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New Media

The Tide Effect: Loyalty Isn't Just for Brands

If you're a media company either trying to emerge or survive in the current content-saturated and attention-limited landscape, you might want to be a little more like Tide. The laundry detergent.

As far as marketing goes, it's historically been really hard for laundry detergent brands to convert customers, and Tide has been killing the game for decades. In fact, there's a 38 percent chance the clothes you are wearing right now were washed with Tide. And while history was on Tide's side (the whole invention of the washing machine really gave them a good boost), there's still a lot to be said about Tide today. It's dominated a quarter of the market since 2013.

It's an extreme case of brand loyalty. And it's also what media companies should be striving for, too.

From Click Americana.

Branding has made quite a lot of evolutionary growth over the past few years. What was once delivered through newspapers and television is, of course, now distributed through social. That means it's an even playing field, where everyone has a shot at the top spot. (Still, Tide has over 4 million Facebook fans.)

So now that any passion, hobby, or ambitious content creator can go viral at any moment, it's important to nurture what happens after that viral hit. Media companies should treat their followers as customers, and value them as such. Because it's that Tide-like loyalty that carries through every platform shift and algorithm change.

Repeat Viral Reach

There are so many tombstones in the viral moments graveyard. You remember "Damn, Daniel!", but not where you first saw it. You also can't remember which live stream you watched April the Giraffe finally give birth on. If you're reading this several months after publish, none of this will even make any sense.

It's kind of crazy to think that now it's relatively easy to have a viral moment, but it's keeping your name around that's the hard part.

Viral moments are essential because they open the door to more loyal readers. An excellent example of both the perfect viral moment paired with long-lasting audience building is PAPERMag.com (powered by RebelMouse). Even though it was awhile ago, you probably still remember when they broke the internet with their Kim Kardashian cover.

It was a viral moment that brought huge new eyes to their brand, and they've since done more highly successful #BreaktheInternet campaigns. PAPERMag.com also has an even bigger reputation for their covers, even within their digital audience. Covers featuring Miley Cyrus, Blac Chyna, and Kylie Jenner have also brought the publisher repeat viral reach.

PAPERMag rules repeat viral reach.

Think of that repeat-viral-reach life — publishers like The Dodo, The Washington Post, and BuzzFeed see it all the time. They've got Tide-like loyalty and aren't even selling anything tangible. It's tough to grasp how to build a loyal audience this way because most viral moments aren't forced and happen organically. But you have to make sure your content is set up for viral success.

The Strategy

The recipe for loyal audience building is complicated, but it can be broken down into three very important ingredients:

Content: No surprise here — you're going to need content to achieve that viral reach and keep people coming back. 62% of millennials believe online content builds loyalty for a brand.

If you're a brand and think content marketing isn't for you, you're behind. If you're a media company and aren't thinking of yourself as a brand, you're losing too. Everyone needs content, and that content needs to keep your readers (or buyers) returning for more. We've got some pretty strong feelings about what drives shareable content.

ProTip: Content doesn't mean just your own stuff. Practice the law of reciprocity and share content from others every day. The algorithm gods will thank you for that, too.

Experience: This is the most important ingredient. Your content has to be able to travel across platforms seamlessly. That means when you have a piece of content with the potential to go viral, not only has it got to traverse all relevant social channels quickly, but it also has to do it via mediums like Google AMP + Apple News. It has to be visible.

Not just visible, but easy, too. This means no intrusive ads, slow load times, or irritating imagery and messaging — even if these things are threaded into what is otherwise great content, it's disastrous.

Think of each publishing platform as a gateway to awareness for return traffic to your site. Each time a viral moment surfaces, that content will bring new awareness to your brand. It's at that point when your new followers have a chance to learn more about who you are. If they've made it to your site, then they should be met with the same ease as the social experience. Your content should be binge-worthy. This journey from a viral moment to site visit is essential and has to be repeated to add layers to your following.

Reputation: This part should come more naturally. If you've mastered both content + delivering that content through a quality experience, then you've established storytelling, relatability, and consistency.

A Pew Research Center report from February found that 56% of readers are able to recall the source of content they've found online. And the more links people click, the more likely they are to remember the source. Which means they're more likely to visit again.

It's a competitive landscape to build a reputation, and it starts with that one viral moment. That's your chance to make a connection, and to build on that moment is similar to climbing a steep hill. The viral moment should be a good experience that piques a user's interest, so they eventually know you by name, and know exactly what to look out for when you pop up in their feeds. That's when you've reached loyalty with your audience.

It's not an easy hill to climb, but the big payoff justifies the long game. Just look at Tide.

New Media

Love, Hate, Belief, Disbelief: What Drives Shareable Content?

Curating viral content isn't easy. If it was, we'd all be doing it and there would be an infiltration of (even more) salt baes and polarizing political GIFs.

But there's a reason why certain types of content get the viral engagement every publisher craves. And it's not as simple as post + pray. Meaning you can't just post something and hope to the social gods you go viral. There's more data behind it. First, you have to understand what makes content viral. Then, how it spreads.

And at its core, it boils down to emotions.

Take a minute to think about the type of content that makes you want to click that "Share" button. You're definitely feeling something — maybe it's just amusement, maybe you're inspired, or maybe it's even rage. But it's enough emotion to make you want to share it with your own followers, so they too can experience what you have. That domino effect yields those crazy-high engagement numbers.

The emotions that perpetuate this notion to share lie somewhere on the quadrant of virality, where love/hate + belief/disbelief are strong enough to trigger some sort of actionable measure. It may seem like a simple idea, but mastering this is what truly takes your content from cute to sexy, and from shared to virally shared. It's what prompts new audiences to engage and become obsessed with your brand.

Quadrant of virality.

There's a reason why companies like BuzzFeed + UNILAD get thousands of shares on Facebook. It's not because they're guessing. They've tapped into our emotions, even if it's just pure distraction. Each of BuzzFeed's properties caters to a specific niche audience who's addicted to the content they post.

Even BuzzFeed's home page is categorized into "lol," "wtf," "cute," and "omg" — essentially slang terms for love, hate, belief, and disbelief. Here's a look at how each one of those emotions spread on social.

Love

Negative news seems to dominate the feeds (thanks, 2016). After all, it's naturally more attention-grabbing and fear-invoking — the same reason why your local news station's daily lineup leans more toward the grim side of things. It's easy to get caught up in the negative news phenomenon, but too much negativity can turn off your followers. Which is why there's been a recent pull toward positive storytelling, and an audience that's asking for it.

Virality + social sharing have a close relationship with positivity. Research presented by Fractl revealed love, happiness, and admiration as the top emotions that generate higher social shares.

Fractl's study shows positive emotions drive social shares.

RebelMouse property HooplaHa has adopted this appetite for positive, solution-focused news. They deliver only uplifting content, calling themselves the "antidote to bad news." So far it has granted them stellar engagement + a loyal following. The video below of Mark "The Dog Guy" Imhof garnered over 2K likes, 1K shares, and hundreds of comments. (When in doubt, go with dog content.)

Hate

We've all seen what happens when strong negative emotions take a front seat. If you haven't heard, the Pepsi ad flub of 2017 is causing quite the viral outbreak all over social. A negative reception to the ad has prompted those not so much in support to share, retweet, and create their own GIFs, and the backlash only continues to grow. This might not be a case of "any press is good press," but it's certainly viral media we can't stop looking at. (See also: The White House Press Secretary using the phrase "Holocaust Centers.")

Backlash to Pepsi's recent ad caused a viral social frenzy.Source: Twitter

Disbelief

Leave it to political news to best tug at our emotions of belief/disbelief. RebelMouse's viral property Axios has changed the way we digest political news. Their mission is to provide a clear, unbiased perspective which they deliver through snackable microposts. Each of these microposts taps into some sort of emotion of disbelief, key to grabbing the attention of their readers and leading to a substantial decrease in bounce rate and an increase in page views.

Belief

Belief can be just as powerful of a driving factor, as seen in the recent addition of the "Fearless Girl" statue on Wall Street. The statue was part of a greater push to pressure companies to add more women to their board in honor of International Women's Day. It gained widespread attention overnight, where pics of women + young girls emulating the statue went viral. It started trending on Facebook, appeared all over Instagram and Twitter, and even got powerful influencers, like Chelsea Clinton, to weigh in. It restored hope + belief in change at a time when many believe women's rights are continually compromised.

"Sometimes, a symbol helps us become whole, and I think the 'Fearless Girl' is having that same effect. She is inspiring everyone at a moment when we need inspiration."Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York

How Does Content Spread?

Tapping into the emotions of your audience is only half the battle. It's not enough to publish great content. One of our RebelMouse mantras is, "If you put out great content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist?" That's why it's crucial to understand how content spreads. First comes feelings, then comes the data and tech to properly support its growth.

56% of all online adults use more than one of the five most popular social media sites regularly. Which means people live in various places across the social ecosystem. That's why your content should not only live on the platforms, but also easily be able to cross platforms as well.

Resonate with the right audience for serious engagement goals.

The ability to cross platforms with ease requires a greater understanding of the current state of distributed publishing — and how to reach your maximum audience without sacrificing everything to social. Axios founder Jim VandeHei recently attributed much of the new media company's success to a revamped monetization of page views, because the old school method cheapened user experience:

Laws of supply and demand kicked in, and everyone had tons of inventory, and you're throwing it through these third parties, that are giving you a penny an ad, and it doesn't really add up unless you get more and more pageviews. So then you want to do more. the next thing you know, you have something that has no value to the consumer, and so, of not much value as a brand." — Jim VandeHei

Axios has straddled the challenge of monetization + user experience with their provoking and relevant content, but also with the help of RebelMouse's Social UX feature. We've blended the home page experience with social feeds to help platforms + media companies live in harmony.

Because harmony means your followers are happy. Happy enough to drive your engagement.

New Media

New Media Companies Are Big Media's Worst Nightmare

The battle of the platforms has brought us to an even playing field.

There's something called the Reddit Bureau of Investigation. It's a subreddit where curious users leverage crowdsourcing to comb through digital clues to solve crimes. In 2013, it was these redditors who tried to find the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. In 2016, it was also rigorous Reddit investigators who tried to find out if Making a Murderer's Steven Avery was in fact guilty.

These Reddit detectives are just your so-called average joes sitting behind computer screens. And while they may have plenty of awful fails in their investigations, they still make national headlines.

Reddit's go-to internet detectives are an illustration of why digital publishing, particularly distributed content across platforms, has given us all an even playing field. It's also why big media companies should be worried.

The Reddit Bureau of Investigation is a social platform that puts users at the forefront.

When digital publishing first became a real thing — as in when we collectively began to agree that it would take over print — legacy publishers had the upper hand thanks to resources that allowed them to make sexy websites and figure things out on their own time. Then newer big media companies, like The Huffington Post, were able to use innovation to set the bar of what publishing would look like in the digital age.

Soon after that, publishers started to lose their content to the platforms. News began to break on Twitter, viral moments would spread through Facebook, and celebrities shared their changing relationship statuses on Instagram. Oh, and people attempted to solve cold cases on Reddit.

This is when true control was taken away from legacy publishers, along with the big media companies who saw themselves as digital revolutionaries — the social experience removed all the old obstacles to getting published. It's why big media companies so vigorously fight so-called content-hostage-perpetrating platforms like Facebook. And it's why they should be trembling in their boots.

Going Viral on a Passion

There's a quadrant of virality we believe in, made of love, hate, belief, and disbelief. It's what makes content shareable. One of those emotions is always tapped when a moment goes viral. Whether it's disbelief in the color of a dress, sadness at the death of a gorilla, or the outrage needed to join together a resistance movement, emotion steers what makes something worth sharing.

Social platforms remove all boundaries from passionate people connecting with their like-minded audiences. Just as Twitter removed the agents and PR reps that once filtered what celebrities and politicians said, the same has happened for the masses. The best part is these passionate people are the new creators and brand innovators.

At RebelMouse, we've helped plenty of these innovators reach viral heights. We helped harness one woman's love of animals to create the now iconic community The Dodo. Our latest property, Axios, is making waves in political circles. Axios was an instant viral hit because it resonates with the passionate disbelief many feel in our current political climate and the chaos surrounding credible news.

We've also launched new media properties like EcoWatch, LoveMeow, and Higher Perspective, which serve the love of environment, felines, and positive thinking, respectively. That passion is met with engagement in the feeds.

Not only are the obstacles that once hindered these brand innovators gone thanks to the ease of social, they now have another tool at their fingertips their legacy and media counterparts should find scary: lean tech.

A Higher Reach with No Hassle

The new era of passionate content creators already knows how to deliver their brand in a message that speaks to their audience on social.

Think of what Airbnb did to Craigslist. They took content that was resonating on a bad interface and made it a beautiful experience. That's what this batch of creative founders are doing with their new media companies — using savvy, lean tech that ditches heavy design for fast + simple delivery.

Bidding adieu to expensive dev teams, designers, and UX teams breaks down even more walls between content and growth. Breaking through these barriers helps grassroots media companies flourish quickly, with little-to-no launch time and often with an instant, huge reach on social feeds.

Screenshot from Fast Company after The Dodo's launch.

Predictive social analytics company NewsWhip found that Facebook Pages with relatable or niche focuses drove higher than average engagements. In February 2017, the top 10 Facebook feeds with the highest engagement overall consisted entirely of new media companies, many of which were born on the feeds. Their websites were a lean afterthought.

From NewsWhip.

The Pages in the graphic above had much higher engagement than mainstream publishers, despite posting far less content. Many of them posted less than 100 pieces of content the entire month.

There's nobody at Pages like The BEER Bible or UNILAD that serves as the star or founder — it's just people using their resources at hand to create something viral and awesome. They could be the same people behind the Reddit Bureau of Investigation for all we know.

It's this potential for explosive reach at any time that legacy and big media companies should take more stock in, and adjust their strategies accordingly. In order to compete, it's crucial to cut expensive dev teams and focus on content creation and distribution.

We recently took this one step further at RebelMouse with our Social UX for Media. We're rethinking the role websites play in the dynamic, inherently social infoscape. We're catching up websites to the feeds. With features like infinite scroll and before-you-know-it's-an-ad unobtrusive sponsored content integration, your site becomes the feed.

RebelMouse's Social UX for Media on Axios.com.

With the birth of our Social UX for Media, instead of asking ourselves, "What's the latest in web design?," we've started asking, "What's the latest on the platforms?" We've tailored our distributed CMS to these platforms to ensure that your content gets the competitive reach it needs.

Because everyone deserves to go viral on a passion. It's now on publishers to brace for impact.

Product Updates

Introducing Social UX for Media

RebelMouse doesn't just build ordinary websites. We're rethinking the role that websites play in today's dynamic infoscape. The feed has dominated social media for years now, but the website has never caught up. Now, RebelMouse gives you the toolset to not only distribute your content across platforms, but also ensure that users can easily move across platforms too. We call it Social UX for Media, and it's an absolute game changer.

social-ux.jpg

The Infinite Scroller

The core of our Social UX for Media is the concept that a feed should be its foundation. Much like a user would scroll through their feed on Facebook, they should be able to feel immediately comfortable in consuming content on your site in the same way. Rebels Axios.com and Ecowatch.com are already benefiting from this new layout with profound impacts on stats like bounce rate, pages per session, social shares, and time spent on site.

To display editorial content in a feed, we use a few techniques to make it a seamless experience for your readers:

1. Endless Stories

Let your users binge your content. By serving up an endless feed of stories, they're more likely to read more than just the article they originally came for.

2. In-Feed Article Expansion

Expand/Collapse stories to bring the jump into the feed. Readers can consume an entire story without leaving the page.

3. Asynchronous Page Views

Take full advantage of binge reading with our SEO-friendly Asynchronous Page View functionality. This function loads post URLs as the reader scrolls from story to story without ever clicking through to an individual post.

4. Topic-Specific Sub Feeds

Further encourage post binging by linking to topic-specific sub feeds in each post. Providing a pathway for similar content will ensure that a user will consume the maximum amount of content per visit.

5. In-Feed Article Sharing

Share stories directly from the feed. Activate your readership to engage directly with your content to maximize reach.

6. Smart Newsletters

Build loyalty and return traffic using smart newsletters to add personalization to your site with little effort. Built right into your normal workflow, we provide you with the tools necessary to get the right content to the right sub-audience with a simple, fast opt-in process for readers.

7. Frictionless Monetization

The RebelMouse platform supports core monetization approaches that integrate into and enhance your site's user experience. Naturally integrate native ads and sponsored posts into your post feed to provide a smooth, unobtrusive ad experience for your readers.

Interested in learning more? Contact us, request a demo, or start your site today.

Product Updates

Launching New Media Properties with RebelMouse

At RebelMouse we're obsessed with setting up content for success through the power of distributed publishing. We've mastered a lean tech model that lets you launch socially-powered websites that can be launched in hours, not weeks.

Still, RebelMouse is much more than just a software vendor and technology platform. The company has deep experience building and launching successful media properties that gain real traction and have a chance to become a core part of pop culture.

A significant part of the value add we provide is as a "Sherpa" to New Media — we guide you on how to build them, how to launch them, and how to grow them. Using the strengths of our global team, we can serve as a creative agency for your site launch — working with your team on product, design, content strategy + social marketing. And we do that through a refined process that sets you up from the beginning to be successful in your launch and growth phases. Let's take a step-by-step look at our battle-tested launch process, so you can see what you can expect from your partnership with RebelMouse.

getting-to-launch.png





1. Conduct a Contagious Media Brainstorm

What will make your media property contagious is two-fold: understanding virality and understanding how content spreads. A quadrant of contrasting emotions, Belief/Disbelief + Love/Hate, may seem like simple ideas, but their impressive strength is what prompts new audiences to share, engage + become obsessed with your brand.

If you study successful media properties, there is always a clear mission — and that mission is fueled by the emotional quadrant of virality. For example RebelMouse's viral property Axios' mission is to provide clear, unbiased political news in efficient + snackable microposts. Their mission plays on the wide spectrum of emotion that politics provokes, most powerfully to belief/disbelief. In turn, RebelMouse powers properties like HooplaHa, which only publishes positive news, playing sharply to the love side of the virality quadrant. It's this kind of emotionally-provoking content that prompts every page view, comment, or click of the "share" button.

After understanding what makes viral content, it's crucial to understand how that content spreads. High page views are born on social and in the feeds. Putting a strategy in place so content is published everywhere (across all social platforms, but also outlets like Google AMP + Apple News) will cast a wide net for every story, building not only your audience but also a reputation of quality user experience.

In preparation for launch of your new media property, we'll use a one-hour whiteboard session to identify what makes your property contagious through positive constructive ideation. We'll identify your content's mission, where it will likely fall on the quadrant, and the best strategy to ensure it reaches the biggest audience possible with every publish.

2. Choose the Best Content Ideas for Your Brand

After Step 1 of this process, we'll be left with a handful of valid, relevant content ideas around which we can build your brand. Not all of them are going to make it off of the cutting room floor. Only the strongest should survive. To do that, we start off on Step 2 of the process, which is to put the ideas through their paces.

By relentlessly modeling the phases of the idea, we can determine how it will work on a day-to-day basis. Then, with a healthy amount of devil's advocacy, we leak test the idea to see how it might not work. This is a critical exercise in the process which will help predict future problems, help solve them ahead of time, and trim the ideas down to the one that will have the best chance at lasting success. Once we've reached that singular champion idea, it's time to build.

3. Delegate a Well-Rounded Team

While the product is built to match the brainstorm, selecting the key members on your team, RebelMouse's team, and any participating content agencies or consulting sources is the next step.

RebelMouse will identify key traits for success in the roles needed to build the idea. While everyone will have specific duties and strengths, it's important to blur the lines of expectations throughout the collective team. It's about making sure writers can also work as community managers, product can double as content strategists, etc. When everyone can provide input on every corner of the project, the more complete the vision will be.

Once the teams are finalized, there will be a training program to sync the results of the contagious media brainstorm with where the media space is at the time of launch. Once those two concepts are reconciled, it's time to determine together how the property will break through the noise. It's time for content.

4. Refine Content Selection + Tone

Your brand's slogan should also be your editorial thesis that powers your tone and content strategy. Still, getting the voice of your digital presence does not happen on the first — or even 5th — attempt. It starts by using that editorial thesis and applying it to content you discovered, remixed, and recreated to match your voice. That voice has to come through with every post.

While your product is being built, it's important that your writers + content curators are working on content ahead of launch. This can be native content, but also posts and articles from other thought leaders you wish to be aligned with your brand.

Together, we will perform weekly reviews of new content together to see how the tone is progressing. That way, your trial and errors are smoothed out before publish, and you have a hub of appropriate, on-brand content to launch your property.

5. Beta Release to Spark More Brainstorms

When it's time for the beta release of your property, our product team, your property's writers, and our publishing experts will be on the same page and excited about the property's potential. It's at this point RebelMouse will assemble internal + external focus groups to provide feedback on the property so far. These groups will be separate from the teams working on the project.

This group will give their honest feedback on if the content has a user experience built for sharing, and if the material is exciting enough to land somewhere on the quadrant of virality. It's a smart use of our combined resources to receive organic feedback before launch.

6. Revise Product + Content to Perfection

The raw feedback from the beta release may prompt significant shifts in content strategy, design, and product. It's at this time we all work together to make sure the proposed changes are executed quickly.

In addition, it's important we continue to receive swift feedback from the members of the focus groups who provided advice during the beta release. They will continue to provide honest opinions on the changes made since the beta version, continuing the feedback cycle for as long as needed.

By this time, the property will have a refined voice + style that has truly been tried and tested. After the rounds of vetting are complete, it's time for launch.

New Media

Facebook Instant Articles Check In: Feature Still Essential for Publishers

The relationship between Facebook + publishers is complicated — chalk it up to the modern-day romances of Ross + Rachel, Carrie + Mr. Big.

And just like Ross needed Rachel and Carrie needed Mr. Big, we need Facebook.

As publishers, content creators, community managers, and marketers, it's something we've got to figure out. The platform has surpassed Google as the primary driver of referral traffic. 40% of Americans get their news from Facebook.

From The Huffington Post.

Those stats aren't necessarily shocking anymore. The platform is a behemoth, but still, there's something kind of amazing that Facebook has done with Instant Articles. The feature launched to all publishers nearly one year ago, so by now you most likely already breathe a sigh of relief when that headline you want to read more about has the lovely lightning bolt. And in turn, you probably become frustrated when you tap an article on Facebook + the slow load time annexes your phone.

Since its soft launch in 2015, Instant Articles have been widely adopted, and we would be lying if we didn't say it's a trend we're happy is here to stay. But it continues to be a contentious point for media companies and brands who aren't ready to let Facebook take more control.

It's easy to become frustrated with platforms. They wine-and-dine your content while you play third-wheel. And there's no way you're going to get a second date in your part of town. But Instant Articles are also making sure your relationship is a happy one, because a good user experience means loyalty for your brand.

But Instant Articles has had a tough go at romancing publishers.

If you're not taking advantage of Instant Articles yet (and there's still some pretty big holdouts), you're missing some serious unearthed potential. Here's a brief rundown of the rocky road that got us here + why you should table your platform woes on this one.

FB's First Publishing Platform

ICYMI, Instant Articles is Facebook's mobile-only, native publishing platform formatted and optimized to load almost immediately. This is big considering the average human attention span is approximately 8 secs. We like to read things, but only if they load fast. Not to mention IA gets a front seat in the EdgeRank algorithm. Minimal wait time = happy users.

Initially, Instant Articles launched in 2015 with a handful of publishing partners, including BuzzFeed, The New York Times + National Geographic. At RebelMouse, we worked with Facebook closely to create a seamless integration with our publishers, including PAPER Magazine + The Dodo. Then, the platform launched Instant Articles to all publishers during the F8 conference in Spring 2016. Since then, the user experience has paid off:

Still, there were some sharp growing pains as soon as Instant Articles went live. The obvious "Wait, what?" moment came from the shift in inbound marketing. On the surface, Instant Articles seemed to be just (more) hosted + hijacked content that never left Facebook. How could brands justify converting their content to Instant Articles with what seemed like little to nothing in return? This was the source of deep-rooted unknowns that both publishers and the major social platform had to come to a meeting place on. In the past two years, Facebook has worked with publishers to clear up doubt.

Smoothing Things over with Publishers

The turbulent relationship between FB Instant Articles + publishers can be broken down into two big bumps: editorial freedom and monetization.

Editorial Freedom: Brands, new media companies, and especially members of the news industry, were worried about Instant Articles taking away the ability to control design. Not only was Facebook taking control of content, but it was getting rebranded to all fit the Instant Articles aesthetic.

This made everyone in the industry nervous. Facebook is the hub of customer acquisition where readers begin the traditional marketing funnel. It looked like the platform was hijacking the ability for any brand or media company to stand out. This uniformity was even credited with playing a role in 2016's fake news fiasco.


Customer advocacy starts with awareness. Where else can you grab the attention of millions?

To combat this issue, Facebook set up HTML and RSS feeds to display articles with fonts, layouts, and formats to match publishers' editorial look and feel.

And on a larger scale, to preserve journalist integrity for news outlets, Facebook created The Facebook Journalism Project. The FB Journalism Project is a collaboration between the platform and journalists to produce new products, training, and tools to expand IA's creative capabilities. Most notable for publishers are story packages where uber-engaged readers can see multiple stories at a time to help users discover more of the publisher's content.

Monetization: Facebook has received the world's longest side-eye from publishers for hosting their content, and potentially making money off it too. When Instant Articles dropped, many publishers feared it would be the final nail in their page view coffin.

But through Instant Articles, publishers who serve their ads on the platform keep 100% of the revenue. If publishers are using Facebook to serve ads through their Audience Network, Facebook takes 30%.

The Facebook Journalism Project also enhanced monetization flexibility with customized ad experiences at the article level. The platform recently increased ad frequency — now ads can appear every 250 words rather than the previous 350. The platform also partnered with ad tech company Polar so native ads could be served just as display ads within Instant Articles. Around that same time in March 2016, Facebook introduced video ads within articles as well.

"We've really heard it loud and clear that [publishers] want a deeper level of collaboration, not just in partnerships but in product and engineering." — Facebook's director of product, Fidji Simo


A Nod to the Future

Still, several big-name publishers are holding off on adopting Instant Articles. The idea of forgoing reader data and losing full control of their distribution remains disturbing to big-time legacy names like ESPN + Bloomberg.

Despite any hesitations, it doesn't change the fact that people spend an average of 50 minutes on Facebook a day. The platform has captivated the eyes of 1.8 billion users around the world. That number will only keep thriving. With innovative features like Instant Articles, the platform can reach even more people around the globe by speeding up content delivery.

But mostly, Facebook's user number continues to grow because the platform does a great job of churning out innovative ways to keep people on their site.

It's now on publishers to adjust their strategy to the current climate. We've seen publishers like The Washington Post convert all their articles to Instant Articles — a factor that helped their engagement + reach jump 68% over the course of one year. Other publishers like BuzzFeed, Vox, and The Huffington Post use Instant Articles most of the time.

According to web analytics company Parse.ly, FB holds the top spot for site referral traffic.

But Instant Articles is just one small way that Facebook has continued to control the global audience. Since then, the platform has launched its algo-happy live feature to all mobile + desktop users, ads in messenger, and its latest Snap-like alternative, FB Stories. Also in 2017, the platform has taken its first steps to reinvent the way we watch television too.

Facebook delivers to its users a better, faster experience that's multidimensional and engaging. The user is smarter than the old model of site-driven traffic sponsored by display ads and pop-ups. And that's why they live on the platforms.

So even if you are the grumpiest of Facebook users, acknowledge that at the very least, the platform is treating your followers right with user experience. The more quality time spent engaging with your brand means the more loyal your fans become. And in the end, a better experience also means better ROI — and yep, a better internet.

Header image from VentureBeat.

Culture

Hello from the Philippines: Life of a Digital Nomad

Waking up to a team email titled "Hello from the Philippines" isn't unconventional at RebelMouse. That's because we're a fully-remote company where every employee has the opportunity to work anywhere — yes, even your bed if you please. Being a global, results-oriented startup is built into our culture, made possible by evolving technology and a new business mindset.

As self-titled "Digital Nomads" we're not only allowed, but encouraged, to take advantage of working around the globe.

So one of our Rebels, Kris, decided to start adventuring and documented his journey.

Kris has been working remote in the Philippines capital city, Manila.

Working remotely isn't a freelance phenomenon anymore. Sixty-six percent of workers are expected to work remotely in the future and some big tech companies have caught on, too. The focus on employee health is also global — Sweden recently switched to a 6-hour work day in an effort to maintain work-life balance for its citizens.

Remote work allows for so many freedoms: from traffic, gas money, stiff offices, and toxic politics. The idea is that work isn't about how many hours you can endure planted in an office chair, but the quality of work you produce.

Kris is plenty productive as a developer at RebelMouse. He lives in Poland but works closely with other Rebels all over the globe, from Hungary to Texas. Kris left Poland this February and took his office to the capital of the Philippines, Manila.

"It's really awesome to be able to travel this way and try the 'digital nomad' style of living. For me so far, it's been a very good experience. Being open to new cultures is a truly amazing experience."

Kris explored some of the most beautiful destinations surrounding the Philippines.

"I'm mostly in the capital of the Philippines, Manila, but last week I had this amazing opportunity to travel to Boracay — 425km away from the capital."

The ability to travel constantly with a full-time job is one thing. But experiencing different parts of the world + learning about new cultures is an added benefit we can get behind.

"To make it more interesting, me and my friends from a co-working space took a car instead of an airplane. It was a really awesome experience. I was able to see how the people outside of big cities live and how fauna and flora looks like during this trip."

Beautiful beaches of Boracay.

With his flexible schedule, Kris was able to check out the second most active volcano in the Philippines — with 33 historical eruptions.

"I had the opportunity to see Taal volcano when we're going through Tagaytay."

His trip to Boracay took about 15 hours total. Kris traveled in ways he never expected: by ferry, by motorboat, and even on a tricycle.

"I also had an opportunity to try fresh seafood bought at a local market a few steps away from the restaurant. You buy fresh seafood, then bring it to a restaurant and tell them how they should prepare it — cool!"

And more firsts for Kris.

"It was also my first time trying scallops, clams, and kilawin — a local meal made from fresh, raw tuna. It was better than I expected."

When our fellow Rebels travel, we often get to learn things about other cultures as well. Kris let us in on some random facts about the Filipino lifestyle:

  • They only eat meals with forks and spoons (no knives).
  • Red Bull is sold in glass bottles.
  • The most common type of public transport is a Jeepney or tricycle.
  • The most common street food is Balut — duck embryo (a hard pass on this one).
"I was able to experience this only because we're not tied to office walls and we can basically work from anywhere. I highly encourage any adventurer to use this to their advantage, because it might be the opportunity of a lifetime to see new places and experience new cultures!"

We might be biased, but remote life is the good life. Free rein of travel is a ginormous perk that really drives much of the incentive each Rebel carries with them each day to produce quality work — whether working in sweatpants or from the beaches of Boracay.

New Media

Why This Cautious Social Media User Is Excited About Live Video

2016 was not just the year of video, it marked the explosion of live video on every major social media platform. Facebook launched first with live video one year ago back in March 2016, where the format quickly became popular among users. Google announced support for 4K live streaming on YouTube. And, as 2016 came to a close, Instagram rolled out its version of live video Stories while Twitter, which owns Periscope, decided to finally bring live-streaming functionality into its main app.

The spread of live video should surprise no one given the engagement stats: People comment 10x more on Facebook Live videos than regular videos.

Facebook Live Video

So far it seems live video isn't just another trendy phase that will eventually fade out, but that it's actually here to stay. I certainly hope this is the case. And this is coming from an overly cautious social media user.

First, a Bit of Context...

Here at RebelMouse, our software is built around social media, so naturally we all talk about and communicate via social channels all day. While others are forced to sneak-surf social media at work, it simply comes with the job for us.

That said, personally, I'm a cautious social media user. I tend to browse more and post almost never. While social media is chock full of the hilarious (shout out to Anthony "Spice" Adams) and inspiring (thank you, NatGeo Travel), most of the content is mind-numbing fluff; if I spend more than 15 consecutive minutes on social, I typically regret it. And, while I enjoy updates from friends and fam, we all tend to overshare on social, which will probably come back to seriously bite us in years to come. While I'm not naive enough to think hackers, government trackers, and interested parties in between don't have multiple ways to find my personal information, why should I make it easy by laying it all out on a profile page?


But again, being on the cautious side of the social spectrum, I think a live video takeover is just what we needed.

Here's why:

It's More Personal

I wrote about using Facebook Live when it launched earlier last year, and my first tip was to be strategic but, more importantly, embrace spontaneity. While high-quality videos are fantastic, the intimacy of a live video resonates with viewers and can help you come across as more authentic to viewers.

You have an awesome, important moment that you want to share? Go live! Chances are, if you're feeling inspired, a portion of your audience will tune in and judge the content's genuineness vs. its video quality. With the proliferation of technology and various options to "connect" online, it's still easy to feel socially detached and miss real-time, face-to-face human interaction. Live video is one way to maintain the personal touch in our increasingly digital, mobile world.

It Balances the Fake

On the topic of authenticity, what's up with the fake news phenomenon? As someone who believes in the power of staying informed and who started her career at journalism's gold standard, The New York Times, I'm slightly horrified that blatantly false or misleading editorial can permeate so thoroughly and potentially influence crucial events like, you know, the U.S. election.

Yet, personal agendas have always been pushed through traditional media outlets under the guise of news. By its nature, news that you watch on TV or read online automatically becomes subjective once it's curated to fit a time slot or a home page. The key distinction between news that comes from CNN vs. news conjured up from a teenager's room in Macedonia is control. The internet and social media give anyone the tools to publish and amplify content, fake or otherwise, hence the source of the current hysteria. Perhaps one person's fake news is just another's colorful fiction, and should be consumed as such? It is, at least, a harsh reminder for mainstream media to do better.

Either way, if you're looking to sidestep the fake fodder, live video from trusted friends, news sources, and brands could become a key solution to connect to more honest moments. As the top destination for news discovery, Facebook took heat for being a key perpetuator of fake news. This year, as the social platform tweaks its News Feed algorithm in an attempt to bury fake news, don't be surprised if live video views spike in direct correlation as Facebook encourages and rewards more original and more authentic content.

We Need More Citizen Journalism

While Twitter currently struggles to find its way, I will always have a deep appreciation for its origin as a platform for citizen journalism, where tweets and crowdsourced hashtags literally launched social movements. So I support any technology or device that helps amplify the real stories of everyday people that would not otherwise garner attention.

There was no more real moment than when Philando Castile's final moments were live streamed after being fatally shot by Officer Yanez during a traffic stop. With 3.2 million Facebook views in the first 24 hours, people were compelled to watch a moment that was, at least, incredibly disturbing and, at most, criminal. The video forced many to turn a hard side-eye, passionately question, and compare notes about other potential abuses of power that may have been systematically carried out right under our noses. And while social live streaming has certainly been used for more sinister purposes, it all helps shed light on what's happening locally and in different corners of the world.

I, for one, want exposure to it all — the good, the horrific, the inspiring, and the opposing views — in order to self-reflect and so that we can collectively understand our reality. Brands and media companies will certainly find a way to wield live video to promote specific content or products. And, given the attractive engagement stats, it behooves them to test away. But I hope live video continues to be a tool widely leveraged by the masses, so that I can further learn more about the world I live in.

So, Yes to More Live Video on Social in 2017

Absolutely, yes. You may not find me in front of the camera live streaming at a party (not yet, anyway), but I'll most likely be watching. :)

Culture

Everyone Should Work from Home in 2017

October 2016 marked one year of working from home for me. Before that, my 20s were spent in a have-to-be-there-even-on-Thanksgiving news station and a clock-watching ad agency. Now, people ask me all the time: How do I like working from home, and how do I do it?

I love it, I never want to go back, and it's a lot easier. If you don't feel comfortable working from home at least some of the time, take 2017 to get more used to it.

I know not everyone can do that. I'm lucky to work at RebelMouse, a startup with employees all over the world that thrives on being global. So many more companies are joining us. In fact, 50% of the U.S. workforce in 2016 holds a job that is compatible with at least partial remote flexibility, and 20–25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Side note: If you don't work at a place that can do this, you guys are the real MVPs. (Shout-out to doctors, nurses, teachers, waiters...)

This year, I was surprised by how many people I met who said, "Gosh, you work from home! I could never do that." People are worried about isolation and productivity, mostly. But what I learned is that working from home gives you both of those back. Here's why:

Results, Not Regulation

All year long, I've tried to articulate why working from home is actually more productive. Software engineer Yan Lhert summed it up perfectly in this Medium article. The case for results-based work puts an emphasis on success rather than boundaries that can easily let "bad actors" reign.

Here's what Lhert means:

"Bad actors in an organization will figure out what the rules and the process are and follow them to a letter. Then they'll find a way to slack off within these boundaries. Just as a hypothetical example, let's look at working hours. Let's say the company makes a new rule: "you have to be in the office from 9am to 7pm." The bad actor will be at the office from 9am to 7pm. They might be on Facebook half of the day, but you didn't make a rule against that, right? When it comes to performance review time, this bad actor can say "I followed all the rules & process! I was here from 9am to 7pm every day!"

You know you've worked with these bad actors all your life. You may have even been a bad actor once or twice. But nobody is a hero in an office setting. Nobody sits down at their desk and works at 100% productivity, stopping only for a sensible one-hour lunch. When I worked in an office, there were days I spent my most of my time gabbing with coworkers, refreshing Facebook 100 times, and reading Wikipedia stories that could haunt your dreams.

I wasn't a bad actor, but I was held to standards not conducive to productivity. Now I work in a space created all by me, wherever it is, and I can deliver results. It's those results I am measured on, not how many days in a row I can sit in a chair for 8 to 9 hours.

How much of your life is a scene from Office Space, still, in 2017?

What It Means for Your Life Outside of Work

This is perhaps the most important. Employees deserve to work in a place that makes them peaceful, not a place that breeds dread and stress. For many, this means actually working from home — a place where they can pause to switch over to the laundry, take their child to a doctor's appointment, or just catch up on a show for a brain break.

Ben Brooks is the CMO at MartianCraft, an entirely remote company. To him and many of his coworkers, working from home is about being there: "It is about your loved ones — your spouse, kids, pets — being the small daily interruptions, and not Milton complaining about his stapler."

For me, working remotely this year meant I could be a halfway, wannabe digital nomad. I kept my home base in Austin, but was free to travel and work wherever I wanted. I found myself reaching levels of productivity from everywhere to a hotel lobby in Silicon Valley to a cafe in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Believe it or not, after this cheers on top of the Swiss Alps, I went to work! And I was productive.

Experiencing freedom is life changing, no matter what your perfect workplace looks like. Aside from the opportunities to travel, which I treasure and pinch myself over that it's even possible at times, perhaps I am more grateful for the freedom to be myself. Just a few things I've been liberated from over the past year:

I've been free of workplace politics, from failed workout routines and unhealthy lunches, from exhaustion, from daily work outfits, from makeup, and from perfect hair. Free from feeling like I need to be a hero by sitting at a desk with a cold, from trying to compartmentalize problems to put on a brave face for the day, from stressing out about what my boss thinks I am doing, and free from pettiness. I work at my best, I relax at my best, and, in turn, I am a better person to the people around me.

That's why working from home for me is about health, not just convenience. Productivity and employee retention is just an added bonus.

You Should Be OK with It Too

What does your own office look like for you? If it makes you feel uncomfortable, think about why. If it's because you're a social person, maybe figure out a way to be social and work from home. I promise you, the freedom is worth it.

Employees who aren't self employed that work from home has inflated 103% since 2005, and it's only going to grow. It will soon not just be for tech, or niche communities, but rather a skill for your resume.

Might as well start now.

Social News

Facebook Promoted Posts: Less Can Be More

At RebelMouse, we make it our mission to give you back your organic growth. Still, we know the idea of pay-to-play on social media, especially on Facebook, isn't going away anytime soon. The average user spends 20 minutes a day on Facebook and 80% of marketers are investing in social ads in 2017. So having an allocated budget for Facebook is a near-mandatory strategy for content distribution.

The good news is you can make your dollar stretch on the platform. Whether you've already implemented a robust spending strategy for Facebook, or you're just getting started, here's a tip to try:

Spend Less, Frequently

Spending too much on Facebook is actually a real possibility. For example, if you're targeting under 10,000 people per post and spending $500, you'll only fatigue your targeted audience.

Instead, try spending less money, but more frequently and to different audiences. See how it impacts your CPC compared to similar, repetitive ads that run for longer periods of time. Here's how it works:

→ Spend $10–25 on promoted posts

→ Every 24 hours

→ Choose only desktop and mobile as placements

→ Promote native video or super-engaging content only

Watch your CPC turn into fractions of pennies.

Case Study: HooplaHa — Only Good News

HooplaHa — powered by RebelMouse — promotes positivity with engaging content that does most of the viral work for them. HooplaHa spends small monetary amounts (usually between $15–25) on promoted posts every day. The results usually end up in video views around $0.003 and plenty of engagement and reach.

Snapshot of HooplaHa's average CPC:

This promoted post has a reach of 40K with only $11.41 in ad spend so far, and a total budget of $15:

If you want to give this strategy a try, don't forget to:

Mix up your targeting every time — whether it's by interest or experimenting with custom and lookalike audiences.

Differentiate your content promote posts that appeal to different groups.

Try promoting an unpublished post, or "dark post," to reach untapped audiences and experiment with content dynamics.

Sign up for social strategy sessions with our resident content distribution experts, or even get private one-on-one training with our Founder and CEO, Paul Berry.

Social News

Facebook Dark Posts: Why + How to Use Them

Here's a great little throwback fact: When Facebook advertising first began, the only way you could target by interests, locations, etc. was through dark posts. Now, those features are available with every ad. So what are dark posts in 2017?

Dark posts, or "unpublished posts," as Facebook calls them, do not post to your Facebook Page's wall or appear organically in the news feed of your current followers. The perks of dark posting are pretty obvious for big brands and e-commerce Pages, but every advertiser can benefit from experimenting with them too. But if you're new to the Facebook ad game, it can be a little abstract to learn. So, if you're a rookie or just need a refresher (like I sometimes do), let's shine the light back on the benefits of dark posts and how to create them.

Why Create a Facebook Dark Post?

Good question. The short answer is two-fold: you'll reach new people and learn more about your content. Here's why:

It's your chance to get super targeted and super personalized. Let's say you're a publisher who focuses on Hollywood gossip and entertainment news. You've got a great piece of content about Lady Gaga. You could put ad spend on this post, targeting your current followers in addition to other celebrity bloggers, entertainment sites, and fans of Gaga. In fact, that's probably what you are doing. But what if you wanted to create a post about that same piece of content that was only directed to Gaga fans and the entire Little Monsters fanbase?

Dark posts allow you to hyper-target those specific online communities without posting the same ad twice on your timeline, potentially causing your fans to see repetitive posts. Since your Gaga dark post is unpublished and specifically targeted, you can alter your copy and accompanying media to be even more Lady G-centric. This kind of personalization increases your chance for engagement and allows you to reach more potential followers.

A/B testing. Dark posts are a great chance to experiment with new strategies. Try out different messaging, imagery, and ad types to see if something performs particularly well. If a particular call-to-action is working well with narrower targets, start threading it into your larger strategy.

So, if the Gaga post is outperforming what you expected, maybe you should think about creating more Gaga content. Or, maybe you should use some of that messaging on other pieces of content. Dark posts can teach you more about what kind of audiences are out there that want to receive your content — and the best way to reach them.

No over-posting. The ability to not overcrowd your followers with the same posts is powerful. Not only can you stretch the legs of your content, but you get more opportunities to learn how that content is received across the Facebook ecosystem. Jon Loomer nicely articulates in this article: "You'll now be able to create multiple campaigns or ad sets that promote the same ad — not just ads that look the same. That way, each separate promotion of that ad will contribute to the comments, likes, shares and other engagement."

Now, let's shine the light on how this all gets done.

How Do You Create a Dark Post?

It's not the most intuitive of processes, but once you've done it a few times, it's easy to remember. Here's a how-to to get you started:

Create dark posts in the Facebook Power Editor. Use the hamburger menu to go to All Tools → Create & Manage → Page Posts.


Click the blue "Create Post" button in the top-right corner. An editor will pop up where you can create your post. You can do multiple formats: link, carousel, photo video, etc. Make sure you only select "This post will only be used as an ad."


Once you have created the post, highlight it in the queue, and click the drop-down menu for Actions → Create Ad.


You will be prompted to choose a new campaign. You could start an entire "Dark Posts" campaign with various ads and ad sets. You can also choose your ad type. Here's more on how the Facebook ad campaign structure works — it can be easy to mix up sometimes.


Once your post is created, copy the post ID.



You will be taken to a screen like the one shown below. You can either click "Create Ad Set/View Ad Set" from here. Or, just head back to the ads manager and click "Create Ad" like you would for any other campaign.


Either way, a familiar interface will open up if you've created Facebook ads before. Click "Use Existing Post."


When you're selecting the media for your ad, that's when you paste your post ID from earlier.

Once you've made it to this step, you can set up the ad, including locations, custom audiences, and interest targeting like normal.

Tip: If a certain ad does particularly well, you can go back to the "Page Posts" tab in the Power Editor and then publish it to your fans (making it no longer an unpublished post).


You may notice that your dark post campaigns have a higher CPC than your traditional ads. This could be especially true if you do a lot of video view campaigns and then switch to a URL traffic ad for a dark post. However, keep in mind that your reach will often be similar to published ads, and your results will often be more meaningful and targeted.

Happy dark posting! Hopefully it brings you plenty of new ideas. 💡

White Paper

A Rebel's Guide to Site Monetization

Does your site generate consistent traffic? Can you confidently identify a loyal audience that craves your content?

If the answer is yes to either question, then consider your content valuable and, therefore, monetizable. But with banner blindness and ad blocking on the rise, your monetization strategy needs to go beyond slapping banners across your site. In an era where advertisers closely monitor ROI and push for quality audience engagement, success requires an integrated advertising approach that enhances the overall user experience on your site.

In this guide, you'll learn the following:

  • A (Really Brief) Monetization Lingo Primer
  • How to Manage Page Speed to Score Big with Organic Algos
  • How to Prioritize the User Experience on Your Site
  • How to Maximize Your Inventory Value
  • Important New Social Platform Ad Options

Fill out the form below to get your free copy!

Product Updates

Distributed Publishing, Defined

At RebelMouse, we talk a lot about distribution: distribution tools, distributed audiences, distributed publishing. As we kick off 2017, we want to make what we mean clear when we say "distributed publishing."

A Rebel's Definition of Distributed Publishing

dis·trib·uted pub·lish·ing
/dəˈstribyo͞oted pəbliSHiNG/

noun

The seamless process of creating and optimizing content for maximized audience reach across channels and devices.

In other words, create once, publish everywhere that matters.

Distributed Publishing Is Crucial

To access content online twenty years ago, audiences typically typed in a URL and went straight to a known website. Slightly savvier web users started leveraging search engines. But for the most part, as a content publisher, it was pretty simple: You executed straightforward ad buys on traditional marketing channels to build a reputation. The payoff? A consistent, reliable audience that consumed the news and information you provided.

Today, according to Parse.ly, Google and Facebook drive 80% of referral traffic to digital publishers. These powerful channels wield and constantly tweak mysterious algorithms that dictate how content gets surfaced, typically leaving you in the dark about how to stay relevant. Plus, audiences now increasingly rely on mobile to discover content. If your content is not truly optimized for mobile, you're missing an important part of your readership.

In a nutshell, you're likely struggling to 1) keep up with the digital landscape, 2) find your audience in a way that doesn't pile on the costs, and/or 3) simply pinpoint where to start.

RebelMouse, the First Distributed Content Management System (DCMS), Was Built to Help You Figure It Out

RebelMouse enables companies to succeed in a world where audiences are increasingly fragmented. Our teams are organized to understand and wire RebelMouse technology with the real opportunities that can move the needle for content creators. Our software comes out of the box with the necessary tools you need to win the publishing game and maximize each piece of content, allowing you to save time and money. This includes:

Easy authoring tools

Seamless publishing to important formats, like Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP

SEO levers

Social optimization and relationship management tools

A/B testing for optimal performance

Flexible, device-responsive site layout and design

Seamless newsletter management

Robust monetization controls

OK, Sounds Cool! How Can I Be Down?

Don't lag behind in 2017. Get into the Rebel mindset and grab the advantage for your teams. We make it easy to get up and running based on your needs and goals.

Looking to launch a new site? Start a free RebelMouse trial to quickly build your site today. (Psst: We've made it especially easy to transfer over WordPress content.)

Still have questions? Contact us today and we'll get back to you ASAP!

New Media

The 2017 Rebel Mindset

At RebelMouse, we love the crazy, fast, ever-changing world of the internet. Founded by Paul Berry, the original CTO of The Huffington Post, and backed by new media experts from BuzzFeed and Buddy Media, we have an avant-garde view of how publishing works.

Check out these 10 statements that define the RebelMouse mindset for 2017, designed to get you psyched to share your stories with the world.

1. Growing an engaged audience isn't an accident.

It's a decision.

2. Be tech savvy, not tech heavy.

To unlock traffic and revenue growth at speeds we've never seen before.

3. Embrace an integrated approach to content creation and distribution.

Social isn't an afterthought, it drives editorial strategy.

4. Data = Amazingness.

Put that awesomeness into the hands of your content creators.

5. Blur the lines and raise the bar.

Editors, writers, and social media managers have the power to implement change — empower them with analytics to fuel growth.

6. The life of a story begins after you hit publish.

Go beyond post and pray.

7. Going viral means creating something worth sharing.

It should be an experience people love. It doesn't mean abandoning substance.

​8. Take a format-agnostic approach to content creation.

It's time to embrace the beyond-words era.

9. Ad blocking is a cultural movement.

In an increasingly banner-blind world, ads should (and can) add value to the editorial experience.

​10. Experiment and learn with every story.

Evolvability is your competitive advantage and adaptable technology is the secret sauce.

Do you agree? Does this sound like the way you want to approach media? Contact us to learn more and let's start working together!

Product Updates

Perks of Being a Rebel Socialite

Updated: December 28, 2016

Being a Rebel Socialite Means Taking an Integrated Approach to Content Creation + Distribution

...Maximize Your Growth When You Hit Publish

At RebelMouse, we are obsessed with content distribution, which is why our platform is designed to enable a publishing process built on social sharing. We embrace the idea that the potential for audience growth is much larger when you consider all of the people who care about what you create beyond your domain. With functionality to create and distribute stories across social networks, the RebelMouse platform empowers users to maximize this ecosystem.

Google search and the home page used to be the primary drivers of content performance, but that changed with the rise of social media. Social is the new front page. Facebook alone is responsible for 38% of referrals to publishers. RebelMouse helps you capitalize on this reality by taking an integrated approach to content creation and distribution in the editorial process.

Here's a deeper look into how our tools put you everywhere first.

Integrated Content Creation + Distribution = A Seamless Cycle of Success

RebelMouse's social media publishing tools integrate distribution into editorial workflows in a way that allows teams to most effectively and efficiently scale an engaged audience with a data-driven approach. Content creators and social editors working together in a unified process, instead of in silos, enables growth and success. Content creators and social media editors are one in the same.

Creation and distribution go together. In our Entry Editor, you can create stories and take action to share them on social media without leaving the page. All you need to do is connect your social accounts to get started.

You can optimize promotional text and images for audiences on different platforms by overriding the fields pre-populated with the headline and photo used in your story. Then, just check a box to add your post to the social queue.

ProTip: Change up your social summaries, and mix up your post's images with our social media publishing tool. Dynamic and diverse images with quick language keep your audience engaged!

Optimize Your Stories for Success

Our admin tools make managing the social queue as easy as can be: Publish posts immediately to social platforms or schedule them for future deployment. Eliminate third-party tools for social publishing and make sharing part of the process, not an afterthought.

You can also filter the queue by social account. Need to make an update before publishing? You can easily alter headlines and images directly within the queue before sharing them with the world.

ProTip: Schedule evergreen and repeat-worthy content during open windows in your schedule, or at times that are traditionally slow. Social enables contagious moments to resurface again and again.

New Media

5 Best Practices to Grow Your Audience

The mission of scaling an engaged audience is exciting and rewarding. At RebelMouse, we believe that achieving success isn't an accident, it's a decision. The key is to effectively blend the art and the science in the editorial process. Here are five best practices for growth that you can apply to your strategy.

1. Own Your Identity

Your story makes you unique and allows you to cut through the noise. If all of the branding were stripped from your content, your audience should still be able to tell that it's your company or organization that created it. That's the power of your voice. Be bold, be authentic, and be relatable. Convey how your story connects to the lives of the people you're trying to reach.

Fuel your passion into content that differentiates you and puts you in a position to do your best. You can't cover everything so focus on what will make you stand out. Be disciplined about what you cover and what you don't cover. The internet is a democratized space and the social web rewards quality. It's not enough to get someone to click on your story. You have to create an experience that people love enough to want to share it.

2. Integrate Content Creation + Distribution

A commitment to telling a story should come with a commitment to presentation and distribution that ensures it takes off. Marry your approach to content creation and promotion. This means taking into account where you intend to reach your target audience — the social media platform, an email, or another pathway — before bringing your story idea to life. Headlines designed to drive sharing, dynamic imagery, compelling status text, and subject lines are instrumental in driving maximum engagement.

Social media, email, messaging, and emerging platforms should drive your editorial strategy, as opposed to being an afterthought. Additionally, the device likely being used to consume your content and the context of that interaction should inform your approach to creation.

3. Unlock the Power of Data

Data provides powerful insight into how people connect and engage with your content. Incorporating analytics into an editorial workflow isn't about chasing clicks: It's about empowering your team to create the best possible user experience. The goal is to deliver the right data to the right person in the right format at the right time.

The life of a story begins when you hit "Publish." Being aware that a story is going viral in real time gives your team the opportunity to maximize performance by scheduling posts to social media, sending email + messaging blasts, and optimizing an overall approach to distribution that amplifies growth. At higher levels, analytics can uncover user behavior patterns on what works well in terms of story ideas, presentation, and promotional strategy. Data is a universal language of feedback that empowers you to build an audience around a meaningful editorial product.

4. Drive Performance with Technology

Leveraging an innovative publishing platform fuels efficiency, as well as growth in terms of scale and engagement. Tools that align with an editorial workflow save your team time. A system that connects to the larger internet ecosystem allows you to maximize your impact. This applies to content discovery, creation, promotion, and performance. Functionality that enables you to pull in and push out stories in a unified experience enables your success.

Technology that's adaptable is the secret sauce in the recipe for growth.

5. Embrace Evolvability

Treat developments in the way people consume content as an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. You can see the rise of a new social platform as either daunting, or a chance to reach and engage with your audience in a new exciting way. It's all about perspective. Create a culture that promotes experimentation and values new ways of doing things.

Embracing evolvability means not having to play catch-up, and instead puts you in a position to innovate. Plus, it makes the process more fun. And the experience of creating something you're proud of and deliberately connecting with your target audience is fun. That's the magic of the internet.

White Paper

A Rebel's Guide to Growing Facebook Reach

Organic reach isn't dead. You just need to know how to adapt to recent changes. We have you covered.

According to Social Media Examiner's 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 55% of marketers chose Facebook as the most important social network, and 86% regularly use Facebook Ads. Plus, 67% of marketers plan on increasing their Facebook marketing activities. So it's no secret marketers are eager to learn how to get back some of the organic reach that has been lost in recent years. We created this guide as a way to help you navigate around these changes and start growing on Facebook again.

In this guide, you'll learn the following:

  • What's new with Facebook and how to prioritize.
  • How to use your ad spend wisely.
  • What are the real metrics you should focus on for success?
  • How to start taking charge of your Facebook growth.

Fill out the form below to get your free copy!

New Media

RebelMouse’s 7 Facts About Contagious Media + How to Sustain It

RebelMouse Founder and CEO (and former CTO of The Huffington Post) Paul Berry has obsessed about contagious media — and how people consume it — for decades. He chatted with Steve Rubel, Chief Content Strategist at Edelman, for Rubel's podcast on all things storytelling, Content Convergence.

Click here to listen to it for free and get up to speed on ad blocking, audience growth, and the future of media companies and marketing in 2016.

In addition (and only in supplementary fashion!), digest some of the key points in our true gif-listicle form.

1. The Core of Contagious Media Hasn't Changed

When The Huffington Post turned on the lights in 2005, it sparked a launching platform for viral content. Everyone had a tab with HuffPo open at work, refreshing when something big happened to see what the big bold headline would be.

The same thing still happens, but now everyone is refreshing social feeds. Publishers declared the home page dead in 2014, but its gradual death began way before that. It doesn't mean contagious media isn't sustainable, but instead it breathes new life on social.

2. Contagious Media Is Fueled by Belief (or Nonbelief)

Time for a little #throwback: When social media was a lot of shifty chat rooms, RebelMouse CEO Paul Berry and BuzzFeed CEO (and advisor to RebelMouse) Jonah Peretti began a little site called Dog Island. The concept? Register your dog for a one-way ticket to a (fictional) island where it could "live free forever."

The site went viral, making international headlines, and was fueled by two kinds of people: Those who knew it was fictional, but remained bewildered at its existence, and people who believed the island was real and were outraged at the cruelty of pet owners who would give up their best friend to an island of unknown circumstance.

Either way, it was a viral moment that sustained life through belief and nonbelief. The same way your feed is likely dominated today by people impassioned by both belief (a touching holiday story that renews your faith in the modern world) or something Donald Trump said (the opposite of faith renewal, depending on your outlook).


From GIPHY

3. Stories Must Be so Shareable You Can't Stand It

The only way you can spark passion of belief or nonbelief is to give your content creators the tools they need to not only create viral moments regularly, but also sustain them. Contagious moments are on a huge bell curve, and it's only viable if it is shared. Social distribution allows viral moments to resurface again and again.

Think of when you dip your nose into a great-smelling candle, and it's impossible not to turn to the person next to you and say, "smell this." With content, that should happen five times over.

How do you know what will prompt the curiosity of the masses? Obsess over the dynamic content you see in your feeds every day the pop culture trends, language directions, and the general oddities of day-to-day life that ignite your interest and the interest of the communities you follow. Build your presence to match, and do it at scale.

4. Your Slogan Must Be Your Editorial Thesis — So Hire More Writers

If you want to master #3, the slogan of your brand, agency, or media company must also be your editorial thesis. You have to wake up every day ready to follow through on that message.

The best way to do this is not though a one-of-a-kind interface that requires an enormous, expensive office with a huge dev team, UX specialists, and SEO consultants. Good content comes from good writers who have already mastered the skill of carrying out a thesis. Hire more of them, build out your content strategy, and see audience growth.

And it can be done organically.

5. Cater Your Publishing to Distribution

Tabitha was able to see success because she won the great content race, but she also got part two right: Distribution. There's a saying at RebelMouse that's a spin on an old favorite: If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? If you have great content and nobody sees it...well?

The traditional content cycle begins during the "before publish" process — which consists of an SEO guessing game that still has value. But at RebelMouse, we believe the story begins after publish.

It's after publish when your story becomes contagious. You build a bigger audience when your story is shared by profiles and pages with large followings. And the good news is that every topic of content already has a big fan base in the land of distributed platforms.

This is where content now lives.

6. There's a Big Human Factor to Distribution

There's a myth out there that writers have seceded to a MacBook and just want to be left to their creative devices, but that isn't true.

Writers are intensely curious and obsess over data just like anyone else. This is why the lines between writers and social media managers must completely blur. Writers should know how to cater their work across platforms, and should be given the tools to manage and tweak a distribution strategy that works.

It's the writer-turned-social expert who knows their content in and out, and can use an editorial eye to reach out and discover new relationships across platforms. RebelMouse products have ways to maximize every piece of content in the social ecosystem.

7. Media Companies Aren't Tech Companies Anymore

Brands are already beginning to transform, and should all become media companies. If you are hiring a huge team to launch a new website, you are doing it wrong. The nature of the website has changed dramatically and decreased in value since 2012. In 2016, democratize and publish in sync with the constant rhythms of the platforms and be everywhere first.

More good news: Becoming a media company can happen not only more quickly, but also at a fraction of the cost. RebelMouse builds and grows new media properties that give your content creators the tools they need to create contagious moments and sustain them on the daily.

Product Updates

Layout & Design Tool: Powerful Site Control at Your Fingertips

In today's dynamic digital landscape, where the ecosystem is ever evolving and you're required to make changes in a snap to keep up (or you simply want to make a design change without relying on a vendor), RebelMouse now gives you ultimate control over your site.

Our comprehensive Layout & Design tool enables you to customize, optimize, and flexibly manage any element of your site. The best part? No matter how you wield the Layout & Design tool, your site will be set up to look beautiful and perform optimally across devices, screen sizes, and platforms.

A quick snapshot of Rebels using our Layout & Design tool to customize their sites. See the full showcase.

Here are four key reasons to get excited about our Layout & Design tool:

1. Enjoy Awesome Flexibility

Either quickly launch with the preset RebelMouse-proven template and simply update it with your logos, fonts, and color palettes, or completely customize to your liking with advanced HTML/CSS tools and flexible JS control.

Edit the CSS of any page element or add a new property:

2. Easily Configure Pages to Fit Your Needs

The Layout & Design tool is set up in grid-patterned rows and columns — with full control over desktop, tablet, and mobile views — so you can easily tweak templates to reflect your brand needs and perform across devices.

Easily add new elements to your page template:

Seamlessly switch among desktop, tablet, and mobile displays:

3. A/B Test Everything + Anything for Optimal Performance

Confidently configure your site for optimal performance. The Layout & Design tool features A/B test functionality that enables you to experiment with every page and zone template on your site: home pages, section pages, static pages, headers, footers, or sidebars. Our platform automatically rotates each of your A/B (C, D, E, F, etc!) templates, which can be accessed anytime through unique URLs. Plus, you can update template names at any time and remove a finished test with one click — super easy to manage.

4. Empower Your Team to Dig In

The Layout & Design tool is great for teams. Your site's design and layout can be managed visually or by code, making it easily accessible for the design perfectionists or tech experts on your cross-functional team.

Combined with our intuitive entry editor, our groundbreaking RebelMouse DCMS officially offers best-in-class tools across both publishing and site design. With RebelMouse, your teams are set up to win the content game and effortlessly optimize stories for organic reach with incredible efficiency.

Try Us!

Ready to take control? Good news! You can sign up for a free trial and quickly launch your RebelMouse site today.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

New Media

2016: The Year We Watched (and Read) All the Videos

A lot has happened in the social sphere this year — but the rise of video, especially readable video, is the most impactful content shift of 2016. It's part of the the mobile takeover. This year, mobile is responsible for 65% of digital media time, making desktop a "secondary touch point," according to Marketing Land.

Videos are super easy to watch on mobile, and, so far, they've morphed into two very friendly beasts.

Two Big Social-Friendly Beasts

Friendly Beast #1: Live — The rise of live video on platforms like Periscope and Facebook put the power of audience growth into the hands of the creators for the first time ever.

Whether it's a brand, company, social influencer, or anyone with just an ounce of ambition and an Internet connection, they have the ability to go live instantly. That ability includes the potential to reach a larger audience than daytime TV, if not more. This power used to be owned exclusively by large networks, people with extraordinary circumstances, or just the straight up rich and famous. No longer.

In 2016, we saw this new opportunity impact everything from citizen journalism to a mother with a Chewbacca mask.

Video is not reserved just for YouTube and Facebook, either. The explosion of Snapchat and the creation of Instagram Stories gives us more opportunities for social success through distributed video content.

Friendly Beast 2: Readable — If it's not live, you better be able to read it. Brands like NowThis birthed this format and it's now the makeup of social feeds on nearly every platform.

This strategy works because it feeds the attention span of the modern scanner. Since sound is optional, viewers can consume readable videos everywhere (on their phone mostly), but also at work, in waiting rooms, etc. The dynamic nature of media-rich content makes the videos not only easy to digest, but easy to share.

Bonus: With no narration, readable videos are easy to create. Unlike big-budget news videos, simple GIFs, photographs, and amateur footage are acceptable forms of b-roll.

BuzzFeed's digital food empire, Tasty, features cooking videos with no sound. Each one racks millions (this one has 10M+) of views.

The Players

Anyone with content, period, can get in on the video game. Here are some benefits we've seen from the major players in 2016:

Brands: 84% of professional marketers and 55% of small business owners have produced or outsourced a video in the last 12 months. 76.5% of those marketers and small business owners have experienced results from those efforts. (Adweek)

E-commerce: 90% of users say product videos are useful in their decision-making process. (HubSpot)

News outlets + media companies: One-third of online activity is spent watching video. More video content is uploaded to the internet in 30 days than all three major U.S. networks combined have created in the past 30 years. (HubSpot)

An Easy Place to Start

If you haven't even dangled your toes in the water of video yet, Facebook is the #1 place to start and the place where most of your focus should be.

It's the biggest social platform and where the bulk of your audience lives. Facebook has 8.4 times the impact on marketers and small business owners compared to other social platforms. It's also super simple to track insights and success.

We Can Help

If you're still perfecting your video content skills, you can still benefit from video content through sharing. Facebook's algorithm favors shared content and it's an automatic engagement boost, at zero cost.

Our proprietary technology helps fuel organic growth on any CMS (Wordpress, Drupal, etc.). We've built in features to our platform which make sharing more strategic.

RebelMouse helps you identify social accounts through a search API you won't find using Facebook alone. You can reach out to your discovered target accounts via a variety of social signals, including a "like" of a recent post, an email, or sharing their video.

In comment sharing: Share video from your targeted social community within a comment of your relevant article. Since you tagged your targeted account, they will be inclined to see where their video was shared.

In article sharing: If you're publishing on the RebelMouse Distributed Content Management System (DCMS), you can also share a target account's video at the bottom of your article.

Bonus: Also on the RebelMouse platform, your own video content is easy to embed within an article. It's also viewable on both Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP.

If you relate to this bear right now, it's OK. Distributed video content can be tricky at first. That's why you need your Rebels. Download our Guide to Social Media Content Strategy today for more tips.

White Paper

A Rebel's Guide to Social Media Content Strategy

3 Simple Steps to Social Content Success

Building a social media content strategy is an important exercise to make sure you're getting the most out of your social posts. To get you started, we've created a set of guidelines that will help you kick start your strategic efforts.

In this guide, you'll learn the following:

  • How to find the voice in your organization.
  • Tips on how to produce more content with less.
  • How to leverage video on social media.

Fill out the form below to get your free copy!

New Media

4 Ways to Break Down Big Data + Build Customer Loyalty

These days there isn't a headline or piece of content on the whole wide web that isn't influenced, in some way, by data. In fact, for companies whose success depends on courting and converting customers online, big data is now (arguably) the most important competitive advantage to gain in the digital marketplace. Just look at the tooth-and-nail battle between social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for marketing dollars. Though active user figures are important, it is the maturity of each platform's ad product — that is, its ability to leverage data to enable brands to engage with consumers in relevant and authentic ways — that determines revenue potential.

The Key: Make Big Data Little Again

Big data isn't just here to stay, it's here to take over. However, as paranoid email subject lines and viral social media posts continue to prove, it's still a delicate issue for the masses. To harness data as a tool for repeat engagement and customer loyalty, it must be wielded carefully and adeptly. I had the chance to speak with several industry leaders about this very subject. Over the course of our conversations, we identified four essential steps for achieving this — segmentation, information, optimization, and protection. Watch the full conversation below or download a copy of the complete transcript here.

1. Segmentation

The collection of big data is no longer the monumental task it was just a year or two ago. There are now countless intuitive platforms and tools in the market that mine, organize, and report data for companies large and small. It's where you take the data from there that matters today. Before you rush off to content and messaging, however, there is a critical step that is often delayed or skipped completely — segmentation. For larger companies, the concept is a familiar one. Michelle Killebrew, Digital Marketing Program Director at IBM, illustrates:

"You can imagine there are hundreds of solutions across IBM's portfolio," she says. "And the majority of the personas in our database are IT related. So how do you define which brand has the right to touch that person with the next best message?" Michelle continues. "We have so much data that we can slice and dice in so many different ways. I think it's not only about looking at how can you personalize that next interaction, but drilling into the database and trying to figure out who that ideal segmentation is."

It may seem obvious, but leveraging behavioral data alone does not drive loyalty or lead to sustained growth. Assigning these behaviors to unique subsets of consumers assures that future messaging and content streams are pure and, more importantly, relatable. For some marketers, segmentation can be done effectively on a one-to-one basis. For most of us, it must be done at a group level. Either way, it's important to realize this is an ongoing, dynamic process that will continue to evolve and change as your company grows.

2. Information

In many ways, segmentation and information are parallel processes that rely upon each other. As behavioral data rolls in (from your website, email marketing campaigns, social content, etc.) it both guides the process of segmentation and dictates the content and messaging that will ultimately be served to those segments. Philippe Von Borries, Co-Founder and CEO of Refinery29, relies on this concept of informed content more than most:

"[The most important thing is] being able to, through technology, through data, continue to build content that actually speaks to the person and their behavior on Refinery29, what they're interested in, and to provide them with more of that content," he explains.

The lesson? Keeping your messaging and content focused on your most vital consumer segments allows you to keep your eye on the prize. Von Borries continues:

"For us it is really about building an incredibly respected voice for women throughout the world. [You want to make sure that] people don't come through the side door who really don't connect with your brand."

At Refinery29, the numbers back up the theory. 46% of page views come from just 34% of the site's visitors who visit Refinery an average of nine times per month. More impressive still, only 12% of traffic goes directly to the home page, while 50% of the traffic comes in through email. Personalized content drives loyalty. Loyalty drives business.

3. Optimization

All of this data may be black and white, but your consumers rarely (read: never) are. The third step in leveraging data to build customer loyalty is perhaps the most important of all — optimization. You've no doubt heard the concept of "test, learn, optimize" before. In fact, you've probably heard it today. It's the strategy used by virtually every successful content marketer in previous years, and has only gotten more effective as the world of big data has evolved. Von Borries prefers the term relentless testing, which he describes as "continuous, continuous, continuous iteration and testing on everything from headlines to images to stories themselves."

In effect, optimization is simply the process by which segmentation and information must happen. As time goes on and larger swaths of data become available, the people you choose to speak to and the content you use to speak to them with will become more relevant, more authentic, and ultimately more potent. It's this veritable feedback loop that continually strengthens the bond between company and consumer, ensuring repetitive engagement. Once started, it can never be stopped.

4. Protection

But it's all for naught if your customers don't trust you with their data, as Jeannie Chu, Director of Brand Marketing and Communications at American Express, is quick to point out. This is where protection comes in. "For us, the ability to test and learn is amazing," she explains. "But I think we also have to balance that with the security and trust people have in us." For American Express, one of the world's largest and most recognizable financial institutions, this is especially important.

"If it's on our dot-com, it could be a security breach for us," Chu continues. "So [while] it is about testing and learning and leveraging and mining data as much as possible, there is [also] that 'make sure we send out guys to check the security camera of the data server somewhere in Israel, because we care' piece." It is a fragile issue, and a notoriously difficult one to handle. For American Express, it all comes down to communication and education. "You trust us because we are really crazy about keeping it secure. I have to take about 30+ trainings a year and I'm in Marketing… it's weird," Chu jokes.

Don't Forget the Human Touch!

While the proper use and handling of big data is essential to achieving growth and customer loyalty in the modern digital world, Killebrew, Von Borries, and Chu were all careful to point out one missing piece — the human touch. Chu put it best:

"I don't want to say that data isn't important because it's kind of the cornerstone of how we make decisions," she caveats. "But there always has to be the person that says, 'Okay and the editorial lens is this.' At the end of the day, if we tell good stories then hopefully I can tell you about a Global Assist product or the insurance on your card and you won't say, 'That's boring.' And hopefully you'll retain that someday when you need it."
Product Updates

4 ​More​ Reasons to Love Listicles with RebelMouse

Listicles are eye catching, easy to read, and, most importantly, consumers love to share them.


Source: Social Media Examiner, 2015

For RebelMouse, it was a no-brainer feature to include in our platform.

But we didn't stop there because your needs don't stop there. In fact, they've become more complex. In the last year, publishers and content marketers have witnessed a 52% decline in organic reach on Facebook, the #1 content referral source. This requires you to maximize content that's most likely to grab attention, i.e., listicles.

So we've upgraded our listicle tool.

With our new-and-improved Listicle Wizard, we've got four more reasons you'll love building them:

1. Crank out Your Lists Quicker with an Updated UI

We've updated the UI so that it's even easier to add your copy or items. And with a more prominent "+" icon, pulling in local files, GIFs, or social UGC is a breeze.

2. Extract More Page Views and Then Some

Want to generate more page views from your list content? You now have the option to break up your listicle and include pagination, either by every X number of items or by typing the item numbers.

Choose between a numerated/non-numerated list:

Or switch up the placement of your body text, either above or below the media:

3. Insert Ads + Increase Your Revenue Potential

You can now easily insert ads between listicle items by leveraging the same ad code used throughout your site. Translation? Generate more revenue from your better performing content, with no additional tech legwork needed. That means a win-win for your bottom line.

4. Give Your Listicles an Extra Design Touch

Our Layout & Design tool enables you to customize the look and feel of any aspect of your site, including your listicles. Switch up headline colors, add a cool border, or apply any other CSS Property to make your listicles truly stand out on your site.

Don't you just love it? At RebelMouse, we love finding new ways to facilitate content virality, and listicles are a great way to optimize sharing and discovery of your content.

Happy listing, Rebels. :)

Not a RebelMouse customer? Contact us today to learn more.

Services

Content Strategy Services with Paul Berry: Learn How to Go Viral

Here is your chance to get time with one of the few people in the world that have built important, massively viral properties on the internet.

RebelMouse is committed to helping brands and media organizations make the most of their digital presence, so we're opening up our CEO, Paul Berry, for one-on-one strategy sessions so you can learn the trade secrets of the best media brands in the world and apply them to your own business.

Paul was previously the CTO of Huffington Post and currently serves on the Advisory Board of One Country. Previously he built the tech platform for Avaaz.org, which now has over 40 million active members, and was Vice President at Related Capital. Paul has been working with Jonah Peretti, Ze Frank, Ken Lerer, Eric Hippeau, and editors across the world who have created some of the most visited viral content of our time.

mouse.png

Did you know? RebelMouse, which has served over 3 billion page views over the last 5 years, is the platform of choice for leading media companies, such as The Dodo — which became one of the top 5 publishers on Facebook this year.

Content Strategy Services

✔ Website Content ✔ Social Content ✔ Video Content

Whether you're using the RebelMouse platform to distribute your content or not, striking a chord with the right content at the right time is paramount to your success on the internet today. Website, social, and video content are the three main pillars of a good content strategy, and we're here to help you set up your organization to win.

Key takeaways:

  • Set the goals for your business in the new paradigm of native social content.
  • Know where you focus your content efforts for maximum return.
  • Learn about the social ecosystem and how it affects content strategy.
  • Learn where you are missing opportunities for growth.
  • What content is working for you and what is not?

Details + Pricing

Digital Strategy Services

✔ Positioning ✔ Website + Social Content ✔ Video Content ✔ Distribution Strategy ✔ Monetization

A winning digital strategy requires a precise mix of positioning, content, distribution, and monetization. We'll show you the ropes on how to create a comprehensive digital plan that is tailored to your organizational goals.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand organic growth on social.
  • Understand how and when to pay for promotion.
  • A comprehensive study of traffic sources, historical, and going forward.
  • Identify trends that create growth opportunities.
  • Understand your social sharing ecosystem.
  • Brainstorm content ideas to take you to the next level.

Details + Pricing

To learn more about our services packages, or to learn more about RebelMouse, contact us today and let's start working together.

Rebel Insights

The Bright Future of an Ad-Blocked World

This summer I read Isaac Asimov's awesome sci-fi novel The End of Eternity. I thought a story about time travel would be a pleasant escape from the present-day world of media and marketing I work in every day. Ha!

Cooper, coming from an era in which advertisement was not as wildly proliferative as it was in the later Centuries of Primitive times, found all this difficult to appreciate. He said, "Isn't it rather disgusting the way these people blow their own horn? Who would be fool enough to believe a person's boastings about his own products? Would he admit defects? Is he likely to stop at any exaggeration?" …. Advertisement! A device for forcing the unwilling into line. Did it matter to a ground-vehicle manufacturer whether a given individual felt an original or spontaneous desire for his product? If the prospect (that was the word) could be artificially persuaded or cajoled into feeling that desire and acting upon it, would that not be just as well?" — Isaac Asimov, The End of Eternity (1955)

Amazing how Asimov's 60-year-old ideas about advertising are so in sync with our contemporary moment and the outrage so many of us feel toward online ads. (Imagine if Asimov had lived to see the rise of the pop-up!) Even more amazing: The notion of a world free from all of that artificial persuasion and cajoling isn't science fiction. It's about to happen.

The Change Has Come — Ad Blocking Isn't a Software Feature, It's a Cultural Movement

I believe strongly in the acceleration of history, that the only constant we can expect is ever-quickening change, and I believe we're witnessing a great quickening in the evolution of the media industry. Consider just the past several weeks: Facebook's roll out of Instant Articles; Google's plans for Accelerated Mobile Pages; the launch of Apple News; and, most importantly, Apple's enabling of ad blockers. It feels like that moment at the top of the first peak on a roller coaster, when you hang suspended, knowing you're about to plummet and there's no going back ... and it's awesome!

Lots of smart and thoughtful people have weighed in already on the inevitable rise of ad blocking and hosted content on social platforms, the ethics of opting out of a supposedly implicit contract (bad advertising in exchange for free content), and how this will bring about the slow death of the free web. However you might feel about ad blockers, I'm pretty sure there's consensus on one point: We hate online ads.

Ads annoy and interrupt us. They track us, follow us around, and report back on our behavior. And they slow down page loads, making us wait … and wait … and wait for what we want. Can you blame people for wanting to block them?

The problem is that online advertising, as we know it, has broken the fundamental relationship that connects publishers, brands, and the people they're both trying to reach. But the solution isn't ad blocking or abandoning the open web altogether. We need to recognize this critical moment as an opportunity to rethink the way publishers, brands, and people connect with one another online.

Cross-Platform Social Properties

For the past decade — as founding CTO of The Huffington Post, and now as founder and CEO of RebelMouse — I've tried to help publishers and brands understand how the social web can enable more genuine connection with the people they're trying to reach. At RebelMouse, we've been lucky to work with a wide array of publishers and brands, including some of the most forward leaning and eager for these changes. We also work with some who are struggling with the changes, realizing that perhaps they've spent the last 15 years learning skills that now dead-end at an ad block.

The inevitability that Facebook and other social platforms will host their content has only deepened their fear and panic. I've talked with many who can accept that there's a short-term gain for publishers to hand over their article pages, but that ultimately it's long-term suicide. But I believe that resisting and failing to adapt to this new era of distributed content is suicidal.

In this new world, publishers and brands can't be mere destinations or unwelcome interruptions. They need to acclimate to the media ecosystem they now share with their readers and consumers, who live their lives in the feed, expect great content to find them, and demand to have a voice in the conversation. They have to become cross-platform social properties that understand distributed content and provide homes for subcultures and communities of interest to take root and thrive.

For publishers, it means understanding that static websites and legacy platforms are tying them down and holding them back. You can publish the greatest content ever imagined, but unless you are social at your core, publishing to all channels and devices, distributing your content far and wide, and engaging people in an ongoing conversation, your online presence is little more than a front door waiting to be knocked.

It's also a chance for publishers to break free — finally! — of the banners and pop-ups and auto-playing videos and all the fraudulent traffic they bring. We've already seen what a viable post-display-ad web can look like thanks to properties like BuzzFeed (whose founders are RebelMouse investors and advisors) and others that are all in on native advertising. No, not all native ads are immune to ad blocking, but the format has proven to be genuinely engaging — and we're only beginning to see how good it can be.

Brand Publishing at Scale

For their part, brands and marketers need to follow publishers' lead and start acting like new media companies. That means becoming publishers — or working with publishers — to create content with an authentic voice that enables them to be at home in the feed. By focusing more on creating and publishing their own content, brands can connect directly with consumers and turn them into a loyal community.

A lot of brands are understandably hesitant to become publishers. It's not easy! I've talked to several who are traumatized by their disastrous — and expensive — experiences with microsites. Some have decided to pass on the idea of creating social properties altogether, opting instead to live only in the feed. But as much as distributed content needs to flow out and find its audience, it also needs to flow in and bring the audience back to something they can hold onto, a place where community can live.

Of course, marketers can't expect to wake up one day, decide they're going to become publishers, and proceed to kill it out of the gate. Red Bull Media House has been around for nearly 10 years and has some 850 full-time employees. That's not scalable across industries. Red Bull is the outlier, not the standard.

But that's changing, and that's why we're working with clever and awesome content creators, with chops honed at media companies and creative agencies, and providing a platform to make it scalable. And whether you're Red Bull or Kleenex or whoever, every brand can find a way to connect emotionally with people by telling them stories they love and want to share.

Turning Connection into Conversion

Brands can then go further and turn that connection into conversion. CMOs already understand the importance of data and creating systems that optimize around key metrics. Once they catch up with new and emerging media companies in the content game, brands need to make sure that the key metric of conversion to purchase is part of every piece of content they publish, tracking across every device and channel it reaches.

Here's an example: If an airline is starting to get good at publishing, they will have to start learning concretely how each post they create is working. This means using new media data to understand social discovery before and after they hit publish. But it also means tracking conversion so that the content creators can learn from each post, every day.

So, let's say the airline's content team produces an article in listicle format: "13 Cats Who Can't Control Their Excitement One Second Longer." The article might do a million page views, but it probably didn't sell them a single extra ticket or mileage program. Then, they try an article like "13 Dogs Who Are SO excited to Travel with You," and maybe it gets them only 250,000 page views … but converts to 1,000 new tickets sold and 5,000 new mileage programs. By adding this conversion data into every article they produce they'll be able to experiment with new media in a way they can truly learn from, and that can truly drive their business to grow quickly.

This is the great opportunity to come for brands and publishers in the world. They should lift up their hands and scream as they take this first plunge. And as they lean into the curves and corkscrews ahead, they should think of that line from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit": "Here we are now. Entertain us!"

The audience that's waiting for you in the feed means it earnestly. Here they are now. Don't artificially persuade and cajole them. Entertain them. Let's join the future Asimov imagined for us and make advertising a thing of the past.

Product Updates

Introducing: A/B Testing + Static Pages on RebelMouse

Upgrade alert. Two new major changes to our platform will make your publishing experience that much more customizable and easy to use.

A/B Testing

We know the importance of A/B testing headlines and social copy is sooo 2011 — and while we've got that stuff down too, we've taken it a step further.

Don't just A/B test your headlines, literally test everything. Our platform offers A/B testing on every page of your site: home pages, section pages, (all new) static pages, etc.

Here's how it works. When creating a new page within your site, click the A/B test button to create a new template:

Make any changes, big or small, to the page. Once saved, your templates will immediately become live and delivered for testing.

Each of your A/B (C, D, E, F, etc!) templates can be accessed by URL. You can change the name of your templates at any time.

So, for "Template 3" in the example above, the URL would be: http://dokidoki.rebelmouse.com/?heading=3 <~ The bold portion of the URL represents the name of each template you've created.

You can change up your template any time you want, and remove with one click. It's super easy.


All of the options.

Static Pages

You can now create a static page anytime you want on the RebelMouse publishing platform. A static page is a prebuilt (aka non-dynamic) page that delivers the same content to all users. Think of it like a blank canvas of web art!

When creating a new page, just select "Blank Page" from the "Use Template" drop-down menu:

From there you can either build a complete new page or use one of the templates you've already designed. It's up to you!

Oh, and guess what? You can A/B test your static pages. So meta of us.


Your site can be a true creative masterpiece!

If this all sounds cool to you, but you aren't working with us yet, let's talk! Contact us today to get started.

Follow us on Facebook + Twitter.

Rebel Insights

The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 3)

This is the third part of a three-part series on the path to distributed publishing. ICYMI, here's a brief history of how we got here + distributed publishing's impact on websites + tech.

What Does It Mean for Editorial Teams?

Editorial teams are waking up post earthquake and realizing they have exactly the wrong ratio of writers to video editors. The key for writers and reporters is to shift. They learned to tell their story in slideshows and then adapted those into listicles. The best writers then realized readable video needs to be written and are now out there writing it.

Social teams are part of editorial, but the way they were formed is wrong in today's new paradigm. They were hired, trained, and grew up in a world where a slideshow was meant to drive traffic to a website.

One of the key ways to know that a social team is built for the previous paradigm is if growth and distribution are not a top priority. Usually, these types of teams have learned to keep trains on time with publishing cadence and without making terribly embarrassing mistakes (e.g., posting a happy GIF while a terrorist attack is happening, etc.).

The best way to know if you have the right social team is perhaps if they don't even exist. They are the editorial team now, and that means every writer and video editor on the team takes on social publishing and distribution as part of their core job. At HuffPost we didn't have an SEO team or an SEO expert, we expected every great writer and editor on the editorial team to understand SEO. This is what should be happening to smart editorial teams now for Social Media Optimization (SMO).

What Does It Mean for Institutions?

The Yahoo! and Google era was particularly good at making a few companies massively successful. It makes sense because the results for a category page, much like that for a search phrase, would be the same for everyone. So if you owned a top placement on a high traffic search result or category page, you got a fire hose of a funnel.

This isn't quite the same on Facebook, and particularly not when you see how it's playing out over time. If terrorists attack Paris, 500 million people might become aware within an hour or two of the news. But instead of choosing a small set of 10 results for their users, Facebook will have thousands, or tens of thousands, of answers for its users about what happened.

What this implies for great media institutions is not particularly sunny. The ease of publishing coupled with the personalization of social at scale often gets the world right to the source of the news direct, or has thousands of rewrites of a single story within minutes of a major news event.

It looks as though Google Rank may have been quite a bit more powerful than Facebook's EdgeRank — the number of fans a media company has may be very limited in its ability to keep a company alive in this new paradigm.

Small start-up media companies that don't carry the burden of old websites, and are learning to tell stories native to each platform, have the chance to become very significant very quickly. The Dodo, a property that we are proud to say is powered by RebelMouse, became the fifth largest publisher on Facebook this year. Their rise was shockingly fast. NowThis, which had several pivots before finding its flow, is over one billion monthly video views now.

Now that we know a bit of the history of how we got to this point, I'm sure the first question on everyone's mind is: "What do I need to do to be successful in this new paradigm?"

New Media

Life After Publish: A World Beyond Post and Pray

"More people meant more ideas, greater densities meant that ideas could spread more readily… These developments increased the rate of growth of economic productivity and technological." — Nick Bostrom

We are witnessing an unprecedented change in the way ideas are discovered, created, and spread. The infrastructure for ideas and content to reach audiences at speed and scale today is unlike anything we've ever seen before. Nick Bostrom illustrated the explosion in population and production beautifully in his excellent book titled "SuperIntelligence: Paths, Danger, Strategies."

What's making all this growth possible is not just how many people are alive to create and discover ideas, but population density itself. The densities are what allow for the emergence of ideas, breeding, and sorting grounds that tap the hive mind.

The internet has allowed for an explosion of population density — taking what urban offline environments started and moving it to a step growth change in density. The connections made through every major network from Facebook through to Gmail, Uber, Slack, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube is changing how quickly we can evolve as a civilization. It is mind boggling to think of Facebook's billion daily active users, but we haven't even seen the statistic on the number of total connections between those users. The connections between users, fan Pages, and huge social accounts represent density.

Around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995, it was less than 1%.

This has enabled a content explosion that has sent the media world into a frenzy, if not panic.

Ultimately, almost every content creator today is navigating without understanding how to traverse density, which basically amounts to "post and pray" — post to Facebook and the other networks and pray you go viral.

All of our data and focus is on the population sizes of the networks themselves. Facebook's one billion daily active users. YouTube's monthly one billion. The eight billion video views daily that Facebook has gotten too, and Snapchat's rise to seven billion. Snapchat's 100 million actives.

"Smores," BuzzFeed Food — 123M views, 2.8M shares, 1.3M likes (Facebook)

The opportunity for smart content creators is exponentially greater and faster to size and scale today. But understanding the life after publish, the way content and ideas travel through connections, is vital to building a successful business and becoming a breakout hit. There are two types of densities that need to be understood. The two terms "collective density" and "graph density" are ones we are coining here for these purposes.

Collective Density

Collective density works without any social or interest graph. YouTube, one of the largest examples of collective density, doesn't need to know who you are, where you were born, or who your friends are. It works through collective density. The property has had over 10,000 videos that have reached over one billion views. YouTube is sorted through collective density — click stats from the over a billion monthly visitors who spend an inordinate amount of time not just waiting through pre-roll, but clicking through related content and discovering. There is a small degree of interest graph built through related content modules.

"Blank Space," Taylor Swift — 1.4B views, Nov 10, 2014 (YouTube)

Media sites made a step change in growth by embracing collective density. Before stats driving popularity technology was developed and deployed, online media companies were density blind. They were just sorting content by editorial choice. But by releasing most popular units, media companies have been able to tap into collective density and let their readers quickly surface the most important stories to the groups of readers they had captured.

Collective density can add texture and complexity quickly by sorting popularity with categories of content, and adding a graph between the content to get better related content to users. This added texture allows for better increased engagement and consumption as a user begins to click twice, and then many times, to find more content.

In collective density environments, you aim for the big pop culture hit. When content finds its way to the top of the most popular units, it has the potential to reach into hundreds of millions and sometimes over billions.

Graph Density

Social networks have given rise to a new type of density based on social and interest graphs. The growth rates, and step growth rates, of the social networks are what validates so many companies' obsession and belief in understanding and spending on them. Snapchat's growth rate on video views per day, up in a year from two to seven billion views daily, is mind blowing. WhatsApp is now probably recognized nearly as equally as Coca-Cola across the developing world.

But the 600-pound gorilla of idea exchange in today's modern world is still Facebook, the property itself. No other property has so perfectly nailed the combination of a dense graph and machine learning to sort the impact of collective destiny refined through graph destiny (the stories your friends like most, e.g., your friend just got engaged, and so on). The pact with Facebook from the start was clear — this isn't reverse chronological and it isn't editorially sorted either.

"Tyrese Gibson: The Best Halloween Costume Ever," 89M views, 1.9M shares, 1.4M likes (Facebook)

Twitter's most important feature perhaps was under covered — the "While you were away..." module which appears after some hours have passed.

The struggle for Twitter's growth has perhaps been that it is limited by a different user pact based on recency, which is essentially an unsorted hive mind — the ant trail up close, each tweet marching by. I like the march myself, by the way, and I am a Twitter fan. But the growth rate has been only attached to the simple graph density without the machine-learned sorting.

Companies often miss the opportunities in this graph density because they think it doesn't apply to B2B or that they are too niche to succeed. This misses the opportunity of the graph density — it allows content to spread much faster through groups of people who are like minded or who share common interests.

The key to understanding how to accelerate the spread through graph density is to find the accounts with the largest reach and a matched interest. There are over 70 million Facebook Pages, so without technology to assist an editor, understanding this can be daunting and time consuming.

Athlete Cristiano Ronaldo's Facebook Page, 109M fans

Also, because Facebook (and many social networks) don't clearly show the stats of how content is performing that is not posted by your own Page, there is a blind spot for most editorial teams that would want to understand this but lack the tools they need to be able to.

The New Technology Layer

The emergence of the cross-platform world has become the breaking point for the technologies that media properties and marketers built or bought in the last decade. The problems they were built to solve don't match the opportunities that properties need to thrive. They cost too much and take too much time to build.

So a new generation of technologies are being built. Internally, they are collections of micro services that understand APIs natively and expect keys for data and content to flow in and out and be put into context. The role of these technologies is to help content and ideas gain momentum in the density graphs. They are moving to the cloud and becoming part of the sharing economy. And though that sometimes looks like Salesforce or the Creative Cloud, that means multi tenants host and share the costs in order to accelerate the bigger mission they are on.

The new technology layers also need to extend to domain-owned experiences where the open web tech acts as a Switzerland between the networks to understand data and create efficiencies, but also takes audiences through the funnel from casual to subscriber, and ultimately, to a core of loyalists. This allows a property to begin to build its own density. And density is ultimately what makes something valuable.

There were 255 million websites as of December 2010.

We built RebelMouse in anticipation of all these changes coming. As a result, the properties we power are growing quickly by traversing density across networks and building densities of their own with loyalists passionate about the topics they talk about.

Rebel Insights

The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 2)

This is the second part of a three-part series on the path to distributed publishing. ICYMI, here's a brief history of how we got here.

What Does It Mean for Websites?

Websites are not dead. But their purpose has changed, and their focus has shifted. Great websites are now social companions — built to help build loyalty and depth with the much smaller group of readers reached who've fallen in love with a publisher's voice.

Websites are a vital redistribution opportunity if used correctly. Rather than hoping for social to drive traffic to a website, a great website should hope that it can bounce Facebook's traffic back into other platforms and back into Facebook where it can play a key part of viral loops.

Most of the product choices made in the two decades of building publisher websites are now irrelevant. A great website today is simple and clean to its users, but tied tightly at every data layer to social.

What Does It Mean for Tech?

A CMS that builds websites alone is solving yesterday's problems.

Technology costs for publishers have the opportunity to be drastically reduced. As the platforms take on all the bandwidth of hosting video and images equally, new platforms are emerging like RebelMouse, Sprinklr, Percolate, and Adobe that help publishers adapt to the new era.

TasteTalks.com, powered by RebelMouse.

Some publishers kept their technology stack incredibly lean and simple. These publishers are at great risk right now because they never built the data layers that act as flashlights in the dark. Those flashlights are necessary especially when a landscape change happens at the speed of an earthquake.

Some publishers built huge technology stacks with their own data centers and large teams to essentially rebuild what everyone else is building. Usually, the technology built was all for the website-as-a-destination era with a large percent of the development done to enable ad tech, arguably one of the strongest reasons everyone is leaving the open web.

Distribution in a nutshell.

These publishers are at great risk because their costs are in the wrong place (websites) and are very significant. They need to switch airplanes in mid-air without landing. Many are setting themselves up and preparing to make the hard move fast, but few are taking it yet before it's too late.

Check out The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 3): How Distributed Publishing Impacts Editorial Teams + Institutions.

New Media

The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 1)

The way people have found content on the internet has gone through some very clear phases. Understanding our history is vital to understanding the present and being able to anticipate the available paths of the present into the future.

Should we talk about AOL?

The internet's first phase of consumer addiction started with text only terminal programs like Lynx, the pre-image internet of pure text hyperlinks. People learned to publish HTML files and how hyperlinks worked. It was the first raw layer of the internet that everything else is still built on top of.

As quickly as it developed, attempts were made to help other people find what had been created. Yahoo! became a winner by quickly organizing a very broad taxonomy for roughly "everything," and by giving human editors simple software to choose links for each category as Mosaic emerged (images on web pages!). Yahoo!'s efforts paid off and they became the central rainmaker.

A relatively small attempt at logical taxonomy was put together, and human category editors became the key path to content on the internet. If you didn't know who the category editor was for your space, you found a way to get to know them. Getting key placements in those categories could change a business dramatically.

Yahoo! categories.Source: http://bit.ly/2aR6Zef

As the open web sprawled, Google emerged to organize the world's information. In a very short time, the tiny informational reach of the human category editors was made irrelevant. We learned not only how to search, but an industry developed in the years after to optimize for better distribution in this new world order. The SEO industry became massive as it controlled the new lifeblood of content to its path to an audience.

At Huffington Post, where I was CTO, we built software to help teach writers how that universe worked, and how to make small changes to the way they put stories together to win. They told the same story, but they also learned to think about how humanity at large searched, and then how to become a top three result in that search. Google was the undisputed rainmaker, and companies like HuffPost that figured out SEO learned how to drink under a waterfall. Those who learned to build around the new rules of this landscape won constantly.

The Huffington Post home page, July 2009.From the Wayback Machine: http://bit.ly/2b4d1oF

The new phase changes the landscape completely once again and radically displaces Google. We are well past the beginning of this phase — the new paradigm is now much stronger and more powerful. Facebook has organized the world's information in a way that Google could never have been able to. Facebook has rendered Google's search technology to look as irrelevant as Google made Yahoo's categories. What was built into the very core of Facebook was essentially an AI agent for each one of us. It was crude ten years ago compared to what it is now, but it worked.

While Facebook's core positioning is social, the data and software they possess contains all the clues for nearly 2 billion people's interests. And every minute it learns more. Google's tech was focused only on the content that was being created. Facebook's tech sees beyond that to the person reading and sharing that story. The vital leap from Like to Reactions seems to be successfully completed, so the complexity and texture of the data becomes even more effective.

The hyperlinked, interests-based profile.From Mashable: http://on.mash.to/2b4dUxm

The shift to mobile has finalized our relationship with search. We expect content to come to us now, and it does. It isn't just our friends that Facebook has learned from — through Pages, Facebook has learned about our interests as well. Oddly enough, it is sort of a return to human category editors — but this time, instead of a few thousand, there are 85 million and growing daily. Winning on social today often takes the type of awareness and relationship building with other humans leading key categories like it did in the Yahoo! era. But it has to be conducted at a scale that can only be possible through technology. As the interest graphs of social networks have established a clear ownership of the path to content for consumers, a new industry is evolving.

It's called Social Media Optimization (SMO), and it goes beyond learning how to publish into networks to understanding how to optimize for distribution on these networks. Facebook's core offering to solve that problem has been very useful tools to pay for reach. But the core product that we all grew to love Facebook for, and is the single pillar of its success, is in the main column, not the ad slots.

That same single column of UX exists, in a way, as massively parallel universes — different content for each of us. The new waterfall is quite a bit bigger than anything we've ever seen before. When a single piece of content starts to find itself showing even in a tiny percent of the waterfall, a new company worth hundreds of millions can bloom from that in a very short time.

Map of Facebook Live broadcasts (Giphy).From Product Hunt: http://bit.ly/2aR8DfF

The role of Social Media Optimization will be to help people understand how to adapt to this new world as it evolves. One of the most significant core landscape shifts to understand in order to be able to optimize at all is the shift to distributed publishing.

The Google era pushed traffic to the open web. The core business metrics always included page views and unique visitors. Every optimization in this website-centric framework was to act as a funnel to the website. The landscape shift leaves those that stick to what they learned in the Google/website era in a very bad position. The reason this change is happening is because people are tired of clicking from that super-fast Facebook native app to a browser app to load a web page. We all flinch before clicking a link now. This is because we've seen what it's like to get content on the app.

The slideshow became the listicle, and then became the readable video. And the readable video has very long legs. It's a slideshow with no clicks needed, and a listicle without the scroll. It's lazy, it moves fast, and I don't need to hear it. And it plays right there without going anywhere. Instant Articles also keep people inside of Facebook where they prefer to be. Snapchat's emergence offers even less hope for the open web. Like Instagram, Snapchat is thriving by rendering links out unnecessary.

Instagram Stories, 2016. From TechCrunch: http://tcrn.ch/2aR9NrS

Distributed publishing is the solution for this new paradigm. It is one of the first steps of Social Media Optimization. It means publishing fully packaged content to every medium possible. Publishing teasers to stories is simply not enough — the entire story has to be consumable without leaving the platform and medium it's published to. This changes even how we think about email, where people again would rather just read more in their native Gmail app than click through to get more out.

So, let's take a look at how this shift affects what we know today. Check out The Path to Distributed Publishing (Part 2): What It Means for Websites + Tech.

Product Updates

Reach a Wider Audience on Instagram

Content creators have one, big challenge: content nobody sees. That's why we're obsessed with distribution. We truly believe if you funnel your content to platforms in a methodical way, you'll see organic growth — because audience development isn't a hope, it's a strategy.

That's why we created Rebel Discovery. Discovery uses proprietary technology to find communities on social platforms that would be interested in sharing your content. You'll see results that won't come up through native searching alone.

Through Discovery, you can send pages + profiles a variety of social nudges. This includes "liking" a recent post, sending an email, and tagging them in your post via comment or video. It also works in any CMS.

We've been doing this on Twitter + Facebook for months, and we're now happy to announce you can also tap into new audiences on Instagram!

If you're having trouble trying to reach more people on Instagram organically, then it's time to Discover them.

Here's how it works. After you've identified your selected targets on Instagram, you have two options:

1. Like the Post on Instagram

Once the post is published, the Instagram likes will go out on your behalf. If the post is already published, you can send them out via the "Send Pings Now" button:

Here's how it appears on the Instagram post:

2. Include the Image/Video in Your Article

Once you opt to include an Instagram post in your article, the post is immediately added to the bottom of the article:

Note: Discovery-only customers only have access to the "Like on Instagram" option.

Think about when you notice an acquaintance you haven't seen in a few years suddenly liking your photos on Instagram. Aren't you tempted to check out their page to see what they've been up to? It's the same logic here, and it's part of the reason why our clients, like The Dodo, see such high engagement.

Let's start working together too. Contact us for more information, or sign up for a free trial today.

Product Updates

RebelMouse + Facebook Partner on Instant Articles

During its annual F8 conference, Facebook revealed RebelMouse as a platform partner to publish Instant Articles, which is now available to any media company or brand.

Facebook introduced Instant Articles to create a faster, more immersive and more engaging experience for people consuming content within the Facebook app. We've been working closely with Facebook since last fall to build integration with the social network's new format.


4 Reasons Why RebelMouse + Facebook Instant Articles Is Everything

Easily Transform Your Content to Instant Articles: RebelMouse makes it simple to start creating your Instant Article in two ways: build content through our intuitive entry editor or transform your content feed into Instant Articles. Find out how.

Extend Engaging, Rich Formats: RebelMouse enables you to incorporate formats proven to work — listicles, media rich posts with social embeds as well as native Facebook video.

Make Teams More Efficient + Smarter: Integrate preferred third-party analytics with RebelMouse insights to view Instant Article metrics, leverage RebelMouse proprietary social discovery data, and optimize audience experiences. You can also connect articles to Google Analytics for optimum insights.

Keep Traffic Credit and Ad Revenue: Instant Articles are compatible with comScore measurement, allowing you to receive traffic credit. Additionally, publishers get to keep 100% of revenue brought in from ads that they sell and 70% if Facebook sells the ad.

Product Updates

Easily Upgrade from WordPress to RebelMouse!

You're a WordPress user. We get it. WordPress has been around for ages and meets your basic publishing needs.

But you may start to realize that "basic" doesn't cut it anymore in today's quickly evolving digital landscape. And having access to thousands of themes and plugins only makes it harder to figure out the right one for your content needs. Plus, any upgrades likely require developer work, which leads to skyrocketing costs.

So...ready to try something new?

Want innovative technology that comes prewired with features designed to help you win across social and search?

As the first-ever Distributed Content Management System (DCMS), RebelMouse has you covered!

If you have content on your old WordPress site that you want to migrate over to your new RebelMouse-powered site, we make it easy. In minutes, transfer content with our Automatic WordPress Import!

Here's how it works:

Step 1: Sign up and Quickly Set up Your RebelMouse-powered Site

We make it easy to get up and running with a free trial:

Build your RebelMouse site today! Sign up for a free trial.

Step 2: Import Your WordPress Content

At the end of the sign-up process, opt to import content from your WordPress site:

Enter your WordPress credentials:

Step 3: Track the Progress

Leverage advanced options to check the status of your import:

Step 4: Check Your Home Page

As content flows in, you'll see your home page populate in real-time with more and more articles. So cool!

Our groundbreaking DCMS offers best-in-class tools across both publishing and site design. Make the switch and see how RebelMouse helps your teams win the content game and effortlessly optimize stories for organic reach with incredible efficiency.

Ready for your upgrade? You can sign up for a free trial, import your WordPress content, and quickly launch your RebelMouse site today.

Want to learn more? Contact us today and we'll get in touch with you ASAP.

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