Subscribe to Our Newsletter

x

The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 1)

The way people have found content on the internet has gone through some very clear phases. Understanding our history is vital to understanding the present and being able to anticipate the available paths of the present into the future.

Should we talk about AOL?


The internet's first phase of consumer addiction started with text only terminal programs like Lynx, the pre-image internet of pure text hyperlinks. People learned to publish HTML files and how hyperlinks worked. It was the first raw layer of the internet that everything else is still built on top of.

As quickly as it developed, attempts were made to help other people find what had been created. Yahoo! became a winner by quickly organizing a very broad taxonomy for roughly "everything," and by giving human editors simple software to choose links for each category as Mosaic emerged (images on web pages!). Yahoo!'s efforts paid off and they became the central rainmaker.

A relatively small attempt at logical taxonomy was put together, and human category editors became the key path to content on the internet. If you didn't know who the category editor was for your space, you found a way to get to know them. Getting key placements in those categories could change a business dramatically.

Yahoo! categories.Source: http://bit.ly/2aR6Zef

As the open web sprawled, Google emerged to organize the world's information. In a very short time, the tiny informational reach of the human category editors was made irrelevant. We learned not only how to search, but an industry developed in the years after to optimize for better distribution in this new world order. The SEO industry became massive as it controlled the new lifeblood of content to its path to an audience.

At Huffington Post, where I was CTO, we built software to help teach writers how that universe worked, and how to make small changes to the way they put stories together to win. They told the same story, but they also learned to think about how humanity at large searched, and then how to become a top three result in that search. Google was the undisputed rainmaker, and companies like HuffPost that figured out SEO learned how to drink under a waterfall. Those who learned to build around the new rules of this landscape won constantly.

The Huffington Post home page, July 2009.From the Wayback Machine: http://bit.ly/2b4d1oF

The new phase changes the landscape completely once again and radically displaces Google. We are well past the beginning of this phase — the new paradigm is now much stronger and more powerful. Facebook has organized the world's information in a way that Google could never have been able to. Facebook has rendered Google's search technology as irrelevant as Google did Yahoo's categories. What was built into the very core of Facebook was essentially an AI agent for each one of us. It was crude ten years ago compared to what it is now, but it worked.

While Facebook's core positioning is social, the data and software they possess contains all the clues for nearly 2 billion people's interests. And every minute it learns more. Google's tech was focused only on the content that was being created. Facebook's tech sees beyond that to the person reading and sharing that story. The vital leap from Like to Reactions seems to be successfully completed, so the complexity and texture of the data becomes even more effective.

The hyperlinked, interests-based profile.From Mashable: http://on.mash.to/2b4dUxm

The shift to mobile has finalized our relationship with search. We expect content to come to us now, and it does. It isn't just our friends that Facebook has learned from — through Pages, Facebook has learned about our interests as well. Oddly enough, it is sort of a return to human category editors — but this time, instead of a few thousand, there are 85 million and growing daily. Winning on social today often takes the type of awareness and relationship building with other humans leading key categories like it did in the Yahoo! era. But it has to be conducted at a scale that can only be possible through technology. As the interest graphs of social networks have established a clear ownership of the path to content for consumers, a new industry is evolving.

It's called Social Media Optimization (SMO), and it goes beyond learning how to publish into networks to understanding how to optimize for distribution on these networks. Facebook's core offering to solve that problem has been very useful tools to pay for reach. But the core product that we all grew to love Facebook for, and is the single pillar of its success, is in the main column, not the ad slots.

That same single column of UX exists, in a way, as massively parallel universes — different content for each of us. The new waterfall is quite a bit bigger than anything we've ever seen before. When a single piece of content starts to find itself showing even in a tiny percent of the waterfall, a new company worth hundreds of millions can bloom from that in a very short time.

Map of Facebook Live broadcasts (Giphy).From Product Hunt: http://bit.ly/2aR8DfF

The role of Social Media Optimization will be to help people understand how to adapt to this new world as it evolves. One of the most significant core landscape shifts to understand in order to be able to optimize at all is the shift to distributed publishing.

The Google era pushed traffic to the open web. The core business metrics always included page views and unique visitors. Every optimization in this website-centric framework was to act as a funnel to the website. The landscape shift leaves those that stick to what they learned in the Google/website era in a very bad position. The reason this change is happening is because people are tired of clicking from that super-fast Facebook native app to a browser app to load a web page. We all flinch before clicking a link now. This is because we've seen what it's like to get content on the app.

The slideshow became the listicle, and then became the readable video. And the readable video has very long legs. It's a slideshow with no clicks needed, and a listicle without the scroll. It's lazy, it moves fast, and I don't need to hear it. And it plays right there without going anywhere. Instant Articles also keep people inside of Facebook where they prefer to be. Snapchat's emergence offers even less hope for the open web. Like Instagram, Snapchat is thriving by rendering links out unnecessary.

Instagram Stories, 2016. From TechCrunch: http://tcrn.ch/2aR9NrS

Distributed publishing is the solution for this new paradigm. It is one of the first steps of Social Media Optimization. It means publishing fully packaged content to every medium possible. Publishing teasers to stories is simply not enough — the entire story has to be consumable without leaving the platform and medium it's published to. This changes even how we think about email, where people again would rather just read more in their native Gmail app than click through to get more out.

So, let's take a look at how this shift affects what we know today. Check out The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 2): What It Means for Websites + Tech.

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

Changing the Face of Tech: The Women of RebelMouse

Keep reading... Show less

You're almost there! Fill out the form below and a Rebel will contact you within one business day.

x

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less