Last year’s April Fools article about Shrewsbury getting an Airport was the sites most popular day to date, I thought it was a great opportunity to do better.
I’ve been exploring ideas all year however with a tendency to over think them to the point where they no longer seem funny it was difficult to formulate the best way to proceed.
The Charles Darwin film idea originally came to me in January, I thought it was clever at the time but I never really had a chance to develop it further. I toyed with several celebrities before settling on Brad Pitt, he seemed like the type of actor that would be good in the part.
I try not to leave these things to the night before but with a heavy work load and my trip to Brussels I was left with writers block. When I could finally get my head in gear I ended up redrafting the post several times and even then I wasn’t sure whether to publish it or not. Given we didn’t have anything else for the day there didn’t seem any harm in scheduling it for 8am on April 1st.
The morning of the 1st started slowly, the article got a few retweets and a couple of shares on Facebook but nothing more than average. At around 11am this started to change, our traffic started to increase rapidly to around 500 hits per hour.
This continued for most of the day and evening with the article receiving over 6000 unique views for the day. That’s six times the traffic of last years April Fools article on a post I wasn’t even sure about setting live.
So why the big increase and what was it about the post that chimed with people over last years airport joke? I guess it comes down to believability, from reading the headline alone it sounds a lot more plausible and as soon as you realise its a joke you’re more likely to share it with your friends. This is what happened on Facebook, almost all of the 6000 visits to the post were from Facebook.
It still came as quite a surprise and has certainly got me thinking about next year.