Thalasio.com is a web application targeted to sailors and yacht owners. It’s an app that helps you find interesting places and plan your boat trips according to your tastes. The app is an offline first Progressive Web App based on Angular that talks to a Django API. The prototype was built in the course of a month or so but finding out how to build content for it has proven a frustrating process. Following, are the strategies I tried and what seemed to work best.
The first, strategy was to get an experienced editor to take a look at what needed and start organizing content creation, with more people hired down the line to share the load. This was a naive a approach because editors don’t usually work like that, most of the time they are give strict subjects and guidelines and the only creativity they bring to the table is the one they pour into their writing. Asking an editor to write the guidelines is not very productive.
That being said, it was not all a disaster. Talking with a professional editor forced me to think about the subject, style and form of the app’s content which in turn allowed me to recruit friends for help. I could express what the app needs much clearer and that resulted in content that was not half bad. The downside to this is that non-professionals are not erm, professional and even though this was paid “help”, writing content is not their main focus and progress is slow and the process a bit chaotic.
Again, fail learning, I now have a better idea of what I need to do. My biggest mistake was thinking that all content is the same, it’s not. The app’s main articles are not the same as the articles for individual locations and further away from articles needed for individual bays, marinas or ports. So first things first, I wrote a style guide of how each article for individual locations (which are the most common) should look like down to word length, paragraphs and subject per paragraph.
This allowed me to hire editors on fiverr with more confidence and purpose. I recently received articles for Lefkada, Rhodes and Santorini and the results were quite good. I plan to tweak the style guide some more but at least for this type content the problem seems solved. By the way, if by any chance you need content for your travel blog Sherhaz is great.
The other thing I realized is that not everything needs to be written in text. At least for bays, coves, beaches and other marine spots there’s most of the times nothing to write about. This revelation gave me the idea of building predefined forms for places like that and hire data entry freelancers on fiverr to fill them in. This way I can acquire strongly structured data which I can then display more efficiently to the busy sailor or traveler. I expect this will be a fun experiment trying to hire for this kind of data entry.
All in all this has been an illuminating experience and I expect it to be useful in the future when my projects launch.