A slightly infuriating first day back to work, one way or another, though it didn’t involve much work in the end. It was just one of those days – I felt harassed and there were people from all quarters on our backs about something or other. For example, we were hounded by a pushy search marketing company trying to get us to pay them to do our Air Experiences AdWords campaign (which isn’t even live anymore anyway). Lee answered the phone and explained that I have the Search Advertising Google Qualification and therefore we don’t need someone else to do it, to which the guy responded that “we have Google experts, not just Google qualified!” Would you believe it! It’s a good job it was Lee who answered it, as he was a lot more polite than I would have been.
We had a lazy start, with Pandoro and coffee for breakfast over The Times iPad Edition and then a short flight to see if we could get some more flood pics after further rain overnight. In the end, we took off and immediately saw a big black cloud looming that you couldn’t see on the ground, so we landed straight away and never left the circuit. I did get one of Charlecote on base leg though. The river had dramatically widened overnight.
We had several more requests to use our photos – the Stratford Herald, JackFM and the Oxford Mail all used them and linked to our site, and ITV Meridian used them and paid us for them. I was wondering why we were getting loads of traffic from Facebook, so I investigated a bit and found that JackFM had also shared our photo on Facebook with a link to our site! This is all great publicity and will help build our brand awareness at this crucial early stage in the business.
I spent much of the afternoon catching up on important admin tasks like recording/organising/filing my receipts and expenses, and sending invoices – a tedious but necessary task. By the end of the day I’d got virtually no actual work done – just one page of web copy – but I wasn’t concentrating well so it’s probably just as well. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Awoke to yet another storm howling round the house, but by the time we eventually got up, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was still really windy though. The local newspaper – Stratford’s Midweek Herald – was pushed through the door, and to our delight it featured one of our photographs of Stratford racecourse flooded:
I’m amazed at how many press mentions and links we’ve earned over the last couple of weeks – not to mention the number of press contacts we now have if we ever photograph something newsworthy in the future.
I spent the morning working on web copy for the crime author’s website I’m working on at the moment, and also had a request come in for two articles a week for one of the clients I wrote loads for last year, which was great news as I love writing for them.
We stopped work at 3.30pm and went to the gym. It was my first workout since the end of November – Christmas sort of got in the way – and it was very tough! We treated ourselves to lounging by the pool afterwards, and I finished reading the new Bridget Jones book, which I wasn’t very impressed with. I reviewed it here: http://rachelswritings.com/2014/01/07/book-review-bridget-jones-mad-about-the-boy/.
Wednesday morning felt like a morning off, but really it was devoted to Air Experiences marketing. We flew over to Oxford, with a brief stop at another airfield we fly from for soup and a chat with my other flying instructor Ray, and took some photos of the city inundated with floodwater. You can see a selection of the best photos we took here: http://www.airexperiences.co.uk/aerial-photography/uk-floods-oxford-water/. Here’s one of them:
After that, Lee had to ferry an aircraft so I went home and immediately got to work on sorting through the photos and uploading the best ones to our blog. I tweeted the link from the Air Experiences Twitter account and from my own, and, perhaps because I have so many Oxford followers because I used to live there, the link went viral! Things got so busy that I didn’t even have time for lunch, with the phone ringing with journalists asking to use the photos and a radio station asking us if we could arrange to do an interview with them. Farmers Weekly are using a couple of them in their print magazine, which they’re sending us a free copy of for our cuttings book. So many people were viewing our site that it nearly ran out of bandwidth, so I had to upgrade our hosting package to deal with the extra traffic from all over the world. People were contacting me saying they’d seen the post shared by random people! It was an unexpectedly resounding success, and by midnight we had had around 6,000 visitors. That compares with an average of about 50 a day…!
Interest in the flood photos remains incredibly high. By the time we woke up at 7.30 we’d had 3,500 visitors already, and the bandwidth was about to be exceeded again. BBC Radio Oxford shared the link, and a search for our URL on Twitter revealed that people were sharing the post left, right and centre. We had loads of email and phone requests about using/selling the photos, as well as requests to take photographers up and enquiries about buying vouchers, and even the University of Oxford got in touch asking if we minded if they share it with their 1.3 million Facebook fans.
We ended up having to increase the bandwidth to unlimited to prevent the site from crashing! Each time I looked at Analytics (I was checking obsessively every five minutes or so), the number of visitors had leapt up by several more hundred. By the end of the day, we’d received a staggering 30,000 visitors. The majority came via Facebook, but there were thousands of direct and referral visitors as well as hundreds from organic search. Incredible!
Somehow amongst all this mayhem I also found time to write three pages of web copy for two different clients, and finish an article, as well as going shopping, taking Lee his lunch at the airfield, and starting to read a book just published by a friend of mine, Martin Hardbottle’s Appreciation of Time.
I started the day by writing most of a blog post, this time one of my own (not for this blog though). I checked on our stats and the visitors were still pouring in to our blog – 5,000 by 10am.
Late morning I went to Nanny and Grandad’s house in Worcester and had a good long natter with them and a fabulous lunch cooked by my very talented Grandad. This was the hors d’oeuvres, a delicious, warming carrot and parsnip soup that was perfect for a winter’s day.
When I got home I managed to get two more pages of web copy before Lee got home, and did some more later on in the evening while he went to the pub. I love being able to work when I like, and it didn’t feel like a Friday anyway as we’re both working tomorrow, so it didn’t matter that I was working while most people were having fun. Especially as I’d had most of the day off. Oh, and a friend sent me this:
A pleasingly productive day, writing several pages of web copy and product descriptions, as well as doing household chores and cooking a delicious casserole in my nice new Hairy Bikers casserole dish. Here’s how it looked before it went in the oven – unfortunately it didn’t last long enough for me to get a shot of it once it was out the oven!