An in-depth guide to PaperShare, a multi-channel content publishing platform that also allows marketers to engage content viewers through social login.
What it is:
For many brands, creating interesting and engaging content
is hard enough, but distributing that content across blogs, email lists and
social media channels is even more of a pain point. PaperShare is a
cloud-based publishing service that enables you to send your content across
multiple channels through a single-click, and engage whoever it reaches. The
goal of the service is to minimize the time and effort that goes into placing
content on different platforms, as well as provide real-time, actionable data
on who is consuming and sharing the content. In a nutshell, it streamlines the
process of using content for customer acquisition. Founder and CEO David
Greschler calls it, “The missing link between content marketing and sales.”
Greschler founded PaperShare along with Doug Brown in 2011.
Previously he was the co-founder of Softricity, a virtualization company acquired by Microsoft in 2006, where Greschler served as director of
virtualization for 5 years. PaperShare closed on a $1.8 million seed
round of funding with Rembrandt Ventures in 2012.
How it works:
publishing: Let’s say you have a piece of content, which could be a blog post, an
infographic, a video or an event announcement. In order to get the maximum
exposure to it, you would have to post it on your blog, your LinkedIn and
Facebook pages, email it to subscribers and tweet the link out to your Twitter
followers. It’s a time consuming, multi-step process for a marketing team, and
cumbersome for the sales team who are depending on the release of new content
to help them sell. Using PaperShare’s service, marketers simply have to upload
the content to the platform, choose which channels they want to publish it to,
and finally click to send it. With that single step, the content gets published
simultaneously to multiple channels. You can also choose alerts to be sent to
the sales team as well as any other department in the company, who can further
amplify the content by sending it out to their own networks.
While single-click content publishing definitely removes a pain point for a lot
of digital marketers, possibly the biggest selling point of PaperShare is its
Actionable Content Analytics service. The analytics dashboard
enables the content creator not just to track who’s consuming the content through social login, but
also how many times it has been viewed and shared across each channel.
Social login: When
a piece of content is ready for distribution, the creator can choose whether it
can be viewed by everyone (public option) or gate it by requiring viewers to
sign in through their social platform of choice, either LinkedIn, Facebook or
Twitter (social login.) Through social login, you can see exactly who is
reading or watching your content as their social media profile shows up in the
analytics dashboard. These profiles can now be directly engaged either through
social media or email, providing direct sales opportunities for the marketer. Greschler
says this is a much more powerful way to engage a prospective lead rather than
using the outdated web form or cold calling. “Current analytics are able to
tell you how many people saw the
content, but not who saw it,” says
Greschler. “We think this is a tremendous way to find out a ton about a
person’s interests, uncover shared connections and expand your reach as a
marketer.” The content can also have a call-to-action such as a newsletter sign
up or social follow button embedded within it to create further engagement.
Content as advertisement: Another distribution channel PaperShare can publish to is
embedded ads. Using the platform, a marketer can now make a pop-up or banner ad
link directly to a piece of content which shows up within the page, rather than
pointing to a different site.
Who is using it?
Data and analytics software company Splunk recently used
PaperShare to distribute a video on how its services can be deployed for
security intelligence. Splunk created the video with the goal of reaching
prospective software buyers and gated it through social login so its sales team
could engage with whoever was viewing it.
Similarly, Intel recently placed a
piece of video content within a VentureBeat article as an advertisement. When
you hover over certain keywords within the article, an ad for an Intel video
pops up, and if clicked, the video starts playing within the existing page.
media agency ZaZa is using PaperShare to push content for all its clients and
cloud analytics company AlignAnalytics utilized the service to distribute all
its PR and marketing materials as part of a successful relaunch.
PaperShare definitely makes managing multi-channel
content distribution easier and its social login is a valuable feature for
engaging those who consume the content. The challenge however, is to make the
content attractive enough so that people don’t mind signing in through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to view it. Social login is an additional step
and for a lot of people, it’s not one they are completely comfortable with.
After all, once someone gets a hold of your social media profile, it’s valuable
personal information, but then again, if you’re uncomfortable with your
personal information being out on the web, you probably shouldn’t be on social media
PaperShare’s VP of business development, Susan Hopp says most
people targeted by the content are industry professionals, who are more
likely to be on social media and comfortable signing in to view an attractive
piece of content. However, it does still limit the number of eyeballs it is
exposed to. If you do choose to make the content public and accessible without
social login, you’ll still get analytics, but they will be anonymous numbers,
which have limited value.
Also currently, the social login and distribution options
only include Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for social media, but to reach a
younger demographic, there could be a demand for the addition of Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest options. Hopp says this is also something the
service is looking to develop.
Greschler says the company will be looking to develop additional integrated services on both ends of PaperShare’s usage. Speaking to CMS Wire, Greschler said,
“PaperShare is a unique part of the customer acquisition process – but it’s not an island. Expect to see use integrate on one end with a number of content marketing creation platforms, and on the other end CRM and marketing automation systems.”