Ah, blogs. They have long lived as the apex of online marketing, but the status quo is being challenged. Brands are not only wanting to attract an audience, but also point other audiences in their direction. This post will show how social media is offering more original content mediums for bloggers to use outside of the traditional website blog.
What is decentralization?
When you post to a company blog, you are writing to the familiar audience that you already have. You share the blog among your social following, which is comprised of people who have chosen to actively participate in your brand. This practice has worked wonders for a few years now, but companies are now searching beyond the audience that they have built and seeking avenues for which new audiences can find them. Where do these new audiences come from? Content on platforms outside of your own domain.
To put it simply, decentralized content is the content that you create for the internet that is not stored and consumed directly on your own domain. This includes Medium, LinkedIn, thought sharing sites, and others' social media accounts. Why would you do this?
You've spent precious time building the community and audience that surrounds your brand. These people have got your back and engage with the majority of the content you produce. But what if you had dozens of other similar audiences that could be pointed in your direction? Spreading (decentralizing) your content to outside sources creates these avenues for new users to find you. Beware: the Search algorithm for Google doesn't take kindly to duplicate content. Simply re-posting something from your company blog will not cut it. When you create interesting and shareable content, consumers will notice. People that use LinkedIn and Medium aren't necessarily on those platforms for you, but rather they are there to find great content.
The hope here is that individuals share and engage with your content enough that new audiences become interested in what you do and want to learn more. Decentralization shouldn't replace centralized content, but rather it should be a means to bring in new audiences and new traffic to your already centralized content.
When the creator of Blogger and co-founder of Twitter launched Medium, he said this: "Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say."
The platform began as invite-only, and only people who were established writers with content good enough to go on the site were considered. The site served as a source for the best industry research and opinion pieces on the web.
Medium has since opened up to the general public, but kept its high-quality writing integrity. This expectation of quality and trustworthiness is the prime reason for why marketers should utilize this platform for content decentralization.
When using Medium, you need to keep 3 things in mind:
1: Use only your best and strongest content.
A typical inbound marketing blog won't cut it here. Write about something that any number of other people might care about. Save topics solely about your brand for the company blog. People typically search for research findings and well-thought-out opinion pieces. It may seem odd to write content not 100% related to your brand, but remember, you're sharing in the hopes of directing a new audience's attention your way.
2: Your content should be inherently interesting and SHAREABLE.
Let's take a look at Intel. They are leaders in high-end processors and strive to be on the forefront of global technology innovation. In 2o15, they published a Medium article about the Universal Right to Music. The piece is a well-crafted article about the changing technology landscape for DJs and other musicians. Although while not speficically an inbound marketing style article, the tech giant does mention several products that contain its processors. Why are we looking at this? Intel's article appeals to a broader audience and isn't directly business related. This decentralized piece of content looseley relates back to the ASUS Transformer Book, which contains Intel processors.
3: The focus isn't on your business, it's on communities that are highly engaged.
Remember, we are trying to create more channels where new audiences for your centralized content can be drawn from. You want others to be interested in your content in the hopes that one might eventually start to investigate further. These highly engaged communities share a common interest and regularly share insights and interesting content. Why not participate in these conversations with your brand?
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network, and its publishing rules are the same as Medium's. Because LinkedIn is the go-to place for B2B marketers, content must have professional quality and have useful insights.
LinkedIn's algorithm emphasizes daily popularity. Articles that receive many shares and other types of engagement stick around near the top of your feed for that day, and will continue to do so if it retains popularity. With widely shareable content, you are not only in front of more eyes, but your content exposed to new audiences.
Getting featured on LinkedIn Pulse
Pulse is LinkedIn's curated news feed. Stories with only the highest quality and useful content are selected to appear on a Pulse channel. Getting featured on this feed injects your content into a community of engaged individuals, reaches top industry professionals, and builds immense credibility for a brand. Since we're talking about social media here, let's take a look at the social media section of Pulse. A feature story here puts you in front of an audience of over 16 million users.
How do you get there?
1. Use your highest quality content
Always be thinking about shareablility. What's a topic that appeals to a broad audience? Is it interesting and relevant enough to be shared? Go above and beyond the usual inbound blog.
2. Provide valuable information to your readers
Back your facts up with data. Share information that is both easily digestible and useful in many different facets of business.
3. Make sure your post is easy to read and visually appealing
Use sophisticated language, but don't alienate people with too many industry or fluff words. Include images, infographics, or interactive content to keep users engaged.
4. Use industry-related and professional hashtags and tweet at @LinkedInEditors
Loop in people from your industry and other target industries using relevant hashtags. Be general and specific so you can point a variety of audiences in your direction. Let the @LinkedInEditors twitter page know what you're up to.
Getting featured is difficult but not impossible. Regularly publishing and engaging with other users in a digital community will bring you closer to success.
For more content about sales and marketing research, follow the image below to the State of Inbound Marketing 2017 report.