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New Media Companies Are Big Media's Worst Nightmare

The battle of the platforms has brought us to an even playing field.

There's something called the Reddit Bureau of Investigation. It's a subreddit where curious users leverage crowdsourcing to comb through digital clues to solve crimes. In 2013, it was these redditors who tried to find the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. In 2016, it was also rigorous Reddit investigators who tried to find out if Making a Murderer's Steven Avery was in fact guilty.

These Reddit detectives are just your so-called average joes sitting behind computer screens. And while they may have plenty of awful fails in their investigations, they still make national headlines.

Reddit's go-to internet detectives are an illustration of why digital publishing, particularly distributed content across platforms, has given us all an even playing field. It's also why big media companies should be worried.

The Reddit Bureau of Investigation is a social platform that puts users at the forefront.


When digital publishing first became a real thing — as in when we collectively began to agree that it would take over print — legacy publishers had the upper hand thanks to resources that allowed them to make sexy websites and figure things out on their own time. Then newer big media companies, like The Huffington Post, were able to use innovation to set the bar of what publishing would look like in the digital age.

Soon after that, publishers started to lose their content to the platforms. News began to break on Twitter, viral moments would spread through Facebook, and celebrities shared their changing relationship statuses on Instagram. Oh, and people attempted to solve cold cases on Reddit.

This is when true control was taken away from legacy publishers, along with the big media companies who saw themselves as digital revolutionaries — the social experience removed all the old obstacles to getting published. It's why big media companies so vigorously fight so-called content-hostage-perpetrating platforms like Facebook. And it's why they should be trembling in their boots.

Going Viral on a Passion

There's a quadrant of virality we believe in, made of love, hate, belief, and disbelief. It's what makes content shareable. One of those emotions is always tapped when a moment goes viral. Whether it's disbelief in the color of a dress, sadness at the death of a gorilla, or the outrage needed to join together a resistance movement, emotion steers what makes something worth sharing.

Social platforms remove all boundaries from passionate people connecting with their like-minded audiences. Just as Twitter removed the agents and PR reps that once filtered what celebrities and politicians said, the same has happened for the masses. The best part is these passionate people are the new creators and brand innovators.

At RebelMouse, we've helped plenty of these innovators reach viral heights. We helped harness one woman's love of animals to create the now iconic community The Dodo. Our latest property, Axios, is making waves in political circles. Axios was an instant viral hit because it resonates with the passionate disbelief many feel in our current political climate and the chaos surrounding credible news.

We've also launched new media properties like EcoWatch, LoveMeow, and Higher Perspective, which serve the love of environment, felines, and positive thinking, respectively. That passion is met with engagement in the feeds.

Not only are the obstacles that once hindered these brand innovators gone thanks to the ease of social, they now have another tool at their fingertips their legacy and media counterparts should find scary: lean tech.

A Higher Reach with No Hassle

The new era of passionate content creators already knows how to deliver their brand in a message that speaks to their audience on social.

Think of what Airbnb did to Craigslist. They took content that was resonating on a bad interface and made it a beautiful experience. That's what this batch of creative founders are doing with their new media companies — using savvy, lean tech that ditches heavy design for fast + simple delivery.

Bidding adieu to expensive dev teams, designers, and UX teams breaks down even more walls between content and growth. Breaking through these barriers helps grassroots media companies flourish quickly, with little-to-no launch time and often with an instant, huge reach on social feeds.

Screenshot from Fast Company after The Dodo's launch.

Predictive social analytics company NewsWhip found that Facebook Pages with relatable or niche focuses drove higher than average engagements. In February 2017, the top 10 Facebook feeds with the highest engagement overall consisted entirely of new media companies, many of which were born on the feeds. Their websites were a lean afterthought.

From NewsWhip.

The Pages in the graphic above had much higher engagement than mainstream publishers, despite posting far less content. Many of them posted less than 100 pieces of content the entire month.

There's nobody at Pages like The BEER Bible or UNILAD that serves as the star or founder — it's just people using their resources at hand to create something viral and awesome. They could be the same people behind the Reddit Bureau of Investigation for all we know.

It's this potential for explosive reach at any time that legacy and big media companies should take more stock in, and adjust their strategies accordingly. In order to compete, it's crucial to cut expensive dev teams and focus on content creation and distribution.

We recently took this one step further at RebelMouse with our Social UX for Media. We're rethinking the role websites play in the dynamic, inherently social infoscape. We're catching up websites to the feeds. With features like infinite scroll and before-you-know-it's-an-ad unobtrusive sponsored content integration, your site becomes the feed.

RebelMouse's Social UX for Media on Axios.com.

With the birth of our Social UX for Media, instead of asking ourselves, "What's the latest in web design?," we've started asking, "What's the latest on the platforms?" We've tailored our distributed CMS to these platforms to ensure that your content gets the competitive reach it needs.

Because everyone deserves to go viral on a passion. It's now on publishers to brace for impact.

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A Look Inside the Only Creative Agency Powered by Deep Technology

Strategic development of product that supports content distribution, conversion, and loyalty.

RebelMouse is a creative agency fueled by a publishing platform with deep technology. Our expertise is rooted in media and content marketing because there is no other team that understands distributive publishing better than we do. There is also no other CMS on the market today that provides content creators with the tools they need to unlock sustainable growth backed by sticky monetization methods. RebelMouse blends product and strategy together to move the needle where it matters most — organic traffic and user growth, conversion to loyalty, and revenue growth.

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Manage Your Site's Global Settings

Create Your Powerful + Modern Publishing System

At RebelMouse, we use the term "lean tech" quite a bit. Lean tech is the opposite of what many publishers think may save their site in today's landscape: A big-box CMS publishing solution that is often costly to customize and maintain. In actuality, the key to sustainable growth and revenue is a leaner, full-stack tech solution that creates opportunities for growth not just on site, but on search and social, too.

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Let Your Audience Tell Your Brand’s Story

United Airlines' "Her Art Here" Campaign Blends Engagement With Purpose

The digital landscape has reached a turning point. Publishers are trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to create quality content and monetize it now that readers have loosened up their dependency on the major platforms. In the meantime, massive audience hubs like Facebook are trying to recover legitimacy and relevancy with better prioritization of privacy and user experience.

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How to Leverage Annotations in Google Analytics

When looking at your website data in Google Analytics (GA), it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened on a particular day to determine why certain data spikes or dips may have occurred.

For this reason, it's important to keep track of when changes are made to your site. Thankfully, GA allows you to easily do this using annotations. Annotations are short notes you can add to dates within Google Analytics reports.

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Changing the Face of Tech: The Women of RebelMouse

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A Guide to User Permissions on RebelMouse

On our platform, user roles range from base-level contributors all the way up to administrators. These roles are especially important when operating within the confines of our community dashboard, which brings multiple creators together to create and share within one large content hub.

The way each role interacts with others is completely customizable. The workflow is designed to streamline the edit, revision, and publishing process to make sure live content is not only perfect, but always optimized for site, search, and social. The way each team sets up their role structure is typically dependent on the number of writers employed, the amount of content published, and the cadence of posts.

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RebelMouse Ad Integrations: Overview

Since the dawn of digital publishing, exactly how to make money on content has been a rocky road for publishers to navigate. The good news is that thanks to factors like user maturity, advancements in tech, and algorithms that deliver a new level of personalization, monetizing your site is easier than before. In previous years, it seemed like publishers were drowning in the revenue duopoly that is Facebook and Google, with little time to come up for air.

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RebelMouse Pageview Methodology

Throughout the evolution of media on the internet, there's been a constant struggle between design that provides the best monetization of articles and design that offers the best user experience. It's what has spurned the adoption of ad-blockers from the user perspective, and crazy 40-page slideshows on the publisher end.

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NEW: Styled Quotes Available in Entry Editor

At RebelMouse, we're always finding new ways to make dynamic content creation more intuitive, and this includes ensuring every article can easily be broken up into small, snackable pieces of content.

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