Turning readers into co-creators

Co-creation is on the rise. Facebook, Twitter and Reddit rely on it. For Metro, a more traditional news site, bloggers drive 10% of traffic.

What small steps could take a passive reader into a progressively more creative relationship with our news brand? For a small news brand, the “community funnel” might look something like this…

The community funnel

Metro is fortunate enough to already have a lot of sharers and bloggers, but there is a chasm between the two. How might we bridge it?

  • Co-curators. i100 let’s users “vote up” stories. Metro has already worked towards this, it just needs a bit of polish before it’s ready to be trialed.
  • Contributors. Upworthy lets users submit a link. Why not let users submit story ideas too? (More here).

The journey doesn’t stop there. We’ve seen Alison go from blogger to Senior Writer, and writers can end up becoming editors.

The challenges

1. How do we make all this add up to a coherent personality? A compelling vision is needed. Upworthy, for example, say “Things that matter. Pass ’em on. Got Something Upworthy?”.

2. How to avoid editorial being swamped by user generated links? The editorial staff are busy!

  • What if we get our audience to filter the links for us? A “Reader’s links” breaker?
  • What if links that get enough clicks automatically create a card in the Editorial team’s Trello?
  • What if further filtering happened via voting within Trello. (Trello supports voting on cards). What if trusted bloggers were given access to Trello so that they could vote?

The same could be applied not just to user generated links but to user generated ideas. (The mechanism could be votes rather than clicks, similar to Reddit).

3. How to minimise the number of spammy links shown to our audience?

  • Report abuse?
  • Quarantine? What if new links were initially shown only to 5% of users?
  • Bandit testing? This is a more sophisticated version of the quarantine: the higher a link’s CTR, the more users it gets shown to.

4. How to promote the best links fast? For users who have submitted successful links in the past, what if we fast-track new links from them?

What else could we do to promote community?

Some successful communities, such as Stack Overflow, award points for participating in the community. It’s a form of gamification. Could that work for a site like Metro?

Leave your suggestions below!




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