Here’s the scenario: you’ve two great ideas ready to go, and limited time. Both deal with your area of expertise, but one is a straight feature to educate and inform your audience with useful content, and the other is a personal essay about your experiences battling a problem your audience can relate to.
Which one do you go for – straight and reliable, or personal and risky?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got lots of writing ideas, but you’re not always sure which ones will fly with your audience.
Enter Help Me Write from Makeshift, a cool product design studio in London. They’ve tried to solve that problem by connecting authors and audiences and ask: do you want to read this?
The process is simple: you dump your ideas to your Help Me Write profile page with a well-written first paragraph, like on you’d send to an editor with a query letter, and then share that page to your social profiles, your blog – wherever your audience lives.
Then, they just click ‘I’d like to read this’. No messing around collating repsonses from your Twitter feeds, just pure, democratic expressions of interest.
Assuming you’ve got some feedback, once you write the piece, you’ve got a pre-existing audience ready to read it. It’s an extension of the technique you often see with feature writers on Twitter who drop tidbits about their current projects to whet a reader’s appetitie.
Obviously, this type of app works best for those who have a large pre-existing audience online. But considering that that’s the goal of every young writer out there these days (or it should be), this kind of app has a pretty bright future.
Big media potential
Imagine the potential to have this feature rolled into big media companies with some of the finest writing styles on earth. What if subscribers had the ability to tell their favourite newspaper that one minor idea from a columnists’ pile grabbed them and they just can’t wait to read it?
That’s what really fascinated me – the idea that media could institutionalise the kind of feedback that social media is so celebrated for.