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Launching New Media Properties with RebelMouse

At RebelMouse we're obsessed with setting up content for success through the power of distributed publishing. We've mastered a lean tech model that lets you launch socially-powered websites that can be launched in hours, not weeks.

Still, RebelMouse is much more than just a software vendor and technology platform. The company has deep experience building and launching successful media properties that gain real traction and have a chance to become a core part of pop culture.


A significant part of the value add we provide is as a "Sherpa" to New Media — we guide you on how to build them, how to launch them, and how to grow them. Using the strengths of our global team, we can serve as a creative agency for your site launch — working with your team on product, design, content strategy + social marketing. And we do that through a refined process that sets you up from the beginning to be successful in your launch and growth phases. Let's take a step-by-step look at our battle-tested launch process, so you can see what you can expect from your partnership with RebelMouse.

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1. Conduct a Contagious Media Brainstorm

What will make your media property contagious is two-fold: understanding virality and understanding how content spreads. A quadrant of contrasting emotions, Belief/Disbelief + Love/Hate, may seem like simple ideas, but their impressive strength is what prompts new audiences to share, engage + become obsessed with your brand.

If you study successful media properties, there is always a clear mission — and that mission is fueled by the emotional quadrant of virality. For example RebelMouse's viral property Axios' mission is to provide clear, unbiased political news in efficient + snackable microposts. Their mission plays on the wide spectrum of emotion that politics provokes, most powerfully to belief/disbelief. In turn, RebelMouse powers properties like HooplaHa, which only publishes positive news, playing sharply to the love side of the virality quadrant. It's this kind of emotionally-provoking content that prompts every page view, comment, or click of the "share" button.

After understanding what makes viral content, it's crucial to understand how that content spreads. High page views are born on social and in the feeds. Putting a strategy in place so content is published everywhere (across all social platforms, but also outlets like Google AMP + Apple News) will cast a wide net for every story, building not only your audience but also a reputation of quality user experience.

In preparation for launch of your new media property, we'll use a one-hour whiteboard session to identify what makes your property contagious through positive constructive ideation. We'll identify your content's mission, where it will likely fall on the quadrant, and the best strategy to ensure it reaches the biggest audience possible with every publish.

2. Choose the Best Content Ideas for Your Brand

After Step 1 of this process, we'll be left with a handful of valid, relevant content ideas around which we can build your brand. Not all of them are going to make it off of the cutting room floor. Only the strongest should survive. To do that, we start off on Step 2 of the process, which is to put the ideas through their paces.

By relentlessly modeling the phases of the idea, we can determine how it will work on a day-to-day basis. Then, with a healthy amount of devil's advocacy, we leak test the idea to see how it might not work. This is a critical exercise in the process which will help predict future problems, help solve them ahead of time, and trim the ideas down to the one that will have the best chance at lasting success. Once we've reached that singular champion idea, it's time to build.

3. Delegate a Well-Rounded Team

While the product is built to match the brainstorm, selecting the key members on your team, RebelMouse's team, and any participating content agencies or consulting sources is the next step.

RebelMouse will identify key traits for success in the roles needed to build the idea. While everyone will have specific duties and strengths, it's important to blur the lines of expectations throughout the collective team. It's about making sure writers can also work as community managers, product can double as content strategists, etc. When everyone can provide input on every corner of the project, the more complete the vision will be.

Once the teams are finalized, there will be a training program to sync the results of the contagious media brainstorm with where the media space is at the time of launch. Once those two concepts are reconciled, it's time to determine together how the property will break through the noise. It's time for content.

4. Refine Content Selection + Tone

Your brand's slogan should also be your editorial thesis that powers your tone and content strategy. Still, getting the voice of your digital presence does not happen on the first — or even 5th — attempt. It starts by using that editorial thesis and applying it to content you discovered, remixed, and recreated to match your voice. That voice has to come through with every post.

While your product is being built, it's important that your writers + content curators are working on content ahead of launch. This can be native content, but also posts and articles from other thought leaders you wish to be aligned with your brand.

Together, we will perform weekly reviews of new content together to see how the tone is progressing. That way, your trial and errors are smoothed out before publish, and you have a hub of appropriate, on-brand content to launch your property.

5. Beta Release to Spark More Brainstorms

When it's time for the beta release of your property, our product team, your property's writers, and our publishing experts will be on the same page and excited about the property's potential. It's at this point RebelMouse will assemble internal + external focus groups to provide feedback on the property so far. These groups will be separate from the teams working on the project.

This group will give their honest feedback on if the content has a user experience built for sharing, and if the material is exciting enough to land somewhere on the quadrant of virality. It's a smart use of our combined resources to receive organic feedback before launch.

6. Revise Product + Content to Perfection

The raw feedback from the beta release may prompt significant shifts in content strategy, design, and product. It's at this time we all work together to make sure the proposed changes are executed quickly.

In addition, it's important we continue to receive swift feedback from the members of the focus groups who provided advice during the beta release. They will continue to provide honest opinions on the changes made since the beta version, continuing the feedback cycle for as long as needed.

By this time, the property will have a refined voice + style that has truly been tried and tested. After the rounds of vetting are complete, it's time for launch.

NEW: Page Views per Particle Enabled for Google AMP

Increase mobile page views for every particle using Google AMP

RebelMouse has deployed an exciting update: We've enabled particle tracking in Google Analytics for articles using Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format, which means every particle now triggers a page view event upon scroll. Before, just one page view event would be logged when the mobile page initially loaded.

Not Familiar With What This Means? Read On

The days of static, flat media are over. Sites with low performance scores, obtrusive ad experiences, and poor content structure simply won't make it. Knowing these truths, the way we think of an article can no longer be static either.

An article today now takes several forms: short-form, long-form, listicle, slideshow, etc. Because of this, we've created a simple framework called Particle Assembler that accounts for all possibilities when building out content.

We playfully call each piece of your content a "particle," which is quite literally a "part" of an "article." These particles have become the core way to author content on RebelMouse, and are standalone elements that use their own imagery, title, and copy. For example, let's say you create a post that's titled, "The Best Place for Tacos in Austin." Each taco destination in this article will have a lead image, the name of the restaurant, its location, and a description of the restaurant with images of their food. Each of these restaurant highlights contain enough information to stand by themselves as individual posts.

Building particles in RebelMouse's Entry Editor.

And they do stand alone successfully when you're on RebelMouse — each particle can be shared separately on social and each will register as a unique page view thanks to our latest update. This is a critical part of our modern pageview methodology that ensures our publishers deliver an elegant user experience to readers while still capitalizing on a meaningful monetization strategy. For instance, not only is every particle now a page view on Google AMP, but it's also a new revenue opportunity. This is thanks to the various placement opportunities for ads we offer within our Particle Assembler.

ICYMI, Google AMP is the search engine's lightning-fast mobile experience. With this update, sites powered by RebelMouse will not only deliver the best AMP experience to their users, but they'll also earn the page views their content deserves, too.

See the Massive Difference

In just a short period after implementing this change, one client experienced a massive spike in AMP pages per user, where it jumped from 1.6 to 8.2:

Here's what their AMP pages per user looked like just prior to the update:

If you're interested in experiencing this type of growth and getting more page views for your mobile content, request a proposal today and let's start working together. If you're already on RebelMouse, email support@rebelmouse.com or talk to your account manager to learn more about particle views for Google AMP.

Primary Tags: Structure Your Site for Success

Dynamic taxonomy improves usability and propels SEO strategy

It's not a surprise that quality content can easily be spoiled by a poor site experience. This is why we're extremely proud of the lightning-fast sites we power. But speed is only the beginning of the user experience.

The temperature on platform dependency has cooled in recent years, revitalizing the value of site visits and search strategy. This is good news for both users and publishers who need site stability to survive. Because of this shift, RebelMouse focuses on three primary key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure site usability and health:

  • Sessions per User: The average number of site sessions that each user has in a given time period.
  • Pages per User: The average number of page views that each user has in a given time period.
  • Time per User: The average amount of time spent on site by each user.

In order for these metrics to shine, a site's architecture must be organized in a way that increases every user's time on site. The logic is simple: If a site is easier to navigate, the user will likely stick around longer. This is the gateway to user loyalty.

One important way we support these KPIs is through our intuitive tagging structure for content. Let's take a look at our primary tag functionality and how it can set up any site for success.

What Is a Primary Tag?

On RebelMouse, we give you the ability to use as many tags as needed on every article to help keep you organized. But there's also an option to assign one primary tag to a post. A primary tag is built on the same principle as a primary section. One tag lets you assign higher importance to certain pieces of content when processing and organizing your posts.

The Primary Tag and Tags sections in RebelMouse's Entry Editor.

The Benefits of Primary Tags

Dynamic Taxonomy: One of the primary benefits of using a primary tag is that it exposes the depth of content available to your users. Many publishers do this through the use of sections, which often turns out to be redundant and, in turn, ignored:

Sections can often be annoying to navigate and repetitive.

Using a variety of relevant tags for every article, rather than just repeating the same handful of sections, opens up more opportunities for targeted descriptors. For example, instead of using "Recipes" as a section over and over again, a primary tag can be used to create specific content flows for topics like "Vegetarian," "Soups," or "Cocktails."

Richer SEO: Since a primary tag exposes more information about your article, it also supplies more relevant data to Google's algorithm. Surfacing content in usable ways supports Google's mission to serve content based on audience behavior and intent instead of outdated and frowned-upon SEO methods like keyword stuffing. This approach is called white hat SEO, or ethical SEO.

By targeting specific interests, your dynamic tag structure will allow Google to more accurately understand your article's content and rank it accordingly. On RebelMouse, this creates a trickle-down effect, because users can click a tag and quickly get directed to more relevant articles, which boosts your SEO efforts further.

Here's how the site experience looks on RebelMouse-powered EcoWatch when viewing their primary tag "Plastics."

RebelMouse-powered EcoWatch takes advantage of a primary tag construct.

Improves Crucial KPIs: As mentioned before, RebelMouse traffic experts are constantly focused on improving the three KPIs that matter most to site usability and building audience loyalty. These metrics answer the following questions:

  • Frequency: How often are users coming to the site?
  • Depth: How many articles does each user consume?
  • Duration: How long is each user staying on the site?

Looking again at EcoWatch's use of primary tags, it's important to note that a primary tag is exposed on every one of their articles. They're also used in a left-hand navigation module that features the latest stories and trending topics:

Start Leveraging Primary Tags on RebelMouse

If you aren't on RebelMouse yet, request a proposal today and let's start working together to make sure your site is optimized for user growth. If you're already publishing on RebelMouse, and want to learn more about tagging best practices, contact your account manager or email support@rebelmouse.com.

Page Speed Is Crucial to Your Marketing Efforts

Most marketers don't prioritize page speed because they don't think it impacts their bottom line. However, page load has a direct impact on conversions and revenue.

Here's a very simple scenario, supported by industry data, to underscore why the way pages are built and powered is crucial for paid media initiatives and your overall business:

Let's say a paid media campaign drives 100,000 new visitors to a landing page that takes five seconds to load. Google says that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. So of the 100K mobile site visitors you paid to bring to the page, ~50K are leaving immediately due to poor page performance alone.

Some studies even show that bounce rate increases approximately 100% for every two-second delay. So, if site load jumps to seven seconds, you'll pretty much lose all of the visitors your paid strategies brought in.

A Poor Site Experience Costs More Than You Realize

Page load plays a huge part in customer dissatisfaction, too. Continuing on with our previous example, let's classify the ~50K that didn't abandon the page as dissatisfied due to poor page performance. As HubSpot points out, 79% of them are less likely to buy again from the same website. That's ~40K visitors never coming back to the site due to poor page speed. The loss is even greater when you consider how valuable returning visitors are: They represent up to 48% of all transactions and spend almost 2x more than new visitors, according to Business Insider.

Plus, people love to spread the word about a bad experience, probably more than a good one. 40% of visitors who had a bad experience with a website's performance would tell a friend or a family member. So of your 50K dissatisfied visitors, 20K are talking negatively about your brand. If they tell only one person each, that's an opportunity cost of another 20K potential site visitors and customers.

The main takeaway? Your paid media has to work much, much harder when you neglect to optimize your site for performance.

Owned and Paid Media Should Work Together for Better Efficiency

And speaking of site improvements to help the bottom line, marketers can't overlook the value of owned content (e.g., articles, reviews, social feeds, etc.) and its impact on overall traffic and lead generation strategies. Sites tend to see significant lift in audience reach and conversion when content is paired with commerce: For e-commerce companies, content can account for up to 69% of total organic traffic. And, even more compelling, conversion rates have been 6x higher for companies that adopt content marketing.

RebelMouse's CMS makes it easy for brands to systematically optimize page speed performance and organic reach, which allows paid media to be more efficient.

RebelMouse allows clients to easily manage website layouts and components at any time, ensuring sites remain fast and are rewarded by Google and Facebook. Our platform features proprietary SEO tools designed to help clients optimize organic search with every post and better align paid and organic search strategies for increased efficiency. Similarly, our platform also includes proprietary social tools to organically build community and growth, and our data helps clients spot winning organic trends that can inform paid social media.

RebelMouse Is a Partner That Can Guide You

When it comes to content marketing, it's important to be mindful of the relationship between owned, earned, and paid media — it will only help your teams engage and convert more audiences into customers and brand loyalists. At RebelMouse, we're proud of how we work with brands and our ability to provide the expertise, best practices, and modern technology that help teams become better content marketers. If you're a brand marketer, feel free to reach out to us to learn how RebelMouse can help you be more strategic and effective in your content marketing efforts.

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Target High-Value Users With Affinity Categories

Unlock valuable audience data and shape a new strategy

In today's landscape, quality content isn't enough — it's half the battle. Publishers need to produce shareable content backed by data to experience sustainable growth. At RebelMouse, we have a unique pageview methodology that provides an innovative user experience for every reader without sacrificing revenue and growth opportunities for publishers.

To do this, we track massive amounts of data across our platform through the use of custom-built Google Data Studio dashboards.

Click here to see the kind of growth our clients experience every day.

One of the best ways to discover more about your audience is by taking advantage of Affinity Categories. This feature breaks down audience demographics, including age, location, interests, and more. Affinity Categories are usually used to target audiences for ads, but we also use them to gain insights on what topics a site's visitors are interested in overall.

Normally, each category is listed out separately in Google Analytics. In the example shown above, our data experts split categories into separate levels to reveal different levels of audience depth. For instance, by splitting up the category News & Politics, we can better explore the detailed distribution of users interested in specific types of news:

  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Avid Political News Readers
  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Entertainment News Enthusiasts

From an editorial standpoint, this is useful because it allows publishers to determine and target varying levels of high-value users, improving the efficacy of a new content strategy or ad campaign.

If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, email support@rebelmouse.com to get a breakdown of your audience's Affinity Categories. If you aren't powered by RebelMouse yet, request a proposal today and start receiving the data you need to grow loyal followers at scale.

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