'You Love Us! You Really Love Us!': The Top Ten Most Popular 'Beyond the Balcony' Pieces of the Past 12 Months

One of the challenges of running a site that we hope will grow an audience and eventually become big enough to attract sponsors or be monetized, is solving what articles will attract new readers or sway over the occasional reader on a more frequent basis. There are days that I put hours of sweat, passion, and love into a piece that I am really proud about writing that then makes like a ghost because no one sees it. Other time I just throw something together and it suddenly takes off to crazy numbers (for my humble site).

I'll occasionally look at my stats packages to see what type of pieces connect and attract a large audience. It mostly is unpredictable. This is why I try to write things I am passionate about with the highest of quality, and hope that it translates into eventually finding an audience. But I do look at stats and try to come up with ideas that appear to connect with my audience.

I am sure there are a few readers out there that are stat geeks or like to discover what type of writing is popular on this site. I decided to reveal the top ten most viewed pieces of the past 12 months along with my best guesses of why these were the hits.

1, The Breakdown of the Best Movies of 2021: This is a easy one to figure out why it was the most popular piece of the past 12 months. The Best of episodes are usually the most popular of the year. But this year, I also had an ad campaign with this episode being the one that was the centrepiece of the promotion, so that also means I got way more casual or new readers/listeners for this post. The hope was we'd get some to stick around or land some new subscribers, and while we did get some, I wouldn't declare that the ad campaign created as many new frequent readers or listeners as hoped.

2. Time to Admit That I May Have Been Wrong About 'Malignant': The Joy of Changing Opinions on Movies: This was another article that was part of an ad campaign for the site. It did really well, and actually stimulated quite a bit of conversation on various social media outlets. I did get one reader who decided to critique the article and let me know it wasn't very engaging, but after I thanked him and asked for any other constructive feedback, he fell into the abyss. That must say something about what happens when one is critical about my work. . . ahem. I admit this wasn't one of the best things that I ever wrote, but I liked sharing how a movie critic can have their opinion evolve over time and a relationship with a movie is dynamic and changing.

3. I Almost Lost My Son, but Those Few Seconds Taught Me Many Things: My personal and honest pieces tend to do really well. I was really touched and moved by how many people reached out to me and shared their love after this traumatic incident. It isn't something I ever wanted to happen, but I'm happy that it moved me to write a piece that resonated with so many people. This is one of those cases where I just wrote something to work through my own frayed emotions, and I was floored how quickly it grabbed a large audience. Thank you again for all those that reached out and showed such compassion and support.

4. The Breakdown Ranks Time Loop Movies: I have no idea why this episode attracted more people to the site than other bigger episodes. I have no idea why this episode attracted more people to the site than other bigger episodes. I have no idea why this episode attracted more people to the site than other bigger episodes, I have no. . . okay. I'm done. People just love repetitive movies, I guess.

5. Grateful for 44 Years: Personal pieces do well on here, but usually it is back to school or wedding anniversary or my kid's birthdays that draw the readers. Usually, my declaration of my birthday barely rates a blip, but for some reason 44 is a magic number. The piece focused on a few things I am really grateful for having in my life, and considering what the past two years have been like in the world and social media, maybe some readers just needed to read something positive.

6. The Suicide Squad Review: A Violent Love Letter to the Outsider and Hope: Further proof, I should write way more movie reviews rather than keeping them all on the podcast. Not sure why this particular review rocked it harder than the few others that I wrote over the past 12 months, but my guess is this one benefited from Google searches and fans of the movie who may have shared, since it was a glowing review. My Underwater review soared a few years ago, because Kristen Stewart fans kept sharing my positive review of the movie and her performance.

7. The Annual 'Hey, Look! It Is Time to Rush off to School Again' Post: An annual tradition of me going down nostalgia lane and not believing my kids keep growing up on me. This also reminds me that I did not write my usual end of the school year post. But this year at least was a little less dramatic than the previous two, and I am very proud of both my kids who had a great year. It is kind of interesting that for a supposed movie site, there is a lot of non-movie stuff that attracts the biggest audience.

8. Happy Birthday to the Love of My Life and One Incredible Mom: People like when I go mushy.

9. The Great Movie Review Black Widow, Free Guy, Raya the Last Dragon, Jungle Cruise and So Much More: More evidence that I need to write more movie reviews. This was also supposed to be my 'fresh start' where I returned to weekly written reviews. This was posted in August for the record.

10. The Breakdown of The Terminator vs. The Thing: Everyone loves a big heavyweight match-up. This was a different style of podcast episode we had never done before, so it is cool to see that it found an audience. We may need to do a new 'vs.' episode some day.

Any surprises on what articles were popular over the past 12 months? What was your favourites?