For months I’d been dying to set my eyes on Joe Lamp’ls new website joegardener.com, hoping for a lot. It launched last week and at the risk of gushing, it includes everything a how-to-garden site should have and some stuff I didn’t think of. In Joe’s words to me on the phone recently, it’s a “hub for accurate information in the formats people want.”
Like all of us, Joe laments the loss of “gardening on TV – there’s nothing out there.” After Scripps Howard bought HGTV it concluded that advertising won’t support a real gardening show, so it offers backyard make-overs with lots of furniture and at least one fire pit.
In Joe’s words, “This lack of consistent, reliable sources for accurate, trusted and professionally produced garden-related media is a big problem…And people are turning to the Internet for that.”
Yet even on the web, Dave’s Garden, now owned by Internet Brands, is nothing more than customer reviews, with no editorial judgment in sight.
Joe sums up the problem:
Unfortunately, with a mind-numbing abundance of web-based content, overall, it is highly fragmented, inconsistent, often unreliable, unvetted and poor production quality.”
Exactly the complaint that drove me to start curating videos.
But who exactly is Joe? In case you’re unfamiliar, he’s an author, host three national television shows over past 15-years, (including seven seasons of Growing a Greener World on PBS), contributor to morning shows, syndicated columnist, radio host, podcaster and I’m sure I’m leaving stuff out.
Readers, I’m going out on a limb and predicting that joegardener.com will succeed where other endeavors have failed and even generate income. That’s because of his many loyal followers, his in-house media professionals, “a full-time social media person dedicated to keeping on top of promotion and an in-house SEO expert maximizing opportunities,” a backlog of resources and contacts, and more.
None of that would matter if he simply sold out to questionable advertisers, but I’m convinced he knows how to navigate those treacherous waters. Though his is a for-profit company, it’s not public, so he can stay on mission and not have to answer to shareholders.
And unlike the television format that allows for just 22 minutes of content, here he’ll have the freedom to provide in-depth gardening information.
And can I just add? He’s damn good on camera.
What’s on joegardener.com?
- Videos, because in Joe’s words “Demand for high-quality, how-to gardening videos are at an all-time high.” Boy, do I agree.
- Podcasts, which too are getting more popular every day. The 18-month production schedule for his podcasts includes interviews with experts like Jeff Gillman and Doug Tallamy.
- Articles, seasonally timed with new ones coming weekly.
- Webinars that are free and monthly on timely and topical subjects.
- And all of that being promoted via social media – the ones most used by gardeners
First, joegardener looks amazing!
Unlike far too many websites, its About pages, like this one, actually give readers the info they’re looking for. (One of my pet peeves is About pages that simply repeat the mission statement.)
Of course with “social proof” like this, there’s no reason to hide your identity.
I love that Joe targets beginners with “no experience required” assurances, lots of the Basics, and a fun and inviting tone. (So different from the approach I ranted about in “The Wrong Way to Teach Eco-Friendly Gardening.”)
His approach seems to be working particularly well with millennials, who are so far the primary demographic visiting the site. “They’re coming to learn to grow food. They want utility,” says Joe.
But my top reason for recommending joegardener.com is what Joe has to say about the topics he covers. He teaches without talking down and is pro-stewardship without being preachy. His advice is informed and evidence-based. I’ve agreed with every word I’ve read or heard so far on the site, so naturally I think he’s a very wise soul.
Just give a listen to “Five Steps to your Best Garden Ever” and see if you agree that it’s a far cry from instant gardening for the gullible.