Green Content Syndication: Part I - "Deconstructing" Websites

Green Content Syndication: Part I - "Deconstructing" Websites

Traditionally,publishers have viewed websites as content destinations, challengingmarketers to drive traffic to specific websites in order to engageconsumers with relevant content.

Today, the model has changed.Increasingly, publishers are uncoupling online content from its hostsite; marketers are learning to syndicate this content online orencouraging others to do so virally. Jupiter Research has defined this trend as "website deconstruction".

Moreover, emerging andestablished content platforms, including news aggregators, videosharing and social bookmarking sites, enable content to exist on itsown in the online world and allow users to have greater control overits distribution.

Today, a two-step process has emerged for marketers to facilitate content distribution:

Active distribution:Publishers need to first distribute content to multiple users via RSSfeeds to readers, widgets, personalized home pages, news aggregatorsand even mobile devices. A broad list of readers and aggregators can be found here.

Downloadable and Customizable Widget

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Publishers can also syndicatecontent to users by seeding bloggers or by distributing assets tothird-party websites through platforms such as Blogburst, Voxant and Magnify. Each one has a different distribution mechanism. Blogburst facilitates distribution of blog content through 200 established news channels such as Reuters and FoxNews, for example.

Marketing Green Blog Posting on FoxBusiness.com via BlogBurst

 

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 Voxant, in contrast,syndicates news from mainstream sources to third-party websites;Magnify distributes video. Magnify provides a widget that can be easilycustomized (based on content preferences) and downloaded ontothird-party sites. Publishers can make their content available for distribution simply by creating a channel on Magnify to do so. Currently, Magnify offers 119 channels of content relating to "Nature and Environment".

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Passive or viral distribution:In addition to actively pushing content out to a variety of sources,marketers need to ensure they position their content to be furtherdistributed by consumers.Today, users increasingly share and recommendcontent to their peers. By doing so, individuals not onlyshare content with other users, but they empower these users to makerecommendations to friends and contacts in their networks. Formarketers, such a network effect can have an exponential impact indriving reach; it also costs marketers virtually nothing to achieve.

Examples of users facilitating passive content distribution include sending viral emails, posting video content on YouTube and veoh, bookmarking an article on Digg and del.cio.us or linking to personal pages within MySpace.

 

While all general interestsites host content related to the environment, there are many websitesthat focus exclusively on the green space. Examples include video sharing sites ecolive.tv, emPivot, Green.tv, GreenEnergyTV, RiverWired and URTH.tv; bookmarking sites ecoblogs, Hugg and hunuh; and a multitude of social networking sites including Care2 and Zaadz.(See also Marketing Green's "Green Marketing on Social Networks" and "Sharing Green Videos Online" postings).

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In a conversation with Marketing Green earlier this week, Shmuel Benhamou, a founder of the recently launched ecolive.tv,makes the case for green vertical sites: "Videos are one of the mostefficient and interesting ways to spread the 'green' message throughoutthe world. Yet, today, it is very hard to find goodgreen videos on YouTube and others user generated content sites.Ecolive.tv wants to promote green videos to a targeted audience."

Notably, syndication blurs the lines between publisher and user, as everyone has the chance to distribute content. Moreover, it also blurs the distinction between content, either professionally or user-generated, and advertising. Increasingly, content serves as advertising and advertising is enjoyed as content.

One great example of advertising distributed as content in the green space is a commercial for a European wind energy company, Epuron, syndicated on YouTube.

 

 

Marketers:Think differently about your digital strategy. Uncouple content fromspecific websites and distribute directly to users or throughintermediary sites. Encourage consumers to share content with theirpeers and across social networks. If done right, syndication can act asa digital channel accelerator by driving reach and generating impactfar beyond the cost required to facilitate it. It is a must for most marketers today. You scarcely can afford not to.