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  • Annette Dawm

The Top Ten Blogs of 2018

That was a nice little intro, wasn't it? That took me HOURS to make. Anyway, here we are for The Top Ten Blogs of 2018! I love seeing this list change throughout the year. In case you didn't know, when I started this blog in 2017, I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my views and likes on the following social media platforms and websites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bitly and Wix.

I found that just because something has 100 views on Facebook doesn't mean it will have 100 views on Twitter and Instagram shows likes, not views (unless it's a video). So for each story/post I add together all of the views/likes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bitly and Wix to get a total number of views. Facebook and Twitter always show much higher numbers than Bitly and Wix because they will let me know how many people saw that I posted something, but that doesn't mean they read my post. Bitly will tell me how many people actually clicked on my link and Wix will tell me how many people came to my blog and looked at a post, so usually those two numbers were the same.

This year, Twitter was usually the hot spot for views. I tagged as many artists or local places as possible in each tweet and usually I would get a few retweets (shares). If I used #LdnOnt there is a Twitter account that would usually re-post my work, or if I went to a country concert or event at the market, BX93 and their staff would almost always retweet my stuff. This has always been super helpful since they have so many followers. Then there are the artists/entertainers. Whether I photographed or interviewed them, many were kind enough to share my work, or even leave feedback!

Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, let's do a little comparison between 2017 and 2018. Last year, "The Top Ten Blogs of 2017" became my number one blog, beating out the original number one, which was my interview with Chris Labelle. Just to put things in perspective, last year's top ten was an article put together like this one and it had 7844 views and Chris' interview had 6753 the last time I checked (it could be more now). You're going to see that this year's top ten blew them out of the water. I was really nervous that the blog would not do as well as the first year, but I exceeded my expectations. That being said, 2018 will be hard to beat. Not counting this post, I did 85 stories this year and reached 384296 views in total, since the beginning. (You can help me reach 400000 by sharing this.) By the end of 2017, I had completed 76 stories and had a total of 102133 views, so things have really grown! Okay, let's move on.

Honourable Mentions

It's always hard to see a story slip out of the top ten, but this one held on for a really long time. Chris Buck (seen here) and Jamie Warren came to The Covent Garden Market on the same day in March. I had met Jamie 10 years earlier in Hanover, ON when he opened for Emerson Drive. Jamie is from Hanover and I told him that I was from Chesley, which is 20 minutes away. He said, "I won't hold that against you." Chris Buck came afterwards and I had met him the year before when he came to the market with Kira Isabella and Old Dominion. He was quite surprised that I brought a picture of us to get signed. Both Chris Buck and BX93 retweeted this and it ended up with over 2800 views! (P.S. I'm not that pale in real life.)

Johnny Reid came to London in April and I saw that Budweiser Gardens (BG) was looking for someone to write a review for the show. It was a contest on Twitter, so I replied and said something along the lines of how I have been going to see Johnny for almost ten years and that I had been posting pictures from BG on my blog. Another photographer/writer recommended me and I won! I didn't think they would pick me because obviously I would write a biased review of the show, but they didn't seem to mind that I love Johnny Reid. (Part of the prize included extra tickets, which were hard to sell on short notice. When someone came to pick them up outside the venue, I had to text them and say, "I'm beside the plant.") BG had already posted my review before I could share it, so I don't know how many views it got on their end, but they re-posted my link to it and it got over 3300 views! It was pretty cool to be recognized as a writer.

The Country Music Association of Ontario Awards came to London in the first weekend of June and I was granted a media pass! On June 1, they had a Songs and Stories event which featured Wendell Ferguson, Jason Blaine, Dan Davidson, Ryan Langdon and Leah Daniels! This day was actually kind of a nightmare. I was supposed to be volunteering at my art show, but I also had to pick up my media pass down the street at The Delta. I went back and forth a few times but eventually they said to come back and get the pass the next day. (On the bright side, I saw Aaron Pritchett there.) Then came time for the concert, but we had to wait outside for hours because an air conditioner was broken at The London Music Hall. Eventually we got moved next door to The Jack Richardson London Music Hall of Fame, but it was already so late that I didn't stay for the whole show. Luckily, I still got some great photos, which Leah Daniels and BX93 retweeted. This post had over 3400 views!

This was a sad one. Jodi "Taylor" Orr was an announcer at BX93 and various other stations throughout the years. She passed away suddenly and I still have a hard time believing it. Sometimes I think I will turn on my radio and hear her voice. She often did the afternoon show and would text back and forth with me if someone was coming to the market. Even though she was a part of the radio industry for a long time, I watched her do her first ever interview in 2017 with Eric Ethridge. The last time I saw her, she did an interview with Wes Mack. Afterwards, I interviewed Wes, and I felt like it was a tough act to follow. Several staff members from BX93 reached out and thanked me for posting my memories of Jodi. It meant a lot since I felt like I had no other way to help them with their loss. This post reached over 3500 views.

On December 5, before I started writing this, I spent about three hours updating my spreadsheet to get a final number of views for everything. This post was originally nowhere close to the top ten, but I guess over time, more people saw my video about the last ten years I've spent going to shows. Think of the money I have spent! Actually, don't do that, it's too scary. Speaking of scary, the first concert I went to in 2008 featured what has now become a less-than-wholesome band. I didn't want to offend anybody, so I used this photo of Brad Paisley and Schwartz Abdul to represent the past decade because this was the happiest day of my life (so far). I sent this video to as many people as possible and had a great response. You can see feedback from Canadian Idol, Brian Melo and country star/children's entertainer, Jessie Farrell here.

River Town Saints posted this on their Twitter account and said, "Check out this awesome post by our friend Annette. She’s pursuing her dream and things are happening for her! Very proud of you!" Altogether, this blog post had over 3500 views as well, but was not tied with the previous post.

The Top Ten Blogs of 2018

Wait for it... just kidding! If you watched the video at the top of the page, then you already have an idea where this is going.

Daniel Di Giacomo and Chris Labelle.

As mentioned before I had a media pass for this awards weekend, which was a super-cool experience for me. I was able to take photographs at the red carpet (it was a four foot long carpet, but still). I felt like this was something I was meant to be doing. I had already met most of the artists there and the ones who knew me said hi Annette! Even to get the media pass was a big validation for me because when I applied for media accreditation, it said that only larger media outlets such as TV and radio stations would be considered. They had a certain date people would be notified by if they got the pass, and that day came and went, so when I was notified a few days later I was definitely in shock! After taking photos at the red carpet, there was an option to go into "the media room", where all of the performers would be. It was also a snack and drink room so it was pretty crowded. One of the organizers there told me I didn't have to go in there if I didn't want to and she said to live my best life. I was like, "Um, I'm pretty sure I will be living my best life if I go in that room." I took almost 200 photos that day and had feedback from some of the newer artists like Anthony Tullo and Buck Twenty. Looking back now, it's kind of sad because this is the last time I got to see River Town Saints perform with Chris Labelle. This post also had over 3500 views!

This was originally going to be called "Wes Mack of All Trades". Wes is a year older than I am, but I have always looked up to his ability to be able to pursue as many things as possible. He's an actor, director a singer-songwriter and he probably has many other hidden talents. This was my first in-person interview for 2018 and it ended up happening in a board room at The Western Fair during The Wine and Food Show. I don't drink so I didn't have any plans to be there, but when it was announced that Wes was coming, I was like "I NEED A TICKET RIGHT NOW". I really enjoy Wes. We're both a little quiet and awkward at times and we're both super creative, so we had a lot of fun. I don't get to do a lot of in-person things, but when I do, I try my best to make the other person laugh or think hard about their answers. I felt like I achieved this with Wes, I asked him "What comes to mind when you hear 'Go Go Power Rangers'?" and he laughed but he also said that some of the other questions were things that he'd never been asked before. Wes' interview reached over 4400 views!

I met Abby Stewart during her radio tour last year as part of the duo, Abby and Beamer. That photo blog was actually an "Honourable Mention" last year. I asked Abby if I could interview her and we joked that it would make it into the top ten next time, and here we are! This article gained a lot of attention from Abby's followers, including Dan + Shay! I'm Speechless! (See what I did there?) Abby's interview went onto reach over 4600 views, making it one of my most popular interviews I've done so far.

I spent a lot of money on this meet and greet with Kip Moore, but it paid off! As part of the meet and greet package, fans were allowed to submit a question and there was a chance he would answer it. Before the show, Kip played an acoustic set and he would pull slips of paper out of a container that were supposed to have questions on them. I recorded the whole session on my phone, just in case he picked mine. Most people wrote, "Play Beer Money!" So when he looked at one piece of paper and said, "Wow! That's a good question!" I knew it was the one I asked. (You'll have to read the article to see what it was.) This year, I had a lot of suggestions from people to make videos of the interviews on my blog, but since I am almost always by myself and the interviews usually happen by chance, I find it difficult to film things. However, I still had all of the audio recordings of the interviews so I tried to find a way to work with that. I purchased a program called "Doodly" which helps me make animations to go along with the responses. So Kip Moore inspired a video series called "One Question With..." You can see the first video here. I look forward to more of these videos next year, but they take a really long time for me to make. The original article for One Question with Kip Moore reached over 4700 views!

One of my goals for 2018 was to interview more women than I did last year, which I was able to do. So I am really happy to see Abby and Leah in the top ten! I have known Leah for a few years now, so I tried to set up an interview when she came to the market. We ran out of time that day, but she was kind enough to answer my questions via email. Leah was the first artist to share my photos on Instagram! (The second and only other artist to do that was Brandi Sidoryk of Nice Horse.) Altogether this article had over 5400 views! It was shared/retweeted by Leah, Eric Ethridge, BX93 and one of her fans.

I saw Brett Kissel and Dan Davidson 3x on the We Were That Song Tour (I actually saw Dan 5x this year). Brett was one of the first people to let me interview them in 2017 and it became my mission to say thank you in person. I spent months casually emailing Brett's media contact person until he finally gave in and let me have a meet and greet at The London Music Hall. I almost missed it due to being stuck in the snow, but I arrived at 6:27PM -- three minutes before I was supposed to. The first London show sold out right away so they added another show a week later. That day was much nicer, but cold so they let me in early. A staff member from Warner Music Canada asked me if I was there for another meet and greet. I didn't know if that was allowed since I had one the week before, but he said as long as I was with him I was allowed. Brett didn't seem to mind. I posted this picture right away on Instagram with the caption, "We kinda like each other," and he "liked" it right away. Several months later, Brett was up for the Fans' Choice Award at The CCMAs. There were 10 people in the category and I had seen them all and met most of them. It was a tough choice, but Brett has been kind to me since day one. I met him in Lucknow, ON and he was so new at the time, I hadn't bought his CD yet. I had nothing to get signed but he wouldn't let me go home empty handed. He got a guitar pick from a random apple festival and signed that. I voted for Brett using #FansChoiceBrett on Twitter and included the link to these pictures. He retweeted them and said "This is so special!" Eventually. this post went on to reach over 6700 views!

I did a lot of stuff in January and February 2018, despite never wanting to go outside in the winter, so it was worth making a highlight video. I actually just re-watched it for the purpose of this list and I almost teared up a bit. It's crazy to think all of the stuff in the video is nearly a year old. Dan Davidson was the first person I interviewed for this year and I was scared that nobody else would want to do an interview with me since I had sent out a lot of requests but didn't receive a lot of yesses. I'm in that same boat now, thinking, "What if Logan Staats is my only interview for 2019?" Which is funny because I only would have learned about Logan in January of this year thanks to The Launch. During January and February, I saw Brett Kissel and The James Barker Band twice. They had special guests, JoJo Mason and Andrew Hyatt. Those blogs did very well and almost made it into the Honourable Mentions. I also saw the Prime Minister, among other people, and completed many of the interviews on this list. This video/post had a lot of attention on social media from various artists and it reached over 7300 views!

I had never done Inktober before and wanted to give it a try. I wasn't expecting much out of it, but I had a lot of markers lying around and other materials that I thought I should be using. Initially, I wasn't going to do this as part of my blog, but people really seemed to like my work, so why not? I mainly posted my pictures on Facebook and Instagram, but then I did a picture of Brett Kissel so I put that one on Twitter since I know he uses it often. Well, Brett saw my picture and so did about 5000 other people once he retweeted it! OMG. Then I knew this had to be incorporated into my blog somehow. Oh, and did I mention that Melissa Joan Hart liked the above picture on Instagram? My heart. I immediately wanted to watch the entire Sabrina the Teenage Witch series. (The new one looks too scary for me.) I also did a picture of Bob Ross that had a lot of likes, which I thought was hilarious. I noticed that most posts had 100 views or more on Facebook and I had more likes on Instagram than usual, so I added everything up along with Brett's 5000+ views and re-posted everything on one blog once the challenge was finished. After everything was said and done, my work for Inktober gained over 10100 views, so I will definitely do this again next year! (Even without Brett's help I still would have over 5000 views on my own, which I never would have imagined! That's the power of hashtags.)

Carl Bradbury is known for finding people on Facebook with names that sound similar to song lyrics. Then he pranks them by sending the lyrics in a Facebook message and turns it into a video. Carl has over a million fans on Facebook that like his page, so when I emailed him for an interview request, I thought, "There's no way in hell he's going to write back!" It took a few weeks, but he did! It was on the same day that I interviewed Wes Mack and the day after I found out that I didn't have skin cancer, so it was a good week! Like I said, Carl has over a million Facebook fans, so when he posted the interview, things went crazy. It had over 7800 views... in an HOUR. People from all over the world were reading it. Carl asked me if I needed anything else and I told him that I was getting close to 200 000 views at the time, so he made a little video to celebrate! I am still so amazed that this article had over 56700 views altogether! That's insane!!! I thought nothing could beat it, but I was wrong.

The internet is a strange place. You never know what could go viral. I saw some of the biggest names in music this year, like Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Shania Twain and Rod Stewart. I figured these posts would be really popular and they weren't even close to the top ten. Or I would work really hard on an interview or an art piece and it seemed like no one would notice. One day, I posted a photo of a random person dressed as Deadpool and BAM. It is my highest viewed post of all time. How did this happen? I just looked back at the tweet as I was typing this and RYAN REYNOLDS LIKED IT! THAT'S HOW IT HAPPENED!!! It had over 90 likes so I must have missed the notification the first time around. HOLY SHIT. Thanks to Ryan Reynolds, this post had over 65500 views!!!! That is enough internet for today. I hope you enjoyed

The Top Ten Blogs of 2018! PS it is now my goal to interview Ryan Reynolds.

P. P. S. I couldn't believe that Ryan Reynolds actually liked this, so I spent over an hour creeping his Twitter for proof.

Then I gained confidence and started to harass Ryan Reynolds.

I will update you if he replies!

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