I Want to Ride My Bicycle, I Want to Ride My Bike

Guest Post By Matt Purdue, Peppercom

As the first 10 years of the 21st century draw to a close, one of the most successful social media tales of the decade is still peaking. It offers great lessons for anyone involved in this emerging communications space.

December 21 Eldon Nelson, 43, started his blog in 2005 as a way to share his tongue-in-cheek experiences riding his bike in an effort to lose weight. The Fat Cyclist became popular thanks to Nelson’s everyman approach to a subject to which many of us can relate. But, ironically, Nelson’s blog really took off after his wife was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Mixing equal parts humor, pathos and unabashed honesty, Nelson recounted his family’s long struggle with the disease in graphic detail.

After Nelson’s wife died in August 2009, traffic to his blog tripled.

Nelson has used the increasingly popularity of his blog to accomplish incredible good works. He helped form virtual teams of cyclists who raised more than $600,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. More recently, he inspired some 3,700 readers of his blog to donate more than $135,000 to LAF and World Bicycle Relief. The efforts earned Nelson a ride with Lance Armstrong and his new team.

Nelson’s formula presents a fantastic lesson for social media planners:
– Be honest…always
– Address subjects that people are passionate about
– Write with the everyday reader in mind
– Get your readers involved
– There are ways to measure success other than widgets sold

Happy holidays to Fatty and everyone out there.

5 thoughts on “I Want to Ride My Bicycle, I Want to Ride My Bike

  1. too many people miss the “guest posts” and always think it’s Repman. Just another example of people who employ the “ready, fire, aim” approach. Come on, Art!!!
    It seems your boy Fatty, Matt, has done good by a lot of people, including his beloved wife. Nice story there and good intel offered about blogging.

  2. Great point. Obviously, passion is in the eye of the beholder–or, in this case, the fingers of the typer. At Peppercom, we spend a lot of time worrying about what keeps our clients’ customers up at night. But we can’t lose sight of also WHY they get up in the morning. What do they love to do?
    So passion is really a two-part equation. What do you love, and what does your audience love? Ideally, you can find a match. The point is: Don’t fake it.

  3. Love it, Steve. The hardest part of the equation–finding something that people are passionate about. May seem easy, but given the number of blogs I’ve personally tried, it’s not.