As the first Managing Editor of Shopify UX, Gene Shannon’s priorities are the blog’s content, maintaining its social media, and running their newsletter for the UX community. The blog has been around for about 5 years, but before Gene became the editor, it was being managed on the side of the UX team’s roles, and their designers, content strategists, researchers, and developers contributed as they saw fit. He told Wonder Shuttle that creating his position was an investment in putting out a more cohesive message and lowering the barrier for contributors. “We felt we had a lot of people who have good things to say and we wanted to help them say it.”
Since everyone contributing to the blog has a day job, how do you incentivize them to make time for it?
I think what helps for us is that one of the company’s cultural values is, “Do things, tell people.” We’re a very large team, we’re distributed across a bunch of different offices, in different time zones, in different countries. Even though the audience for the blog is nominally external, I think it’s really helpful internally for people to share interesting projects or techniques.
I know for some of our other outreach activities, like if you’re speaking at a conference, Shopify will pay you a bonus for that and cover your expenses. So we’re looking at doing something similar to that around blog content, but for content that we think is really high value and that takes a bit of extra time for the person involved.
We’ve actually given people who want to contribute resources about how to talk about that with their managers and with their leads, saying, “Here’s the time commitment involved. Here’s why it’s valuable. Here’s what Shopify will get out of it.” And a lot of people have it as a personal development goal that they want to get better at communicating, and this can be a way to help them do that.[Read more…] about Gene Shannon: A company blog’s content value multiplies over time