Producing useful, original content and attracting organic traffic to your online properties is imperative for your company's long-term survival. So how can your business create the kind of content that people will want to read?
The 21st-century human consumes a lot of data. In 2009, UCSD published a report estimating that an average American consumes 34 gigabytes of data each day in video games, movies, tv, and radio. That was a 350% increase in the amount of data consumed in 1980.
Furthermore, by March 2020, Pandemic-driven lockdown had made people adopt work from home culture, surpassing the figure of 400 gigabytes of data consumption by an average American as reported by WSJ. To put things in perspective, mobile internet was first introduced in 1996, and by 2016, mobile internet users surpassed desktop users.
These figures indicate that as we move forward, the demand for data consumption is increasing. People are consuming almost everything available on the internet, with the majority of this content consumed via mobile apps exclusively. With that said, staying relevant and competitive in this digital generation requires finding new ways to keep content engaging to generate organic traffic.
The big question is 'How to stay ahead in the game?
Let us look at some more facts and survey data. At the end of 2018, Nielsen released its Audience Report, confirming something most people already knew intuitively; consumers are multitasking and using multiple media devices simultaneously. For example, only 12% of the people surveyed did not use a digital device while watching TV.
In March 2020, data indicates that the average American adult spent an average of 3.46 minutes daily on mobile apps, a jump of 1.24 minutes compared to the 2018 survey by Nielsen.
In 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app. YouTube launched a beta version of YouTube Shorts featuring 15-second videos, a feature very similar to TikTok.
63% of people ages 18-34 are watching live-streaming content regularly, and with YouTube's tipping functionality, independent artists like Harry Mack can grow their businesses without signing to a record label.
Consumers are bombarded with choices, and their content quality expectations have gone up exponentially compared to what they were just several years ago. As a result, American adults often engage in two additional media-related activities when reading, watching TV, or listening to the news.
Vanilla blogs are losing their base due to a bland outlook and no longer can produce high-quality content that people will read. As a result, companies like Bumble, Mailchimp, and Microsoft invest in high-quality Content Distribution Platforms (CDPs) to meet the consumer's demand.
CDPs give companies the ability to produce clean, high-end content that people are interested in reading. Below is an example of Courier, a publication Mailchimp recently acquired.
It's easiest to think of a Content Distribution Platform (CDP) as a specialized, publishing-centric Content Management System (CMS). A CMS with a high-performance publishing engine rather than a blogging engine.
The majority of CDPs are custom-built on top of existing CMS platforms such as Drupal and WordPress, so there isn't a standard feature set, and it's essential to shop around and consider your organization's unique needs when looking to upgrade to a CDP. A number of CDPs have grown over the year, offering better flexibility and ease of use than traditional CDPs such as WordPress.
Building a custom solution is the most popular option to have the most control over functionality and presentation. However, development costs, time to market, maintenance costs are three significant downsides.
Unless you have particular business requirements, it's best to pick an existing Content Management System (CMS) and configure it to function as a CDP.
There are hundreds of CMS available to choose from for your business, but few of them stand out. WordPress and Drupal have been quite popular for nearly two decades now. The new ones which stand out are Contentful, DatoCMS, GraphCMS, Sanity, and NetlifyCMS.
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS), first released in 2003. It's written in PHP and powered by a MySQL database.
Originally developed as a blogging platform, it has evolved into a CMS over the years and is now used to power e-commerce stores, membership sites, and learning platforms. As a result, it has gained widespread popularity, and as of May 2021, it powers over 36.4% of the top 10,000 sites on the Internet. As of June 2021, it has a market share of 42%.
There isn't a standardized way to build a CDP on WordPress, and what you get will be determined by spend and the quality of your developers. If your budget allows, we recommend going with a reputable interactive agency, building a custom theme, and dedicating a fair amount of time towards QA once the project is complete.
Spamming the Internet with mediocre content that you wouldn't read is equivalent to shouting at the ocean. It is nothing but an Internet garbage.
Drupal launched in January 2001 as a Web Framework (WF), which can configure to function as a CMS. Under the hood, it runs on Symphony, an open-source PHP framework with unit testing, object-relational mapping, and a templating language.
As of May 2021, it powers 12.8% of the top 10,000 websites on the Internet. As of June 2021, Drupal maintains a 1.4% market share, with usage declining over the past year.
Drupal's powerful taxonomy makes it a good choice for CDPs with interconnected content, such as University websites and Destination Travel Sites. However, the backend is dated, the editing experience is slow, and you're going to have to invest a lot of time and money in custom development to build something that will reflect high quality. Also, don't forget the steep learning curve that comes with Drupal, which can slow down the overall development.
Contentful is a modern headless CMS delivering content as an API. It's a commercial SaaS product with prices ranging from free (for community edition) to thousands of dollars per month. The company launched in 2013, and as of May 2021, Contentful powers 2.3% of the top 10,000 websites on the Internet.
Contentful is a fantastic headless CMS. In fact, our website (storypro.io) runs on it. Modeling content is fast and easy, and development tooling is superb. We use it in combination with Turbo and Stimulus to make the entire site blazing fast.
As for using it as a CDP, it might make sense for a multi-channel content-based business (such as a newspaper) that wants complete control over content modeling and is willing to invest a large number of resources in building out the front-end.
Your team will have to build out everything, including user management, commenting systems, taxonomies, and page rendering logic. Of course, you're also going to have to maintain it.
As far as licensing a CDP, you don't have many options. You could repurpose an existing publishing platform used by news organizations such as Vox's Chorus or Washington Post's Arc.
Chorus licensing costs are negotiated on a per-contract basis and reportedly range from 6 to 7 figures per implementation. Arc licensing fees range from $10,000 to $150,000 per month.
These licensing costs can weigh heavy on startups and small size organizations, especially when they are planning to drive pure organic traffic into their site. Besides these CDPs are designed keeping in view the modern media houses, thus it might not be suitable for specific industry domain or businesses such as research oriented industry or software industry.
We (Story Pro), have also made a CDP, and you're on it right now. It can be launched in under 10 minutes, and be fully set up on your own domain in only a couple of days. Our licensing fees range from $1,250 to $25,000 per month. Thus you don't need to build your platform from scratch and can save a lot on development activities. You can now focus more on content development and distribution.
It might make the most sense for certain businesses to forego investing in a CDP altogether and utilize a social publishing platform such as Medium. You will be able to publish high-quality content without investing significant resources outside of the cost to create the content itself.
The major downside is that their business goals (the platform's growth) may not align with your business goals (the growth of your business). In 2018, Medium removed the publication's ability to host under a custom domain, which prompted the above tweet from a Basecamp Co-Founder and Ruby on Rails inventor David Heinemeier Hansson.
As of September 2020, custom domain support is back, but it's essential to consider the past when forecasting the future.
You are always competing for the attention of your visitors and it's a jungle out there. You're competing with social media networks, major news organizations, Medium articles, YouTube channels, and Spotify podcasts.
To succeed, you have to create content that is both interesting and visually satisfying. Spamming the Internet with mediocre content that you wouldn't read is equivalent to shouting at the ocean. Thus you are creating internet garbage and filling the web space with useless content. Instead, you're better off spending more of your marketing budget on buying ads.
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