Social Media and Publishing Paths

For websites that are going to participate in social media in a big way along multiple channels, I find it helpful to set up what I call publishing paths. These publishing paths require you to think about your content before you publish it, what is the best channel for it, and how to cross promote it.Some publishers take a different approach. No matter where something is published, it gets cross promoted across all channels. For example every blog post goes to twitter and facebook. Every youtube video or flickr picture will also wind up on the blog and cross promoted onto twitter. While this approach does guarantee maximum distribution and the most traffic, it doesn’t allow you to tailor specific content to each medium. It’s the difference between a shotgun blast and single sniper shot.

Let’s say your company has an event, and you take pictures and publish them to Flickr. Instead of  republishing all of those pictures again on the blog, I suggest picking the 10 or 12 best, publishing those, and providing a link back to the full set. The same goes for videos: don’t republish every video to your blog, only the best ones. Due to the length restrictions, twitter is best suited for short discussions. It doesn’t make sense to republish all of your tweets to your blog or facebook, but it does make sense to do a “best tweets of the week” style recap post.

IMHO the advantage of using a publishing path approach is you don’t overwhelm the people who want your content. Instead, you try to tailor as much of it as possible to the medium for maximum value. The one exception is for your A+ content and things like linkbait. The content that you want to have maximum exposure should be promoted across all of the channels. The people who happen to subscribe to you in multiple places will see this content and react to it differently. When you cross promote everything, though, it loses the ability to be seen as special.

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