Shareable's Editorial Strategy: What Do You Think?

Shareable.net has an editorial strategy---and we want to know what you think of it. Is there anything we've missed? Is there anything here that just seems redundant with what's already out there on the web? Leave a comment and help take Shareable to the next level.

What is Shareable?

A new peer-produced economy and culture is rapidly emerging where the more you share, the more respect you get from your peers. Our goal is to get more people to organize their lives around the logic of this new world where contributing to the common good is the priority.

Towards that end, Shareable looks at culture, cities, the economy, and daily life through the lens of sharing. We look for how people are sharing and we ask ourselves how the world can be made more shareable. The website is a place to learn about this new world where sharing is important and to access helpful sharing tools, tips, and how-to’s.
To whom does Shareable speak?
We call our audience the sharing community. These are the people who engage in sharing activities all the time. They’re members of City Car Share, they go to Burning Man, they live in cohousing or dorms, they organize potlucks and food clubs with friends, and they share code, videos, and news over the Internet. They’re also people who share professionally: designers, architects, scientists, nonprofit workers, digital journalists, sharing service employees, and so on.
Our audience reads Shareable because they are seeking new ways to share—not out of virtue, but as a path to a better, fuller, more successful life and career. They’re also looking to discover the meaning in sharing, to discuss and understand the values that facilitate sharing. Sharing is not a style or a fad. It’s a philosophy and a way of living, one that helps all of us to thrive in the twenty-first century.
What makes us valuable to this audience?
There are five key editorial goals: to build a strong, clear voice and brand; provide a platform for the ideas and creativity of the sharing community; generate original content that creates engaging, unique experiences; develop expertise and authority; and influence offline and online behavior.
Build strong, clear voice and brand: Shareable is aiming at a tone that is quirky, smart, slightly geeky, hopeful, casual, personal, warm, and authentic. We are not snarky, commercial, or ideological. Our goal is to cultivate a community whose members care about each other and the world. Our designs are simple, friendly, and navigable, and should suggest a wide-open feeling of possibility. No other website will combine these values and this orientation with a commitment to good storytelling, both visual and textual.
  • Metrics: When people talk about Shareable, are they able to articulate right away who we are, what we stand for, and what they’ll find on the site? Is it obvious who should partner with us?

Provide a platform for the ideas and creativity of the sharing community: Shareable will extend an invitation to readers to write this exciting new story with us, so that the story of a shareable world is peer produced. We provide to open space for the audience to contribute to creating this vision through the Shreable blogging community (coming in late November 2009), comments, assigned contributions, and features such as “The Shareable Café”—and we will amplify their story through promotional and marketing efforts, events, and so on.

  • Metrics: Number of posts in blogging community; number of those posts promoted to front page and channels; commitment of individuals bloggers as expressed in them promoting Shareable on their own; number of community members.

Generate content that creates engaging, unique experiences: We will connect readers to the people, projects, and places where the vision is coming to life, and offer readers ways they can make this world real in their lives today. Toward these ends, Shareable will strive to build a psychographic profile of our audience: where they shop, what other sites they visit, where they vacation, what cars they like to drive, and so on. This profile will inform how Shareable covers sharing activities.

  • Metrics: Number of comments, site traffic, bounce rate, return visits, number of community members, blogging community contributions.
Develop expertise and authority: Shareable aims to accumulate expertise without experts, and to build authority without being authoritative. In the age of information overflow, curation is king. Our expertise and authority derives in part from our ability to sift the web and discover new ways to share, providing a lens that allows visitors to see sharing happening in our world. The content itself will be knowledgeable, but not necessarily definitive or authoritative—the conversations we foster will serve as a mark of our authority. Our authority will also derive in part from the movers and shakers we attract into the site through Q&As and essays. Some names will be famous, but we also want to amplify the work of people who are sharing quietly. As Shareable matures, no other website will have our depth and range of resources; no other website will have a community of people rooted in the belief that sharing (ideas, opportunities, stuff) is a way to achieve the good life.
  • Metrics: Links, tweets, and search engine rankings; free media; positive reviews and comments in blogs, magazines, etc.

Influence behavior: We want people to share in the both the virtual and material worlds—share bikes, cars, housing, code, art, lives. In addition to providing tools and how-to’s, we will influence behavior is by creating a kind of fantasy image of the shareable life, an ideal that our community will strive to meet. This will entail, for example, features on cohousing that resemble “dream house” magazine spreads—but these cooperative living spaces will be presented as nodes, not islands, and gateways to the shareable good life.

  • Metrics: Measurements of behavior must be qualitative, not quantitative. Toward this end, we will solicit stories from the sharing community (primarily in the DIY feature) and amplify their stories through the site.

How will we make ourselves even more valuable to our audience? What mechanisms will we use to improve our content?

  • Follow traffic: What types of content on Shareable are getting the most traffic? Do more of that.
  • Track search engines: What types of search terms are drawing the most traffic? Optimize those and tailor content to meet the needs suggested by the search terms.
  • Build profile of readers: What type of reader is Shareable attracting? Where are they coming from? Track who joins, where they came from, gather demographic and psychographic information, and provide content that meets their values and needs. 

How can we reach and mobilize the sharing community?

In addition to SEO, GoogleAds, and other methods of Internet promotion, Shareable must also meet the sharing community where it is in the real world. Sharing is an action, and sharers take action by building and living in cohousing, going to Burning Man, lending through Kiva, and so on.

Thus Shareable should craft partnerships and target outreach toward people inside these networks, through e-list sharing and purchase, direct marketing, paid advertising, content sharing, and so on. In addition, the content of Shareable must be crafted to appeal to people active in these offline networks.

Over time, Shareable should build ancillary programs designed to build our community, build a more shareable world, enhance our brand, and, in some cases, generate revenue. Ideas include:

  • The Shareable Lab, which will bring people from many backgrounds together to discuss how to make something--housing, streets, schools, government--more shareable.
  • Walking tours that reveal what's already shareable in cities around the country.
  • Shareable conferences and workshops (e.g., “How to Build Cohousing in the Bay Area)
  • One-shot panels, social events, and performances.

Shareable will need to embark upon a process of prioritizing and developing projects like these, even as it builds the audience of Shareable.net.

 
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