Adam T. Sutton

Cooler Widgets for Social Media Community

August 26th, 2008

A few months back, I had a chat with Josh Stinchcomb, Publisher, Wired Digital. The company encompasses, Ars Technica, Webmonkey and reddit — all of which feature user-generated content to some degree.

Josh and his team strive to build smart ways to engage their sites’ communities. I poked around after our conversation and realized he wasn’t kidding. Conversation is rampant on those sites.

One way to connect users to the reddit community caught my eye. The social media site has a widget generator. Visitors select the type and number of links for their widget and the page spits out the HTML to embed it in a website, blog, profile or wherever.

When it’s done, the widget will update as stories move around reddit. That’s so cool! The customization is limited, but most publisher widgets I’ve seen don’t offer customization.

And the simplicity is the key. The generator isn’t going to win any aesthetic awards, but it’s fast and works like a charm. The whole site seems to follow the Craigslist and Drudge Report models of utility over beauty.

The widgets drive traffic back to reddit and keep users connected when away from the site. They also have that elusive “cool” factor that gets people interested.

So, rather than a “me too!” social media tactic, the folks at Wired Digital put their own spin on the widget and came up with a better, more-customizable way to drive traffic. There’s a good lesson here: Don’t photocopy your inspiration, build on it.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Consumer Marketing, Contentbiz Tags: , ,

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.