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07/08/2007

MORE TH>N Living

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I'm going to feature a couple of on-topic items about work today...

First thing is the first stage of a project that - especially if you're a regular reader of this blog - I'd be really interested in your feedback on.

I've been working on with the Content & Media team at Spannerworks and UK insurance company MORE TH>N to create a space called Living. No, not a company blog - though that may yet come - simply a platform for providing useful content and exploring different ways of communicating with the company's stakeholders online. As the Living intro itself proclaims:

Living is a space to share useful information about the things we value. We’ve drawn together interesting sites and conversations from across the internet and are combining them with news and thoughts from the Living team. We’re looking at greener motoring and home energy efficiency to start with, but the site is evolving to reflect many other things - we’ve recently added a flood advice page with resources for anyone affected by this summer’s storms.

Features that social media-istas among you may find interesting:

  • It's all published under a creative commons licence.
  • It features an aggregator of interesting blog posts and news stories on
  • It's published on Wordpress (wish I could get round to migrating this blog to it- one day!)

The first two things Living is focusing on is greener motoring and energy efficiency in the home.  Almost straight away the MOR TH>N team wanted to add in a section with helpful information about flooding. That was in place in 24 hours.

I have to say that going live with this was every bit as thrilling as the first time I published a blog post on Open. Not that it was a personal space, this time it belongs, in every sense, to someone else, but because it was so new and felt so right.

It's interesting to note as well just how many of the team involved were bloggers: MORE TH>N's Roberto Hortal, Tom Nixon of Nixon McInnes and Spannerworks' own Jim Byford to name but a few.

It's going to be really interesting to see how this project evolves - as that's what it is designed to do. In a year's time will it look at all the same? Will there be forums? Photo galleries? Expert blogs and video? Can't wait to see...

As I say, do let me know what you think in the comments here or by email...

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Comments

Anthony - Seems like a bold experiment for a company trying to experience living in social media (forgive the pun).

Out of interest, who's actually adding content to the site (ignoring the aggregator) - members of MORE TH>N's staff? or a team you have at Spannerworks?

Thanks, Robin - I agree that it is bold in its own way.

At the moment a lot of the editorial content is coming from the journalists at Spannerworks but with a lot of input and discussion with MORE TH>N.

Anthony. Very nice indeed. Almost like the old portals we used to talk about (but rarely stayed on) only with a more personal touch. Can people comment and get advice from it too?

Thanks, David - comments are open on the Car and Home sections. And advice could certainly be something that might be added in future - one of the strong points about the platform is how easy it is to add things in...

I agree with the other comments that this is a bold experiment and provides some real food for thought. I would be interested to know more about the way you'll be evaluating the results.

The topics are interesting - I wonder how the spread between different, 'insurance-related' articles will impact on the success or otherwise. I wouldn't buy a magazine about fine dining AND geek television, even though I'm interested in both, if you see what I mean.

One other thing - I think it would be an idea to attach names to the pieces - especially if you've got more than one person writing for you - I think that's an expectation nowadays. I don't believe it matters to anyone whether this reveals them as agency employees - so long as they write well, they could work for SMERSH for all I care.

Fair comment, Ian - thanks: very much appreciated.

Not at all - I met with your pal Will McInnes this morning, and it was a point we discussed.

So answer me this - you guys are search gurus - would writing on these topics raise results on 'car insurance' or 'home insurance' even though the articles don't explicitly mention 'insurance'?

Cheers.

More important than content for content's sake, or for search engines' sake, it the reputation of the whole site within its networks.

The broader objective is to find ways of being useful to MORE TH>N's networks. The Living website is a first step.

So technically yes, it will help its search rankings generally, but it's only part of the story from a search engine, a network and a brand point of view. Think of a site's total brand equity online also being its search equity - its GoogleJuice in geekspeak.

very ambitious project. Original and interesting. It will live or die on the relevancy of content for people's lives.

It looks great - simple, clean and credible.

I hope it will prove succesful.

Best

A,

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