Three Strategies for Thriving on the Decentralized Web

As Long-form Content Becomes Bite-Size, Make Everything on Your Site Eembeddable

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The Long Tail of content and increasing demands for our attention have created a perfect storm where traffic to brand sites may soon shrink. It's simple supply-and-demand economics at work.

Long-form online content has been usurped by all things bite-size, whether it be widgets, YouTube clips, or micro blogs powered by services such as Tumblr, Jaiku and Twittergram. This column offers three simple steps marketers should consider to thrive in a web that is increasingly becoming decentralized.
Steve Rubel
Photo: JC Bourcart
Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP in Edelman's Me2Revolution practice.


Think web services, not websites. Most innovation online today is created by an army of talented, independent web developers. Sites such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook are turning themselves into platforms that can run these applications, almost like Windows did on the desktop. This has spawned hundreds of miniature online applications.

To thrive, marketers need to think about how to create similar mini experiences via web services that plug into these sites yet are consistent with the brand.

Connect people. The web is transforming into a medium where the greatest value is created when people connect via platforms of participation around a common goal -- to make money, be entertained or informed, to create, etc.

To thrive, brands need to identify these motivations and participate in these new microcontent platforms in a way that helps consumers meet their goals. For example, the Los Angeles Fire Department recognized that consumers actively use Twitter when disaster strikes. It has opened a channel on the site to provide updates at twitter.com/LAFD.

Make everything portable. The next version of the Macintosh operating system, due out in October, has a small feature called Web Clip that turns any part of a site into a widget that lives on the consumer's desktop. This is a big sign of things to come.

In the very near future portals including iGoogle, My Yahoo and Netvibes as well as social networks will be able to easily inhale the smallest pieces of content from across the web. Don't wait. Start now to make everything on your website embeddable. Traffic is becoming something that happens elsewhere, not just on your site.
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