preferences

With this, I had identified the preferences of my readers — as well as my own. Now was the time to find the articles in which those preferences overlapped.

Step 5: Analyze the content of the top 20%

Now was the time for the truly pleasant part. I got to read my own best work and draw conclusions about why these particular pieces stood out.

  • The style I used in the top stories was largely conversational. These were not very researched posts — mostly, they were based on my own experiences. This was new to me, as for a long time I believed that I needed to heavily rely on scientific research in order to make any claims.
  • The headlines spoke directly to the reader and encouraged a sense of connection. Five out of six headlines contained some form of “you” or “me” words. Interestingly, two headlines contained the same word — “intimacy” — which I had already used successfully in headlines before.
  • Most of these stories were saturated with feeling. I found a lot of passages that I easily got emotional about, even as I re-read them many times. I also remember that writing those felt more liberating in comparison to other stories that didn’t make it to the top six.
  • Although it is not immediately apparent in all pieces, I started noticing an unconscious pattern in how I structured the default flow of my posts — especially the storytelling-based ones. Usually, I begin by briefly stating how things are. Then, I go back in time to share an experience from my own life to illustrate this. Towards the end, I tend to highlight a transformation or turning point that occurred. Then, I proceed to summarize.
  • Is there something that connects the style of these posts?
  • What do you notice about your favorite passages — or those most highlighted by the readers?
  • Can you say something about the structure? Your tone? Emotional content?

Step 6: Formulate recommendations for the future

It’s time to wrap it all up. You got lots of data and insights out of this experiment. They allowed you to understand your own and your audience’s preferences better — but hopefully, they have also shed some light on the things you want to improve.

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