WordPress Blogging 101: Day Four: Write to Your Dream Reader

Today’s Assignment, on the fourth day of WordPress’ Blogging 101 course, is to publish a post for our dream reader, to include a “new-to-me” element.

First, define my dream reader, or what I — coming from a background in marketing — would call my target reader.

The first would be someone who is interested in Italy, as a travel destination, both real and imaginary. I see my readers as both (potential) visitors and as armchair travelers. In either case, as I mentioned in an earlier post, they would be “return visitors”. Although I cover first-time travelers to Italy in the guide-books I edit from time to time (the latest: the fifth edition of the Time Out Guide to Milan), my own  interest — especially as I have lived here for over twenty years — is in the more out-of-the-way places. Not that I don’t adore the Uffizi in Florence, but I am equally enamoured of the Fondazione Salvatore Romano in Piazza Santo Spirito.

Just to be clear, I make no attempt to be comprehensive and cover all twenty regions of Italy, not least because I have not visited all of them. I have spent most of my time in Italy in Lombardy, first in Milan, and now between Milan and Lake Lugano (10km), Lake Como (30km), and lake Maggiore (20km). Apart from places to visit in Milan itself, the city is ideally placed for day-excursions. For a taste, see this piece I wrote for www.expatexchange some time ago. These days, there’s more than enough to explore in the province of Varese. While the city is less interesting than it should be, the surrounding area is wonderful, and I am pleased to share it with my readers.

I have ranged further afield, of course. For nearly ten years, I complemented my work as a translator, market researcher and journalist with being a peripatetic cat-sitter, in Florence. In the Oltrarno, to be precise. Armed with my computer and an internet connection, I was able to continue with whatever it was I was doing in another setting, with frequent excursions to other parts of Tuscany when the opportunity arose. Consequently, much of my knowledge of Italy as a tourist destination is based on these two regions. I am fortunate, however,  enough to be invited on press trips, a recent one of which was my first-ever visit to Sardinia, and which was fabulous and which I must write up soon. A couple of years ago, we visited the Basilicata, in southern Italy, which again was a first, and was great. However well-travelled I may appear, there’s always much more to see, and I look forward to plenty more adventures!

My readers are English-speaking, for the simple reason that I just do not have the time to write these pieces in Italian as well. Just as most my pieces in Italian on this site do not have an English-language version.

Apart from the native English-speakers, and those whose second language is English, I know that my readers also include Italians. And why would Italians be interested in my discoveries of where to go and what to do? You’d be surprised at the number of places in this country that are well-worth making a detour to, and yet do not have comprehensive coverage on the net. As far as guidebooks are concerned, while I would recommend the Touring Club’s Guida Rossa (Red Guide) for its thoroughness, it really is very dry. And incomplete. Opening hours? How to get there?  Pictures? You need to look elsewhere!

Since my site is not just about Italy, but “a lot more besides”, then it’s clear that I aspire to attracting wide array of other readers, too . How many these are, and who they are in keyed on our being able to establish “How much is  a lot?” Well, that depends on how much time I can find to add to this section of the site.

I see that I have several posts on the art shows that take place at Porto Ceresio on the Italian shores of Lake Lugano, some of them in Italian. That’s because we started off as visitors,  then got to know the organizer, Salvatore Ferrara, who has since become a friend, and of course Mike Snyder, my husband, has had several shows there. (I have since made Mike a site of his own, Mike Snyder illustrates – an American artist in Italy, but have not had the time to migrate these items.)

That’s part of the plan for the future, as is adding more of the “and a lot more besides” kind of stuff. For example, although I only have one item on cinema, this is one of my great passions, and I will surely add more.

I also have some material standing by on train travel, which is something I really enjoy — Milan to Brussels is such fun —  as well as several ideas for articles on disused railways and how they are being brought back to service. Or not, as the case might be.

The second part of today’s assignment is to experiment with a “new-to-me” feature. Here’s something that I have done before, I must admit, but not on this site, so it is new-to-me here. I will embed a .pdf document that comprises a list of events in Italy for 2015. This is fresh-off-the-press, as it were, since it arrived in an email from the Italian National Tourist Office in London this very afternoon. So, with thanks to Adriana Vacca, here it is.

But that’s really cheating as it was easy to do, and I had done it before. So, what else can I try? Let’s see. How about embedding a video clip? Never ever tried that before, and there is one I really love. It’s a short little thing, by the Lumière Brothers, and features the first swimming pool in Milan, the Bagni di Diana, and is dated 1896. The oldest item in the Italian National Cinemateque (Cineteca Italiana) in Milan, it can be seen here (by appointment), along with many other examples of Italian cinema. So here we go:

Well, that was easy enough. I’ll surely be doing a lot more of that.

For now, though, I will close, and look forward to the next assignment! Thanks, WordPress, this is fun.

By the way, if anyone is wondering why I skipped from Day Two to Day Four, it’s because yesterday’s task, “Say Hello to the Neighbors”, left me somewhat perplexed, and I need to do some more research. The deal there was to find five new topics and five new sites to follow, but I really could not work out how that was done. Not WordPress’ fault at all,  all down to RK’s not understanding what she was supposed to be doing.