I learn a lot by watching and experiencing what everyday content marketers do to innovate the experience. Sometimes I lose site of the fact that those publisher/marketers who are learning and adjusting by making the donuts everyday have a leg-up on the competition. Success in content marketing is really contingent on setting up an iterative publishing culture that encourages fast learning and adjusting.
As annoying as it is to hear, allowing (and counting on) little failures along the way is key. That’s how we all learn.
I have learned some small lessons from two publishers and a technology platform.
Forbes Made It Easier to Tweet
Tweeting a headline that links to an interesting story is pretty easy. The Twitter icon at the head of almost every major published article will launch a pre-populated tweet ready for publishing. Sometimes you have to edit the given message because they added a bunch of hashtags that aren’t relevant. But it’s pretty easy.
Forbes introduced inline tweets. So simple. So, “why didn’t we do that.” The Twitter icon follows a particularly pithy 140 character or less sentence in an article. One click and you are now sending out the quote that links back to the article. Place 2-3 of these in a typical 500-word post and now more people like me are tweeting out an idea we find compelling, not just the same headline.
Medium Made It Easy to Recommend
Medium is the fresh long-form blogging platform. I almost moved my blog there and may someday do so. But, it’s more than a blog platform. It’s like Tumblr for the wordy set. Essentially, Medium caters to affinity-based communities and 9 times out of 10, the affinity is the particular writing in the site. Like and article and you can “Recommend” it. This is like ‘favoriting’ except the word ‘recommend’ is so much smarter and clearer.
Other folks who have recommended the article appear at the top of the article with the heart symbol. This makes it easy for you to find people who like the same things and you can follow them. If you are really motivated, you can leave comments up and down the article and read those written by others.
That the button is called “recommend” is important. Because the dynamic of Medium is like forming affinity follower networks – essentially people who share your tastes or interests, the act of actually recommending something means so much more than in the wild and woolly world of Facebook or Twitter.
There used to be a social network, Trusted Opinion, that was trying to tap into a similar dynamic although from another angle. They were trying to get ‘close ties’ – people who actually knew each other well – to shared opinions on mass media (e.g. movies and books). Medium is not concerned with whether you know each other but rather that both of you recommended the article, We Are All in the Ramones.
Bloomberg Businessweek Gives Us Most Shared, Read, Discussed
I am a long time reader of Businessweek – even before the Bloomberg acquisition. And while I expected the publication (what else can we call these things?) to degrade with new ownership, the opposite is true. BBW has gotten stronger and stronger. I am a particular fan of their tablet app. That is truly a great reading experience. Easy to browse, easy to navigate, easy to read.
The “detail devil” from their work that I particularly like is the consistent sort functions in category pages or within story lists, that allow you to sort content by most recent, most shared, most read, and most discussed. I tend to want to scan most shared. I value seeing what others thought was literally “remarkable” to pass along.
The enhancement I would like to see is the ability to assemble a page, feed or email of category lists the way I like to see them. E.g. “Send me an email with top, shared headlines in Technology & Innovation/Design.”
There is lots to learn from those publishing everyday and sweating bullets over the details.