The recent news of Google real-time search inspired me to share my thoughts on content and how we share information on the Internet. For those of you not up to speed, Google real-time search provides a subset of real-time search results within the standard results for popular keywords searches. Google real-time search includes Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, identi.ca and Jaiku.
The fact is Twitter will fade into the dust one day and social media will shift to new and different platforms over time. Instead of sinking all your eggs in one basket, I encourage you to think about a broader content distribution strategy rather than focus on one platform.
To be clear, by content distribution I mean two-way communication. Your message goes out and replies come back. The strategy boils down to what networks you connect with, why you connect with them and how you manage those relationships.
Use RSS to Distribute Content
RSS (most commonly expanded as “Really Simple Syndication”) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.
RSS is nothing new, yet often misunderstood. I’m not claiming to be an expert on the subject, but I will say it’s worth understanding how to publish your RSS feed, either from a blog or from some other source in which you contribute. For starters, I recommend submitting your blog RSS feed to Technorati, MyBloglog, Friendfeed, Google Reader. You might consider these RSS aggregators that can help get more eyes on your content.
On the social media front, submit your blog RSS feed to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, identi.ca, BrightKite, Bebo and others. The point is that not everyone “hangs out” on Twitter and if you are truly trying to reach more people within your target market (aka, internet marketing), you need to have a voice on multiple social media platforms. I’m sure some of you will disagree with this and I welcome your feedback.
Use RSS to Manage the Discussion
On the flip side, RSS is also useful for collecting, monitoring and responding to content posted by others that is either directly or indirectly speaking to your interest, industry or niche. Virtually every website has an RSS feed you can subscribe to today. You can subscribe to RSS feeds for a particular search phrase. You can monitor social media platforms remotely with RSS feeds.
Honestly, there is very little need to physically visit these individual sites anymore, other than to tweak your profile or add new connections. Of, course even those functions are moving off-page as well as new tools pop-up to handle administrative tasks such as this. Beware: some deliver great benefit, while others may cause you to lose control.
For me, Google Reader is the ultimate platform to manage RSS subscriptions and engage with people from multiple websites at once. Sure, I use Tweetdeck for Twitter, but it’s much bigger than than that. From Google Reader I can check updates from people, store items of interest, share content, and reply to people all in one place. It’s really simplied my life.
Build Your Content Distribution Strategy
The beauty of the web is that often there are multiple solutions to the same problem. For me, the best way to map out my strategy was to put pen to paper and start drawing out how information is shared and how my network can be connected to increase reach, efficiency, and overall effectiveness. You could also use presentation software or a mind mapping application such as Bubbl.us.
I suggest you start by exploring Friendfeed, Ping.fm, and Posterous. These tools manage multiple RSS feeds in a centralized manner and can direct inbound and outbound activity from you and your connections. I also recommend you start with a single distribution point for all of your original content – for me, this is my blog.
What’s your content distributions strategy? What’s working for you? What would make it easier?