What Medium for Publishers and Facebook’s Instant Articles Reveal About the New Way Forward in Digital Publishing
This week, publishing platform Medium announced Medium for Publishers, “designed to give more tools and horsepower to bloggers and publishers across the web.” Similarly, Facebook announced that its publishing capability Instant Articles will be available globally to all publishers on April 12, 2016. Instant Articles will also be supported on Medium.
This Digital Marketing blog takes a look at what these two announcements mean for the new way of publishing content, and how they are advantageous in our current era of social media platform excess and content overload.
Is Cross-Posting Enough?
As a digital (or content) marketer, you are familiar with how to strategically post your content so that it reaches as many people – or potential buyer profiles – as possible. The benefit to cross-posting (for the uninitiated – writing a blog or piece of content on your website and then posting that content to another channel, such as Medium, for example), is that different channels are reservoirs for different audiences of readers.
Posting your blog, or part of your blog with a CTA to read the rest on your website, on a publishing platform such as LinkedIn Pulse might attract a more senior level audience than, say Tumblr, but Tumblr might hold more potential buyers for a specific kind of product. Publishing on one of these platforms is also strategic because of the built-in social network, something that a corporate website – essentially a company pitch – just isn’t capable of.
What the announcements from Medium and Facebook reveal, however, is that cross posting might soon become a thing of the past.
Why Streamlined Platforms Make Sense in the Era of Content Overload and Social Excess
Instant Articles and Medium for Publishers are designed to give publishers all of the tools they need to publish, brand, and market their content on one platform. Unlike social media platforms, these are not snippets of articles or pithy one liners. These are entire pieces of content. This streamlines the process for both publishers and readers alike.
On Instant Articles
Facebook explains Instant Articles as “a separate tool meant to enhance your article once someone shares it on Facebook. It simply means that any time a reader on a mobile device is directed to the article’s URL on Facebook, the link will be displayed as an Instant Article.” The platform contends that Instant Articles are displayed 10x faster than conventional mobile broswers and that publishers will have more control over the content they decide to share and how they want that content to look.
This creates a better UX by cutting down on time used to find and view information, which in turn will lead to increased engagement. Because the user does not have to leave the Facebook platform to read the entire article, following the publisher and sharing the article can be done immediately. This is not currently the case. To read an article shared on a company’s facebook, a user must click on the facebook url, go to the company website, and then reshare the article back to facebook, or go back to facebook to reshare.
In this era of exceptionally small attention spans, a few seconds of time saved can make a huge difference on levels of engagement.
On Medium for Publishers
On Medium, publishing companies such as Electric Literature, The Awl, and Pacific Standard are in the process of moving their entire website to Medium with the new Medium for Publishers capabilities. B2B companies such as Slack HQ had already taken advantage of what the platform offered before the new capabilities. Slack houses all of their blog content exclusively on Medium – not on their website.
Like Facebook, Medium is turning itself into a one-stop shop: a place to publish content that can immediately be interacted with and shared across the platform. As a networked community, liking, commenting, and sharing can all be done within the platform. It’s a much faster, easier, and aesthetically pleasing process than the current process of going back and forth – or not going at all – to a company website.
What Does This Mean for Digital Marketing? More MQLs and SQLs
Medium and Facebook are condensing online presence. By allowing for complete publishing capabilities where users are already inclined to interact with content, they are streamlining user experience. While this might lead to decreased company web traffic, it will lead to more engagement from more satisfied users, who will become more educated about your company in a shorter time period.
That’s what marketing is all about – education. It’s about nurturing and qualifying leads for sales. These new publishing capabilities put forth by Medium and Facebook will take the benefits of cross posting even further by accelerating the education process. In turn, this will help potential leads become qualified at a faster rate, which is a good thing if you’re trying to fill the sales pipeline.