From one Columbo fan to another, you lot really are something special!
The response to my call out to fill in a reader survey in February made my heart sing. I was hoping for a few hundred submissions, but actually almost 1500 of you completed it. I’ve run client surveys for major corporate entities that don’t get nearly that level of response, so all I can bellow is ‘THANK YOU’ at the top of my tiny lungs.
In particular I’m grateful for the life-affirming comments many people passed on about their enjoyment of this site and the role I play in keeping the Columbo legacy alive. I’m humbled by the generosity of your words and I must admit that I had to pass off the tears in my eyes as hay fever symptoms to satisfy my curious children.
“I’m grateful for the life-affirming comments many people passed on about the role I play in keeping the Columbo legacy alive.”
Pleased as I am by this bumper level of support, this wasn’t a vanity project. I wanted – and received – honest feedback about what I already do, what I could do better and things you would be interested in seeing me kick off anew since I quit the day job in January.
Not all of the findings from survey are relevant to casual readers, but I believe it’s only fair and right to provide you with a high-level overview of opinion, as well as outlining recent updates and possible future projects. So here we go…
I’m ruddy thrilled to report that the vast majority of those who completed the survey really like what I’m doing, from the blog and Twitter to Instagram and Facebook. Most claimed to rate the content I create and share as ‘VERY GOOD‘ or ‘TOTALLY RAD‘, and reassuringly few (although some) rating it as ‘DIRE‘ or ‘TOSH‘ in different sections (I love you too, Gary). No one left any sweary comments, though, delighting Mrs Columbo who, lest we forget, cries easily…
The blog is my pride and joy, and a large chuck of the survey was given over to it. Again I was heartened by the positive feedback. You enjoy the episode reviews above all other content, although there’s nothing I write that any seem to actively dislike.
I know I’ve fallen behind on episode reviews since the end of 2018, but as I’m now settled in a new location and have access to my DVDs again, the reviews will increase in frequency and I’ll likely whip out two a month for the rest of the year. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time!
I sought opinion on areas I could be active in which I’m not at present so that I can look to prioritise my efforts and give even more lovely Columbo fans the type of content they actually want. So here’s what’s on the agenda…
YouTube channel: Two thirds of you would like me to be active on YouTube. This has also been an ambition of mine for many moons, so I’ll be gearing up to be creating my own YouTube video content in the second half of the year. A lot of the content on the blog offers itself to video format and it ought to represent a good way of helping more people find a forum for their own love of the good Lieutenant.
I am currently brushing up on my video editing skillz in preparation, but the Columbophile YouTube channel does now exist. At present it merely curates existing content in playlists (including 25+ full episodes), so may be worth a pre-emptive subscribe!
Podcast: Half of you would be interested in a Columbophile podcast and this is something I’d love to get off the ground in 2019. There are already a few Columbo-related podcasts out there, so I’d want to do something that’s not too derivative (plus also less sweary than some) and something that’s really well produced. I have some audio editing experience, but will need to improve. However, this is definitely on the radar. I may even need a co-host…
Print book: Many of you seem interested in a physical book version of my Columbo content and I’m at the early stages of discussing options with a designer and an illustrator. Again, I’d only do this if it could be really well produced (no cheap swill, please) and may need to look to crowd-funding to make it a reality. Watch this space!
Reader competitions: Reader giveaways of quality Columbo products on the site, as well as discounted items, would interest plenty of respondents. I’m up for exploring that, so if you have some red-hot Columbo items you’d be interested in showcasing, hit me up via email. Quality artwork would be particularly popular.
Website forum: I didn’t directly seek input on this, but a number of you suggested that a forum on the website (beyond the comments section on each article) would be really valuable – and I agree. I’m invested in giving Columbo lovers as much opportunity to interact with fellow fans as possible, so this is a high priority. To do so I need to upgrade the blog to a Business Plan with WordPress, which will cost $500+. Which brings me to…
One of the questions I asked in the survey was whether readers would be willing to pay to access ‘world-class Columbo content’ (I pitched it as positively as possible, see). And while less than 20% say they’d definitely be up for it, nearly 60% say they’d consider it – and I like those odds!
As a result, I’ve set up a Columbophile page on ‘Buy Me a Coffee’, enabling interested parties to bolster my flagging spirits by making a small donation to the cause. I may upgrade to a more user-reward-focused Patreon account in time when I have a clearer plan of action.
This is absolutely not a precursor to a Columbophile paywall because my driving ambition is to connect with and grow the Columbo community, but if 10% of visitors to the site each month pledged a small amount I could readily upgrade the site, purchase video and audio editing software, etc, to create a richer experience for Columbo lovers everywhere. What could be better?
Any contribution will be hugely appreciated but if that’s not for you there are other ways to help…
Amazon Affiliate links
Loads of you suggested that I ought to become an Amazon Affiliate and include links to Columbo DVD sets (and other Columbo items) on the site so that if readers choose to make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. HUZZAH!
I can confirm that I have now received Amazon Affiliate status and will be including a link to the DVD box set across the site on relevant pages, such as episode reviews. So if you’re hankering to get your trotters on the full series right now, buy with confidence here!
Columbo gift ideas
Similar to the above, but broader in scope, several readers indicated it would be handy to have a gift shop available on the site, with links to all sorts of decent Columbo wares within it. Your wish is my command. There’s now a new page on the site featuring links to a dedicated Columbo Amazon storefront, and a Redbubble store. More will follow in due course.
There’s everything from DVDs and artwork to t-shirts, cushions and mugs, so something to suit every fan and every pocket. I’d receive a (very) small commission for anything bought via these stores (again at no extra cost to the buyer), so if you plan to buy anyway and could help a fellow fan in the process, wouldn’t that be grand? Take a look at the options here.
As always, when I ask from something from the Columbo Community I’m willing to give something back – in this case a vintage 1970s’ Italian photo poster from episode Dagger of the Mind. The winner in a random draw was Hanna from Budapest, Hungary, which by a delightful coincidence is the only city in the world (to my knowledge) with a formal statue of Columbo and Dog! Hanna – I’ll be in touch via email.
All it remains to be said is a final thank you to all who participated in the survey and indeed to everyone who frequents this site. Between us, I hope we’d make Peter proud!