Something has changed in the social media world but it’s hard to put your finger on it.
For me it’s a nagging feeling that the foundation of blog marketing is shifting right under our feet.
It seems that promoting blogs with Twitter, Facebook and clever email marketing isn’t good enough. In the distance I can hear the stampede of new options that threaten to leave professional bloggers on the sidelines unless we get a handle on it right now.
Let’s take a moment to see what we’re dealing with –
Pinterest Mania Offers a Clue
As a dot-com bubble refugee I’ve earned my right to be a digital cynic. My initial reaction to most new platforms is an irritated sight. However, Pinterest seduced me from the beginning. I couldn’t understand why until I realized that Pinterest is a new type of social network, a Content Hub.
As a Content Hub, Pinterest attracts a wide audience who alleviates their boredom by flipping through other people’s content. The postcard like pin-boards makes the activity enjoyable and efficient.
A Content Hub has a few basic characteristics:
Unique User-Generated Content:
Content hub owners don’t create content, they entice you to create it. All they do is offer a gallery to show off your creations.
Efficient Sharing Tools:
Next, the Content Hub makes it easy as rain to share your content finds with other community members. Taking a page from Facebook’s play book, they brand their sharing tools with irresistible call-to-action buttons like Repin or Tumble.
Semi-Closed Garden with a Captive Audience:
The best Content Hubs entice and discreetly trap you in their semi-closed garden. Your registration is the key to a personalized experience. Beautiful imagery, layouts, and attention to UI detail wraps you in an environment you hate to leave.
Pinterest has all of these characteristics. Now the astute observer would say… “So does Facebook, right?” Yes. But Content Hubs are different in an important way –
HBO Would Be Proud
Think of Facebook as the cable company and Pinterest as HBO. Facebook and Twitter for that matter are social utilities. They make it easy to connect with people of like-minded interests. However they don’t encourage you to make content. You can tweet, update, and upload photos and video but your “street cred” comes from being available not being a creator.
Pinterest, Slideshare, YouTube, iTunes, and Scribd work like HBO. Content is king and content creators get the attention. Uploading a viral video can transform a teen into Justin Bieber. Elegantly designed woodworking plans can lift a stay-at-home mom to the national stage. Simply showing up on a Content Hub means nothing, you need to design, develop, package, and ship.
Good News for Bloggers
In a few months, some chucklehead will step back, recognize the power of Content Hubs, and declare that Blogging is dead.
You and I know better.
Up until now, our best work was trapped on our blog – not any longer. In fact, we’ll have more opportunities to package our blog content and distribute it to vibrant Content Hubs. In turn, these hubs will route curious readers back to our blogs. I suspect that this will become the predominant way new blogs will be found and lifted to superstar status:
Here’s what you need to do:
Package your blog posts in compelling imagery. Photos have always been important but Pinterest (and Instagram) are making them essential. I’ve started looking for photos ahead of time and noting the link on my editorial calendar. This way I won’t be tempted to grab a pedantic stock photo at the last minute.
Slideshare is a secret weapon for clever B2B bloggers. Take your best posts, create a compelling slideshow, give it a great title, and upload it to Slideshare. This Content Hub has an incredibly astute professional audience that are “wired to act.”
Here’s a great example of the White House using SlideShare as a Content hub:
Yes, iTunes. ViperChill, and Derek Halpern have inspired me to take a closer look at Podcasts. You know what? iTunes is a fantastic Content Hub with passionate users interested in just about everything. Simply recording your blog posts and uploading them as podcasts is an easy way to tap into this community.
Scribd doesn’t show up on many people’s radar, but it is a gem. Scribd aggregates documents like Slideshare aggregates slide presentations. This is a great Content Hub for packaging and distributing your special reports, popular blog posts (repackaged as a special report), and free ebooks. Scribd users will read your content and find their way back to your blog.
It’s a Subtle but Important Shift
Listen, blog marketing and promotion will slowly fade away. It will simply become content marketing. Your blog will become your personal Content Hub. Your job will be to create content for the hub and creatively repackage it for other Content Hub communities.
This shift is so important that I will talk about it in my upcoming webinar. I want to make sure that you are armed with simple strategies you can start using immediately.
For now, take a look at your blog posts. What can you do to transform your posts into gems that will get shared on the Content Hubs? Let me know in the comments below.