In an omnichannel world, marketers not only need to reach customers on every device and platform, but they also depend on faster means to distribute content through these channels.
Content depends on collaboration that is often largely conceptualized offline.
Even with the finished product stored on the cloud for various team members to access, the distribution strategy continues to change based on audience preferences and new destinations.
Publishers depend on convenient tools in their stack that can streamline both the creation and distribution of content. The content has to be found easily by an audience, delivered through the channels that they frequently use.
Getting picked up on social
Apester, a plug-and-play solution for interactive content, allows creators to build and distribute engaging content over mobile formats.
Their founder and CEO, Moti Cohen, told me that social was the main source of traffic for publishers up until recent years. In his view, social platforms haven’t effectively managed the authenticity of the content shared with their users.
“Still, social networks are great tools for the discovery of new content,” Cohen stated. “Now, publishers have realized they should be developing direct relationships with their readers, while cutting out the middlemen. They do so in a variety of ways, such as investing more in subscription, newsletters or events – but, first and foremost, in repackaging their content to appeal to the visual generations that are used to experiencing content in a highly innovative and appealing way.”
He added, “You must be on social media, there’s no question about that. The only question as brand or publisher is how much you invest in it, and how you maintain relationships with readers. Our publisher customers use our platform to enhance their properties: homepages, article pages, landing pages. But, we also allow them to export some of the content to social media to attract new audiences.”
Last year, for the second year in a row, Apester powered TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” which included polling readers, and integrating the content into a shareable vertical story on social. The effort was also mobile-optimized.
Solving for distribution
The rise of digital publishing platform Issuu can’t be separated from the changing needs of publishers, and how the digital transformation of content production and publishing continues to spread.
Wireless devices were supposed to make reading more convenient and accessible, but they never promised to make things simpler for publishers. New devices and software create an ever more complicated array of formats that content needs to fit, otherwise the content creators risk losing their audience.
Founded in 2006, Issuu has amassed a client roster of global brands and independent content creators who use the platform to “create once, share everywhere.”
In June, they announced a new digital suite of solutions, the Issuu Story Cloud. A key integration is with Adobe InDesign. Content creators can format standard magazine and eBook designs and share them on social media.
“Issuu has been bringing together elements, tools and services, to marketers, making content digitally available, in a cleaner suite, and also as part of a story cloud,” said CEO Joe Hyrkin, adding that Issuu has rolled out integrations with other premium products and platforms in the content world, including content cloud and marketing cloud products.
Since InDesign is traditionally a creation tool for desktop publishing, the integration with Story Cloud mobilizes the content over social.
Positioned in the center between creation and distribution – but also content marketing, with analytics and monetization tools – platforms like Issuu become marketplaces. Most recently, the company announced integrations with Dropbox and Google Drive, allowing seamless uploads from those sources.
“These integrations open up the whole ability to create, share and distribute brand-approved assets, and access them from one source of content, because now it…opens up anybody in the organization to be able to create and share stories,” Hyrkin explained.
“There has been a lot of knitting together of the ecosystem,” he stated. “The result is a nimble system that aligns with accelerating content velocity, pumping content into the channels that enable marketers to connect audiences at the right time and in the right place.”
Stories here to stay
According to Hyrkin, prior to Story Cloud, Issuu released a story creation solution and has seen a 200 percent increase in the creation of stories in a little over a year.
Moti Cohen described the story format as “today’s fastest-growing media experience,” and pointed out that it extends beyond social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, to Apester publishing clients like TIME, Variety and Marie Claire.
“Brands and publishers today are looking to grant their audience with a personalized experience, which is more conversational in their nature and provides a sense of familiarity which translates to user retention,” Cohen said. “The rise of the Story format proves that reformatting and repackaging content into digestible, visual, interactive, and personalized story nuggets — or ‘beats’ — works well.“
He added, “A social network-like, non-ephemeral story presents new narratives and opportunities that goes beyond what text and image can achieve. It can also complement an article by presenting a gallery of images, or by displaying a timeline of events that implements a contextual, interactive, and visually appealing viewer experience.”
And not only does the story format make content current for leading social platforms, it also lends itself to personalization. Different combinations of images or pages can be combined for specialized audiences.
“Brands can use the right pieces to communicate to the right person that resonates with them,” said Hyrkin. “I think we’re really seeing this whole explosion around the idea of personal creation and personal delivery.”