In previous posts I've talked a lot about how the Web is now distributed, and the days of referring to websites as "destinations" are over. With RSS feeds, embeddable content, widgets and social networks, your content can be everywhere at once. Here are a few tips on how your company can take some basic steps to enter the world of shareable content. Best of all - they're all free.
- RSS feeds
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication - this is basically a feed of information that gets exported from web content you update regularly (blog posts, news articles, press releases, et cetera.). Your readers can subscribe to this feed and receive your content via their news aggregator of choice. If you are currently using blog software or any sort of content management system (CMS) application to update your website, chances are you have an RSS feed already. Make sure that you prominently include an RSS feed button on your website to alert your readers to its existence.
- Embeddable Content
If you're posting rich media (photos, audio and video) to your website, why not use popular media-sharing networks to host the content? You can use Flickr for your photos, any sort of podcasting network for your audio, and YouTube or Blip.tv for your video. These networks make it extremely simple to embed the content into your own site, as well as empowering your readers to grab it and share it on their own. this saves your company the dollars in doing custom development and programming, and also reduces bandwidth on your web server.
Services like Clearspring, Sprout and WidgetBox make it easy to take almost any piece of content from your website and turn it into a "widget" that your site visitors can take a distribute on their own.
- AddThis Sharing Button
You can create a customized AddThis button by visiting AddThis.com and stick it on any page of your website or blog. Readers will then have one-click access for sharing your stuff on a variety of social bookmarking websites like del.icio.us and Technorati, as well as Digg and StumbleUpon.
Taking these basic steps will empower your website visitors to distribute your content for you - how great is that?