I’ve had a great time introducing our readers to some of my coworkers (Guest Book screeners, Customer and Client Service specialists, and an Account Manager) via @Legacy interviews. Katie and I are the primary bloggers around here – and we’ve decided to introduce each other to all of you. Thanks to our closely-connected work, we email each other a lot (A LOT), so what better way to conduct our interview of each other than via email? I got the ball rolling…
Linnea: Hi, Katie! Welcome to the interview. I’m trying to remember if @Legacy was your idea, or if you grabbed it from someone else and ran with it. Can you jog my memory?
Katie: @Legacy came out of a conversation a few of us were having about the fact that most of the millions of people who visit our site each month don’t really “know” Legacy.com. We wanted a forum through which we could share more about who we are and what we do, and where we could give people a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes in to making and maintaining a website that is among the 50 most-visited on the Internet. A blog seemed like the perfect place to do all of that.
And because you’ve been with the company for nearly 12 years and you enjoy writing, you seemed like the perfect team member to lead the effort. You and I exchanged a lot of emails and phone calls, and less than 6 weeks later our blog was up and running.
Linnea – do you remember those early conversations and what sorts of things we talked about featuring on the blog?
Linnea: I definitely remember feeling very excited and ambitious about the blog! We had lots of ideas for daily posts… until we realized that we do have other responsibilities at Legacy and can’t spend all our time blogging. So we scaled back to one or two posts a week.
We knew early on that we wanted to showcase more voices than just Katie’s and mine. We made that happen from the beginning – our first-ever post was written by Stopher, our CEO, and we’ve featured many other writers in the months since. The “5 Condolences” concept was a very early one, conceived as a way to share with our readers a small sample of the thousands of touching, funny and interesting Guest Book entries we receive every day.
Katie, you write many of the 5 Condolences posts. Is that your favorite kind of thing to write for @Legacy?
Katie: The 5 Condolences posts are indeed my favorite. I like reading stories about peoples’ lives, and stories abound in our Guest Book entries. I also love the fact that because we receive more than one million entries a month, I can quickly and easily find 5 Guest Book entries about just about any topic under the sun. That has allowed me to write about some of my favorite things – ice cream, dogs, babies, baking, Christmas, and more.
Linnea, you’ve written a series of posts with tips on writing condolence messages. Why do you think it’s important for Legacy.com to share that sort of information?
Linnea: I really like writing up those tips on signing a Guest Book and sharing condolences, because I know from experience how daunting it can be to say the right thing to someone who’s grieving, especially when you’re grieving yourself. Even after almost 12 years with Legacy.com – and even after reading more than a million Guest Book entries – I often still sit and stare at the monitor blankly when it’s time for me to offer comfort to a friend who’s lost a loved one. But I have learned some good strategies over the years, like including a favorite photo of the deceased to give your words a starting point. My goal is to help reduce some of the nervousness folks might feel when trying to craft a meaningful condolence.
Katie, how about we end with our favorite things about @Legacy? Mine is how we can reach people in a way we never could before the days of @Legacy. I love giving our readers insight into our company and our newspaper affiliates that they can’t get just from visiting our home page. How about you?
Katie: My favorites are the same as yours. But I’ve got one more – writing for @Legacy has helped me see and appreciate our content in a new way. I’ve always loved reading biographies and learning about history, and in the past year I’ve realized that obituaries are bursting with fascinating stories and historical tidbits. And I’m excited to know that because our site has 10+ million newspaper obituaries and nearly 60 million condolence messages, we’ve just started to scratch the surface in terms of sharing interesting stories with our readers.