Writrsbloc

A curated newsletter with the week's best writing

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Lucas Lindsey
Lucas LindseyMaker@urbnist · Executive Director, Domi Station
Hey everyone! Happy to share this little side project with you all. Since March, I've been compiling and sharing a weekly list of can't-miss stories drawn from sites across the web. I do my best to feature things both deservedly viral and off the beaten path. We live in the golden age of content, but there's simply too much of it to go around. Some great solutions have popped up to tackle the content discovery problem--things like This., Longreads, and Nuzzel--but I wanted to take a bite-sized swing at it too. So I built a list of avid readers and powered forward. Newsletters aren't a new idea, but I do it because I enjoy it (and it forces me to sit down and read great stories every week). That I get to share stories with others is just an awesome bonus. FYI: if you ever run across a great story, or write your own and want to see it featured, just submit it here: https://writrsbloc.typeform.com/...
Kyee
Kyee@kyee · Designer and Investor
Nice.
Lucas Lindsey
Lucas LindseyMaker@urbnist · Executive Director, Domi Station
@kyee Thanks.
David Iwanow
David Iwanow@davidiwanow · Global SEO Manager @ Schibsted
@kyee what do you think is nice about it? I ask based on my comment below
David Iwanow
David Iwanow@davidiwanow · Global SEO Manager @ Schibsted
Hmmm i think hand curated content certainly has a place in the world as there are platforms like ProductHunt that prove that but also content specific platforms like http://inbound.org/ that focus on marketing specific topics. I think the key is focusing on something and being really good at it... Any of these platforms now raise the question what's in it for me? Why should I take time to help contribute to Writrsbloc? I think ProductHunt works because it's fairly focused on tech and startups but it's visible who voted, who commented and who was first to feature it. ProductHunt goes one step further as you can choose to follow other hunters who you think submit/vote great things or inspire good discussion. There are already several more specific products like Quuu https://www.producthunt.com/tech... that focus on supplying great content for social media... I work very hard to source and curate great content for my own channels which takes a heap of time so I question the investment in someone else's platform as I just don't have enough time in my day. Sure it might be something I might consider once in a while but you need to answer what's in it for me... I also hate email so what is the solution that you can supply a summary outside of my inbox?
Lucas Lindsey
Lucas LindseyMaker@urbnist · Executive Director, Domi Station
@davidiwanow Had a hell of a week, so just getting to this, but trust that it means a lot to get this kind of feedback and depth of thinking. I'll try to address your points in the order they arrived, with some amount of meandering in between. I absolutely see your point about targeting a strategic niche and obsessively focusing on quality. To date I've avoided the former and intermittently, with some strange amount of luck, achieved the latter. Curating great writing--now that just sounds broad, and it is. One thing I've thought a lot about is whether I should limit my curation to certain forms of writing (fiction or essays or poetry or fill-in-the-blank), but so far I've avoided taking that leap, mostly because I enjoy the flexibility I'm afforded and the unexpected, eclectic nature of what I can deliver. I've battled with what seems to boil down to optimizing for growth vs. optimizing for fulfillment. I don't think these two things always find each other in opposite corners of the ring, but they do for me, at least for now, in the swirling midst of my current professional and personal obligations. Writrsbloc is the eye of that swirling storm. It's my time for myself, and I cherish it, even as it adds an incremental sense of responsibility with each new subscriber (thanks, ProductHunt, for 80+ pings of "oh damn, now I have to keep sending this" :). If I wanted to optimize Writrsbloc for growth, I might begin by better defining my niche and targeting to an audience accordingly. But for now I'm happy to engage in something that motivates me simply to read more and share the best stories I find with others--not for the sake of content marketing or legitimizing my brand or hacking my influencer score, but for the sake of the sentences, the good ones, the ones that, through no fault of their own, deserve to be shared. For awhile I messed with link colors and layouts in some hair-brained attempt to up my CTR, but then I did an A/B test of my own user experience, the one where I had to sit down on a weekend and choose between optimizing and enjoying, and I figured out that I just wanted to send an email. What others do with it is their business. Enjoy it, delete it, flag it, forward it, or whatever else kids do these days. So be it. In terms of what's in it for you--why would you care to submit stories for me to read and possibly to share--well that's a tougher nut to crack. Maybe you're just a nice guy and you think I'm a nice guy too. :D Long story short, I hope those that submit do so because they enjoy it, intrinsically so. A few might be looking to diversify their writing's distribution streams, as many up and coming writers are these days. Others might be publishers with some time to kill (ha!) and some recent posts in need of pageviews. But I'm not begging to become a part of anyone's workflow or further complicate their social experience online. I definitely don't want anyone to feel like it's a drag to drop me a link. If that's true for you, no worries! I'm not out to crowdsource the work. I'm just out to share in the fun. Finally, it's funny that you bring up alternatives to email. I recently put this same question to my coworking space's Slack. What others ways could Writrsbloc deliver stories beyond good 'ol email? What's sufficiently in vogue and in line with current trends toward lightweight, centralized alerts? Should be it be a slack bot? Should it be SMS? Some kind of mobile notif? This is a question I'm asking, but not one I've answered. Not yet, anyway. What solution outside of your inbox do you think you would prefer?
David Iwanow
David Iwanow@davidiwanow · Global SEO Manager @ Schibsted
@urbnist Cheers Lucas really appreciate the feedback and detailed response, for that I give you a huge vote of credibility :) The what's in it for me is something any crowd based platform needs to answer and often gamification still seems to be the consistent process to reward adopters that actually use your platform and engage with the community you have created... think @Foursquare @Yelp @ProductHunt they give you some feedback on your checkin, review, submission... sure a heap of people drop off and just become lurkers but a huge amount of the content creation happens from a small % of your users. I would say think outside the email box is a good idea if you want to diversify your audience... think and test which works... SlackBot, Twitter, Mobile App, Push Notifications...
Lucas Lindsey
Lucas LindseyMaker@urbnist · Executive Director, Domi Station
@davidiwanow Great point re testing. Thinking I might begin with a Slack bot. Have someone who has been wanting to mess around building those.
Martijn de Kuijper
Martijn de Kuijper@mdekuijper · Founder at Revue
Love it! :)
Lucas Lindsey
Lucas LindseyMaker@urbnist · Executive Director, Domi Station
@mdekuijper Thanks for building a great platform in Revue. Makes building and sending each week a breeze. Totally worth the cost.
Matt Candid
Matt Candid@mattcandid · MidlifeMood.com
Simply wow! Nice work delivering on your promise. You set the bar high on quality writing, and had me hooked with the first story I read (from bittersoutherner, in issue 18). I will definitely be recommending your site. Keep up the great curation.
Lucas Lindsey
Lucas LindseyMaker@urbnist · Executive Director, Domi Station
@mattcandid Really appreciate that. I'll keep 'em coming if you keep on reading. :)