Take your content to the people, or make them come to you?


The question of whether to publish blogs or video content on a third-party platform or to keep it on your own website is a hot topic these days. According to a  2014 PEW Research study, half of social network site users have shared news stories, images or videos, and nearly as many (46%) have discussed a news issue or event on social media platforms. Not surprisingly, Facebook was cited as the largest social networking site where people access that content—followed by YouTube, Twitter, and Google+.

It was interesting to hear last month that an online video startup called NowThis News announced a decision to eliminate its website and take its news directly to social media users on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Whether or not the NowThis experiment will be successful, I think it hints at a major shift in the way media outlets, journalists, and bloggers are considering reaching their audiences to monetize content in the future.

Facebook is apparently “in early talks with media outlets” to host video content directly on its platform rather than linking back to a news website. Meanwhile, YouTube has been offering an advertising revenue-share model with third-party content producers for years. As such, many media companies and independent content producers have managed to make money by sharing ad revenue with the online video publishing platform. Perhaps it won’t be long before other social networking platforms follow suit and encourage more bloggers and media publishers to host content beyond their personal or corporate domains.

What does this mean for blogs?

Influential Canadian bloggers Mathew Ingram and Mark Evans both recently covered the topic of whether blogging is dead or has reached a tipping point. This question seems to pop up every now and then. The discussion about whether comments on blogs are dying or rather simply shifting to social media also continues to generate conversation. Of course, the bloggers who are raising these issues already have well-established blogging platforms that attract loyal audiences who continue to post comments and share links back to the blog via social media. That is why “the death of the blog” seems like a moot point for now. But the fact that bloggers continue to ask these questions suggests that everyone is anticipating change—whether it’s through blogging or creating video for social media platforms.

Create your own blog or publish on a third-party platform?

For those who don’t already have an established blog and following, does it make more sense to publish directly to a third-party platform? Many bloggers and thought leaders have begun experimenting with social media publishing platforms such as Medium.com and the LinkedIn Influencer platform in order to increase their reach through an already established audience. But it is still unclear as to the long-term value of publishing content to these platforms rather than creating your own destination for content.

Given the challenges of today’s media landscape, it makes sense that media companies are experimenting with new potential revenue streams. And if you are a startup news organization trying to grow rapidly and reach a vast audience, the NowThis concept could be intriguing. While some bloggers argue in favour of sharing written content on social media platforms (or posting on a personal blog and on Medium or LinkedIn), others are strongly opposed to the idea of giving content away for free. The critics believe that while the platforms might monetize on your posts—you, the blogger, will not. There is however the possibility that platforms such as Medium and LinkedIn will come to offer a revenue share model with bloggers who generate significant page views, in a similar fashion to YouTube or Facebook.

As a business blogger, I think it’s important to consider your long-term game plan. Websites are still very much a necessary destination for businesses to attract, nurture, and convert prospective customers into buyers. If you want to drive leads back to your website, blogs are a useful tool, not only for search engine optimization, but also for sharing your organization’s culture and perspectives with future employees and prospective customers. As such, I am in favour of keeping my content on my personal real estate for now. But like other bloggers who are looking to the future for something big to happen, I am watching closely to see if perhaps a seismic shift towards third-party publishing platforms will occur.

What do you think? Should businesses move their video and blog content over to third-party platforms? Will media websites soon be a thing of the past? Or, is it too early to tell? Please share in the comments section below.

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by

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