Facebook's long-awaited direct-to-Facebook publishing service was finally announced on Wednesday, giving publisher the ability to directly post their articles to the social networking giant's site. In essence, Facebook Instant Articles are pieces of content that are consumed in their entirety on Facebook's mobile apps, meaning the reader does not have to click through to the publisher's site. At launch, brands like Buzzfeed, NYT, BBC News, The Guardian and National Geographic have access to create and publish these instant articles, but should it be successful, open access could potentially change the way the industry works.
If you weren't already aware, Facebook officially unveiled what it calls "Instant Articles" this past week. This feature gives publishers (currently just beta participants) the ability to fully syndicate entire articles on Facebook. On its surface, this looks like an incredible opportunity for publishers to get their content in front of new audiences. Potentially, this could also turn into a channel for brands' content marketers to infiltrate, too.
After much speculation, Facebook’s Instant Articles are here. Instant Articles gives publishers the opportunity to post their content direct to Facebook, in a move that some are proclaiming as ‘selling their soul’ to the social giant. The concern, given Facebook’s history of changing the ground rules, is that while the initial offering from Facebook on Instant Articles is good, the other shoe will eventually drop once the process has become embedded and publishers are reliant on the new practice.
Every day we see brands entering the world of brand publishing. Having a content marketing strategy is a must for any business, no matter what industry they operate in. Have you ventured in yet? If not, why not? The terminology may be different. How it gets distributed may not be the same – but brand publishing has been around for many years. It used to be called PR.
In February last year, LinkedIn opened its publishing platform: LinkedIn Pulse to the public. It’s now rolled out access to the masses and you can publish your own posts via the LinkedIn platform. Some clients have been self-posting their delicious content via Pulse for a few months now. While they happily post away, we’ve noticed some experiencing declining views, comments and engagement. So has the shine rubbed off LinkedIn Pulse or is there more we can be doing to increase engagement?
The next evolution of Facebook has been uncloaked – earlier this week, reports surfaced indicating that Facebook has been working with some of the world’s largest publishers on deals to have them post content directly to Facebook, in conjunction with material published in their own publications. This would mean users would no longer have to click on a link to read the latest news story, keeping them on-platform longer, and enabling Facebook to capitalise on that attention through ads.
What can tablets do for brands? They can allow them to engage with their audiences in ways never thought possible. All they need is the help of publishers. There are some great examples of publishers doing this already, but this needs to improve scale.
While certainly not a new concept, more and more brands are increasingly turning into media machines in today’s marketing landscape. While brands, media and audiences used to have distinct roles in the marketing relationship, in today’s world, these roles overlap, with brands and audiences becoming two of the major media makers. This creates new opportunities for brands to leverage the content they, and their audiences are creating.