3 Reasons why you can’t build your content home on rented land

“Things became very different with Twitter and Facebook status updates. The updates gave people who were writing long-form articles the ability to publish stream of consciousness–style instead.”

Read the full article at: www.socialmediaexaminer.com

In this Social Media Examiner podcast with a provocative title, Michael Stelzner, Mitch Joel and Mark Schaefer discuss the potential death of blogging. You probably heard that before and while consumer blogging is probably dead (Yahoo buying Tumblr didn’t save the category), let’s have a look at whether this bold prediction stands for SMB content marketers. 

Where should you host your content? 

Content is a continuum: from shared content to micro-content, status updates or social visual content to blogs, articles and eboks or slideshare, there’s a multitude of content formats. Content platforms and social networks offer better and better editing capabilities and they come with a massive argument: the promise of an audience through your social connexions.

Let’s take Medium or LinkedIn blog platforms: it’s tempting to dump your old WordPress to publish on these and leverage not only the fancy and simple editors but also the existing community and the potential reach through your existing network and connexions.

But just because some third-party platforms offer great editing or hosting capabilities, does it mean you should host your content there? Do they offer an audience or the promise of an audience?

SMB marketers: can you really afford to build your content home on rented land? 

To answer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much of your traffic comes from social vs search and direct traffic? Rented land will not help your site’s SEO so unless you’re getting 70% of your traffic from a strong network, you’ll miss out big time.
  • Can you afford not to convert? Content platforms or blogs don’t let you add CTA’s and conversion hooks to subscribe top of the funnel visitors to subscribe to your email newsletters or bottom of the funnel prospects to talk to sales. Can you live off brand awareness only?
  • Can you pay to play? Content platform mostly live off selling content placement either in native streams or search results, hence the decline of organic reach over time. More and more of their users join the publishing party, but attention doesn’t grow as fast: when I first published on LinkedIn as part of the early access program, my posts were doing thousands of views; I’m now happy when I generate 1,000. LinkedIn’s answer?  Do you have deep enough pockets to compete?

Don’t do content for content’s sake: content marketing is marketing

Leveraging existing platforms’ audiences is a good strategy: it helps bootstrap an audience and even at cruising altitude, it helps boost visibility for your ideas and thought leadership. As we’ve shared in this case study, our own findings were that republishing to Medium, LinkedIn and industry blogs helped boost our views and shares by 65%-80%.

But content marketing is not about pageviews and shares: it’s about attracting prospects through content that answers the questions they have throughout their buyer’s journey in order to convert them as leads and progressively nurture them as customers. On other people’s properties, your content will miss out the compounding SEO traffic and fail to convert your potential clients.

So unless you’re an established influencer with a strong network and even if you can tactically leverage third-party audiences, a blog is probably the most accessible content marketing format to generate ROI from your SMB’s content marketing investments.

And if you’d like to know more about how a content hub is your secret to a long and prosperous life in publishing, help yourself to this great freebie by downloading the eBook here.

Content Hubs Are Here (CTA)

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About Guillaume Decugis

Co-Founder & CEO @Scoopit. Entrepreneur (Musiwave, Goojet). Engineer-turned-marketer. Skier. Rock singer. http://scoop.it/u/gdecugis
  • Jim Phazer

    It’s amazing to me how many people use Facebook as their content home, when it scrolls off the timeline so fast, and Facebook even removes links on pages that are posted. Thanks for reminding people about the importance of owning their own blog.

  • http://www.epnet.co.za Gordon Barker

    Agreed 1,000% I am an activist in Johannesburg spending my time talking to people about the dangers of social media, it’s not your property, so why spend huge amounts of cash employing people to write content on these platforms, they should be doing it on their own website. Have a look at my web page talking about this: http://www.epnet.co.za/seosa/digital-marketing-in-south-africa/

  • http://www.businessesGROW.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    This is a complicated topic that I can’t simply address in a short comment but suffice to say that yes, you need a homebase but it is also possible and desirable to build on rented land. Not building on rented land is out-of date advice. Social media sites like Facebook are becoming cul de sacs where content goes in and nothing comes out (as it did a few years ago, the foundation of the inbound concept). We can’t ignore this trend. We simply count on people visiting our site for our great content. The fight with Facebook is over and they won. It is time to submit to Facebook (and LinkedIn etc) and build on their land too. More on this here: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2015/06/29/facebook-content-strategy/

    • http://scoop.it Guillaume Decugis

      Thanks for your comment and the great posts, Mark. You’re making a very good point that Facebook can’t be ignored. The decline in click-through rates from Facebook that you mention and that people have reported is real: agreed. And it needs to be addressed (I’ll add to the conversation on your post: it’s a great one!). The thing is I see many people arrive at the wrong conclusion that because Facebook is strong, you should dump your website for a Facebook page and that’s what I wanted to address here. Build on rented land? Sure! Go ahead, experiment and learn. But just don’t put your content home as you still need to control it.