It’s no secret that Facebook is more of a place to share content than create it. With limits on word count and customization, writing an article on Facebook is a hassle. Similarly, self-serve and hosted blog platforms like WordPress prove to be great for creating content, with varying degrees of customization, but attracting an audience or even installing the site often takes expert knowledge. In both scenarios, the content isn’t as much the issue as its distribution.
This conundrum is an ever-present scenario in the eyes of digital content creators. While there are tools and platforms in place to assist with content creation, most won’t help content creators find an audience nor facilitate meaningful relationships with end-users. Let’s take a look at the thriving platforms that are able to attract publishers and content creators whose works elicit emotions that inspire a reader base to share and promote their content.
In terms of social content platforms, Tumblr reigns supreme. It grew from under 170,000 unique monthly visitors in 2007 to over 38M by early 2012, according to D. Steven White. Yahoo!, who acquired the company in early 2013, claims that Tumblr’s rapidly growing mobile base is often unaccounted for, changing the figure of roughly 47.5M monthly visitors to well over 70M.
Why It Works: Tumblr succeeded by introducing its viral repost feature, which allowed users to share funny content on their blog or search through various blogs in a Facebook style newsfeed to curate content relevant to their interests.
How It Works: Tumblr’s best asset is as a complimentary blog to a brand or content marketer, showcasing content that is complimentary to a brand’s interests and inspiration. A great example is the White House, which joined Tumblr to reach a young audience by showcasing beautiful images of America and shedding light on how new policies impact the US.
There was a point where Facebook and Twitter sparked rumors of “Blogging is Dead.” These social media sites showed the world that personal micro-content is here to stay. However, blogging only became more popular as Facebook and Twitter evolved from platforms where users just hang out to platforms where users hang out and share interesting content they create. Content creators had to resort to other mediums to publish, but Facebook sought to change everything with Notes. Notes was clearly a feature implemented after being rebuffed by Yahoo in the acquisition of Tumblr, but Notes has been pushed mainly to obscurity by the new timeline redesign. Still, there is no news of Facebook giving up on the platform and the social giant has over 1.23 billion users.
Why It Works: Facebook Notes was a response to long form publishing platforms that were eating Facebook’s social share like Tumblr and Blogspot. It works simply by being on the world’s largest social platform.
How It Works: Facebook is still the world’s largest social platform and will be for the foreseeable future. Notes can be shared with friends or posted to a timeline, similar to status update, allowing anyone to join the discussion about the content.
Posthaven is another platform that grew out of the ashes of Posterous, the incredibly fast microblogging platform that was acquired by Twitter. PostHaven is young and growing rapidly, and not ashamed to say they will be around much longer than their predecessor. Simple site designs place a strong emphasis on engaging with the content over flashy advertising or news feeds. PostHaven requires users to pay $5 per month for continued usage, but guarantees that price won’t increase ever. The user fees provides a stable source of funding that helps the platform to provide new updates, new functionality and other improvements
Where It Works: The Posterous community, which was very large (over 30M) and included many tech enthusiasts should be in support of this platform as popularity rises.
How It Works: Too soon to tell, although adoption is growing.
Another relative newcomer to the blogging world, Olanola mixes social, content customizability, and viewership. This new social content platform allows users to create their own custom websites and begin to immediately engage with a built-in audience through embedded tools and functionality. Olanola features a popularity algorithm that surfaces the most relevant content, based on what the reader is most likely to find interesting and engaging, their preferred verticals/interests, viewing history and content they create on the platform.
Where It Works: As a secondary platform for a brand or content marketer, Olanola allows users to RSS content into the platform to create a microsite or community that engages with their content on the platform.
How It Works: It’s too early to tell, but Olanola is featuring a Viral Blogging Contest to introduce users to the platform at http://www.olanolacontest.com. Create viral content for a chance to win a free iPad.